Natural Health columnist, Emma Cannon, reveals why the VivaMayr Health Centre is the perfect place to rest and digest
VivaMayr Maria Wörth is situated on the southern shores of Lake Wörth in Austria. It’s a five-star hotel that houses a state-of-the-art medispa. I’ve been to VivaMayr several times before to study with Dr Stossier at his yearly seminar. This time, I arrive not as a practitioner but as a patient. For the past five years, I have undergone the Mayr fasting cure and the health benefits are legendary – more energy, fewer allergy symptoms, a flatter tummy, less inflammation and better digestion, to name a few.
I am a big believer in intermittent fasting and think that it can benefit all sorts of health disorders, as well as being a way to preserve health. Although fasting is nothing new, it has grown in popularity recently, as numerous research papers have demonstrated the health benefits of it. In the 1930s, a military doctor named Mayr discovered that when his injured soldiers reduced the number of calories they consumed they recovered speedily. The VivaMayr stays true to this philosophy, combining it with top notch diagnostics and treatment.
On arrival, I head straight to the medical department where I am assessed by Dr Stossier. He palpates my abdomen and diagnoses that the small intestine is ‘stressed’. He uses kinesiology to test which foods I am having an adverse reaction to and which substances will benefit me. It’s not only a matter of eliminating troublesome foods, it’s also important to include supplements that support the cure. I am prescribed a mild elimination diet – I will eat breakfast and lunch and, for dinner, I will have herbal tea. I am given my schedule for the week, which includes morning Epsom salts to empty the bowel and an abdominal massage to support the digestive function.
I am a hay fever sufferer, so I am also prescribed a daily nasal reflex, which consists of a fragrant Q-tip being inserted into my nose and angled towards my sinus. I then sit streaming for 10 minutes while the Q-tip is re-angled into each sinus one-by-one. It is a visually humiliating treatment, but the results are so incredible that it is well worth the embarrassment. While sitting there streaming with the Q-tip up my nose, I hear a voice say ‘Are you Emma Cannon?’ It’s a new patient from back home, who is due to see me the following week. I guess that is the only downside of the VivaMayr’s popularity – there’s a good chance you will bump into someone while in a compromising position!
While at the VivaMayr, my mornings are spent in the medical department having treatments, before having lunch. The dining room has the most amazing view of the lake, so meals are often eaten in silence. Chewing is one of the main principles of the cure – you’re given one-day-old spelt bread to train you to chew properly. This can take a bit of getting used to and, depending on the state of your teeth, can be quite a challenge.
Reading and phones are forbidden at meal times, and water isn’t served with meals. All of this is designed to support proper digestion. Lunches are light, delicious and visually beautiful. Needless to say, I don’t go hungry. Base powders are given three times a day and they really help to reduce cravings. One afternoon, I spend a glorious hour with the fantastic chef learning how to make some of the basic foods. Oils are a big deal at the VivaMayr, and I am taught the difference between good fats and bad fats. Cold pressed oils are served with the meals and drizzled over food once it is cooked.
I spend the afternoon relaxing by the lake – I’ve attended the health centre out of peak season, so there is hardly a soul around. In the summer, the location is a popular holiday destination, and there are many holiday villas dotted around the lake. It is possible to hire a boat for the afternoon or walk around the nearby forests. There is a gym and sauna situated by the lake, so I decide to have a sauna and then plunge myself into the icy cold water. For me, this is heaven – wild swimming surrounded by the most stunning backdrop of forests, blue skies and charming Austrian churches and villas! The tranquil lake and the stunning woods provide the perfect place to rest and reset. But for those who prefer warmer waters, there is an impressive indoor pool with an equally stunning view.
I am not interested in detoxing or losing weight, and these things are not the aim of the VivaMayr schedule (although both results are a happy side effect). Instead, those at VivaMayr are leading the way in gut health, body maintenance and the preservation of wellbeing. It’s the perfect antidote to the way we live today – fast-paced, overfed and adrenally exhausted, with poor digestive function and little free time. VivaMayr is the place to go to learn how to eat and how to stay well. And what’s more, the VivaMayr approach is easy to follow when back home. In fact, part of the philosophy is to change our approach to everyday eating because, when our gut function improves, the results to our health are numerous and far-reaching.
This is a place I will go back to on a yearly basis – to rest, re-cooperate, re-evaluate and invest in my future emotional and physical health. It is said that ‘great health is more important than great wealth’, and I couldn’t agree more.
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