A Healing Oasis in Upstate NY

About 3 hours from western Suffolk County Long Island, just southwest of the Catskill Mountains, is a wonderful spa that offers an extra special personal touch. Owned and run by former Merrick, Long Island resident, Saniye Gungor, Sanivan Holistic Center is a private sanctuary where you can detox your body and mind, relax and heal for as long as you'd like. Saniye typically greets her guests with a glass of fresh squeezed juice, then feeds them deliciously cooked organic food.

A typical lunch menu includes: special Turkish eggplant and yogurt sauce with dill, sauted portabella mushrooms, peppers, garlic and onions over fresh spinach and an equally delicious chicken and pasta dish. Guests may chose a diet of cooked grains and vegetables with a limited amount of poultry and fish, a strict juice fasting or something in between. Raw juices purify the blood and all the tissues of the body, neutralize the waste products of metabolism, and help in building new tissue. They may also fast with or without an herbal regimen and wheatgrass is also available. Wheatgrass is filled with healing enzymes and properties that detoxify the blood. One day up to seven day and two week stays are available.

Saniye's treatment room is filled with large crystals and a stone fireplace that joins an Olympic sized, ozonated indoor heated swimming pool. Guests can workout on exercise equipment surrounding the pool including a mini trampoline that is good for boosting lymph circulation and defying the negative results of gravity or walk the meditative labyrinth outside to calm the mind. There is also a sauna beside the pool. One of the bathrooms is equipped with a 10-jet vertical spa and waterfall. Some of the special spa services include: a holistic facial, shiastu and therapeutic massage and Saniye’s 1 1/2 hour signature treatment-- a Jurlique facial using only natural ingredients and essential oils with a full-body therapeutic massage.

Guests can also experience sound wave therapy, a non-musical, low frequency energy medicine treatment pioneered by Nicole LaVoie. Since Sanivan has only three guest rooms, each room painted in light healing colors, and accommodating up to 6 people at any one time, Sanivan offers a very intimate experience not found with the larger spas. There is also much to do even while you are de-stressing: there is a volleyball and basketball court as well as a spa library and piano for guests to use. Sanivan is conveniently located near some of the most pristine hiking trails in the foothills of the Catskills and is only five minutes away from the Siddha Yoga and Meditation Ashram. Saniye’s Turkish heritage is apparent in the décor, Turkish pillows and art adorn the interior and you are greeted by beautiful & friendly Turkish angora cats upon arrival.

Saniye’s personal touch and good energy is what makes her spa so successful. Sanivan gets its name from Saniye and Ivan Rivas, Saniye’s life and business partner. The two decided to start a holistic healing spa after Ivan’s mother became ill with brain cancer. Feeling dissatisfied with the way conventional medicine was handling his mother’s case, both Ivan and Saniye utilized various alternative therapies to help heal Ivan’s mother. While they were helping one person afflicted with cancer, little did they realize they would eventually come to help many more heal as they embarked upon their test.

Ivan’s mother responded quite favorably to the daily holistic treatments the couple gave her---time in a hyperbaric chamber, Rife, a raw foods diet, colonics, daily massage and shiastu as well as emotional and spiritual support. She went from not being able to walk and talk in complete sentences to seeming like she was fully recovering. Doctors had taken a CAT scan of her brain and found her tumor had inexplicably shrunk in size. Saniye says, "I believe ivan's love for his mom & his mom's faith in her son was a big part in their healing process."

Unfortunately, once she returned to her native Puerto Rico, she listened to nay sayers and some conventional doctors who convinced her the holistic therapies she was doing would not work. They urged her to do chemo & radiation which she did. A few years later, she died, not from cancer, but from the side effects of these treatment to her vital organs. This challenging experience gave both Saniye and Ivan the inspiration to offer their knowledge to more people by creating the space. Saniye and Ivan had always wanted to move. “This place had everything we needed, an indoor swimming pool, sauna and other ammenties. It was a dream come true,” Saniye says. The only renovation was to the guest rooms and bathroom. Ivan made the labyrinth. “It was a beautiful experience for us both,” Saniye says. "Our combined energies are so conducive to doing this work that we both feel this is the real propose for our joining", she says.

“Tender loving care really makes a difference in the healing process,” says Saniye. “We help people heal themselves. We’re here to give a sampling of how it can be done, but it requires commitment and desire for a lifestyle change.” Saniye admits it takes courage to stay on course, especially if you are addicted to cigarettes, alcohol or junk food. She says a lot of people don’t know where to start, but “we’re here to show you it’s not that hard. We are facilitators for change and balance. The alternative methods have always been with us. It’s all been done before. Sanivan is a place to learn, share and experience how it feels and how easy it can be to heal thyself.”

For more info, please visit: or call (845) 434-1849.