Villa Milagro

Embracing the Pillars of Wellness at Villa Milagro

How often have you longed for some “R&R”? What does that look like for you?

As an Integrative and Functional Medicine physician, a primary goal with my patients is to empower them to embrace the foundations of wellness and incorporate them into their daily lives. This is likely something you don’t hear much about from your regular doctor. As medical doctors, our training focuses on disease-care, not HEALTHcare. In our ever-busy, chaotic lives, it is more important than ever to prioritize wellness so that we can truly thrive. Staving off illness and disease is merely a by-product.

At my Integrative medical practice, The Heart of Wellness, we define the five pillars of health: Stillness, Nutrition, Movement, Self, Community.

  1. Stillness – sleep, recovery, mindfulness
  2. Nutrition – nourishment, digestion, detoxification
  3. Movement – exercise, ambulation & play
  4. Self – a sense of purpose; mental, emotional and spiritual health
  5. Community – environment, love, support & relationships

Embracing these pillars is truly transformative. But it takes dedication and prioritizing your own wellness to make it part of your daily life. What you will find at Villa Milagro is an environment that holds space for all of the pillars in a profound way that will leave you motivated and inspired even after the experience is over. In each blog, we will dive deeper into one Pillar and how we can harness its power at Villa Milagro.


In the chaotic hustle of modern life, the concept of stillness often eludes us. Yet, it serves as the cornerstone of true health and vitality, now more than ever. Stillness encompasses the art of restful sleep, the power of mindfulness, breathwork & meditation, and the necessity of adequate recovery. In a world constantly buzzing with activity and information overload, carving out moments of tranquility is essential for nourishing both body and soul.

Multiple studies show that 80-90% of primary care and emergency room visits are directly linked to stress-related conditions. In a landmark study fifty years ago, meditation and similar stillness practices were proven to induce a physiological state opposite to the stress response, termed the “relaxation response.” Today, these mind-body practices, including meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, are gaining traction for their myriad health benefits. Research highlights their capacity to reduce stress-induced inflammation, improve heart rate variability and blood pressure, and even influence gene expression and lengthen telomeres (promoting longevity).

Post-pandemic, increasing stress and mental health conditions are rising, particularly in children and young adults. Conventional medicine has produced revolutionary health benefits through pharmaceutical advances and  life-saving procedures, including for mental health. More Americans than ever are taking prescription medications for chronic health conditions, many of which have a lifestyle component. But what about the root cause of those conditions? How can we look upstream, figure out where the imbalances are, and tackle the problem differently? This is how we approach chronic issues from an integrative medicine standpoint, by digging into root causes as well as by addressing the five pillars. Harnessing the physiologic benefits of stillness and incorporating it into our daily lives can have a profound effect on our mental and physical health.

Now we are clear on the WHY of Stillness. But…HOW?

There are many tools you can utilize and embrace to learn HOW to develop a stillness practice. When trying to adopt any new habit, the key is to start small and make incremental changes that lead to a big change (baby steps!). My first suggestion to my patients: start with incorporating the 4-7-8 breath into your day. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and out through your nose for 8 counts. Maybe your first goal is to do it once a day for a week. Work up to doing it 5-10 times, once or twice a day. If you’re inspired to level-up your practice, I recommend learning about meditation, and use an app like Insight Timer to help guide you.

Nothing helps develop a habit more than fully immersing yourself in a space where it can be fully explored and embraced. A retreat or experience at the beachfront sanctuary at Villa Milagro will inspire you to find your own stillness practice – whether through mindfulness activities, yoga, meditation, breathwork, or perhaps a seaside walk without the podcast or music in your ears. There are ample opportunities to cultivate inner stillness and recharge your spirit. Take your version of “R&R” to a new level – allow your journey towards optimal health to begin at a coastal paradise, where the rhythm of the ocean guides you towards a state of profound balance and harmony.

Hillary Bassett, MD, IFMCP is a licensed and board-certified physician specializing in Integrative, Functional and Longevity Medicine. At The Heart of Wellness, she partners with her patients to achieve optimal wellness through deep connection, advanced testing, root-cause resolution and cutting-edge approaches to longevity. She cares for patients residing in California, in person and virtually. You can learn more at or follow her practice on IG @heart.of.wellness