– Text by Chloe Sjuberg, photography by Darren Hull
Kelly Gillies Passion Her quest for holistic health and well-being has led to Sona Wellness, a clinic in downtown Kelowna that offers a variety of therapeutic treatments that she is excited to share with the community.
Kelly grew up in Edmonton, moved to Kelowna eight years ago and fell in love with the Okanagan way of life. She was a Registered Psychiatric Nurse for 10 years and earned a Diploma in Holistic Nutrition in 2015, which sparked interest in how food affects physical and mental health.
“After working as a nutritionist and specializing in gut health, I was introduced to colon disease and it changed my life,” Kelly said.
So, in 2019, she trained as a colon hydrotherapist and practiced for a few years before opening Sona Wellness in November 2022. In addition to colon hydrotherapy, Sona also offers infrared saunas and cold plunges, as well as nutritional programs.
“Whether you have a serious illness or want to take immediate action to prevent a chronic condition and live your best life, these treatments can completely optimize your health,” she says.
With a background in nursing, Kelly had to learn the ins and outs of starting and running a business from the ground up, but she says all that hard work paid off.
“From building the space to marketing the business, it’s been an ongoing challenge. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to start Sona Wellness, but it’s all 100% worth it.”
One of Kelly’s favorite things about Sona is the vibe of working in a wellness space.
“Everyone who walks in is making a choice to improve their health. People leave feeling cleansed, relaxed, and motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. I love being part of their journey.”
When not running Sona, Kelly enjoys hiking with her dog Lola, wine tasting with her friends, and visiting local restaurants with her boyfriend. One thing is a constant in her life, both in and out of the clinic: cold water sprints.
“Lately, I’ve been enjoying icy dives in the lake. Yes, I have the cold pool at Sona, but nothing beats the natural experience of a lake dip.”
seven deadly sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
Wimhof, the “Iceman,” especially during his 28-hour climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro, used mind control and breathing techniques to combat oxygen levels and low temperatures.
What are the foods you can eat over and over again?
I eat food according to how I feel. Sure, nachos are good, and I love a good burger, but I don’t always feel good after eating them. But a perfectly cooked and seasoned steak served with a colorful salad of roasted vegetables and beet goat cheese? Yes, I could eat that every day.
You have a million dollars and you have to spend it
selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I will put it into my business. Sona Wellness doesn’t feel like a “job” to me. Every day I have ideas about how to improve my business, and I think every startup would agree that $1 million is not bad! There are many things I want to do with Sona Wellness: marketing, new products I want to carry, therapies and treatments I want to bring into the space, and projects I want to create. Then, yes, maybe a quick trip to Greece if you have the spare cash.
Victim mentality. I think we can all easily blame anything and anyone for our problems, but that doesn’t actually solve our problems. When you start taking responsibility for the habits you develop—including what you eat, what you think, who you surround yourself with, and how you respond to stress—you can greatly improve your health.
Where would you spend long hours doing nothing?
Mornings on my couch. I wake up extra early to really make it happen. I make my French press, light candles, and then can spend hours planning and organizing my day, journaling, reading, and scrolling through social media (I’m only human). I guess that’s not really “doing nothing”…but I’ve never been good at doing nothing.
What’s the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I’ve always loved how my “gut feeling” has been the most accurate compass in my life. I have always been guided by this intuition, which led me to create and open Sona Wellness. If I never followed my gut and followed the same path I was expected to follow, I wouldn’t have started my company. Every morning when I walk into the Sona and see what I’ve created, I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished because it’s definitely not an easy job.
What makes your heart beat faster?
When a client of mine had a breakthrough in their recovery journey. Like when they start doing cold water sprints on a regular basis and notice their anxiety decreases, or they notice their skin looks better after a colon hydrotherapy, or they start going to the bathroom regularly again (yes, that gets me excited! ). When people try one of these alternative treatments and actually start to recover, it can motivate them to change other habits in their lives—diet, hydration, meditation, exercise, therapy—and only continue to improve their physical and mental health.
You can go and have a look Sona Wellness is here.
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