It’s hard to describe the Original F.X. Mayr clinic; often copied but never replicated, there is simply no other place like it.
I first went here two years ago when my stomach problems were at their worst. At the time, I was in agony, with crippling stomach aches that got worse and worse as the day went on. I would wake up so bloated that I would dread having to face my wardrobe and put on clothes that would only make the pain worse- hello trimester wardrobe! I had no energy and craved sugar ALL.DAY.EVERY DAY. I couldn’t consume enough of it. However, I never had a sugar ‘high’, I just continued to feel like I was sleep walking through each day, completely drained and on edge. My skin was awful, my hair was dull and emotionally I was a wreck. Having been told I had IBS but with no lowfodmap plan/IBS cure helping, in utter desperation I checked into the Mayr clinic for two weeks….and ended up staying for 5 weeks. They diganosied me with raging candida, with an open valuve in my stomach and with food allergies; none of which had been picked up in London. I can’t tell you how those weeks changed my life, physically and mentally. I returned again earlier this summer for ten days; this year has been the year of the viruses all of which have left my immune system whacked and my body in need of a complete MOT.
Arriving at the Hotel is slightly surreal and I think it hits you that you’re here to embark on a sercious detox when you’re handed your welcome drink, a concoction of cold herbal tea that looks and smells quite frankly disgusting. However, the staff are all lovely with the warmest smiles imaginable and instantly make you feel at home. The hotel was renovated a few years ago and now has airy communal areas and simple but comfy bedrooms. I’ve only been to the clinic in summer, but I think you get a lot more out of your time here during the warmer months as you can enjoy the stunning surrounding areas. The clinic is perched just above Lake Mariaworth, with the most mesmiring view across the water. The Lake is one of the most tranquil spots I’ve been to and if you’re up to it, I couldn’t recommend going to the sunrise/sunset yoga/meditation practises that are held on the clinic’s jetty on the Lake.
The Hotel backs onto a golf course and numerous woods/fields, all completly unspoilt and again, breathtakingly beautiful and calming. The daily hikes that run twice a day, are always popular – there’s no obligation to make polite conversation with your fellow guests, but you do meet all walks of lifes and often put the world to right whilst clambering up a hill. However cliche it may sound, the mountain air here really does do wonders for clearing your head and returning a sparkle to your eyes, (and aches to your legs!)
As lovely as the setting is, and a destination in itself, the Mayr clinic prides itself on helping to restore people’s bodies to their natural, alkaline state through fasting and mindfulness. I know it may seem a bit airy fairy, but having experienced the effect first hand, it really DOES work for curing all sorts of problems. (See Why Be an Alchi for more info!)
The Clinic is based on three basic pillars; medicine, diet and exercise. You’re allocated a Doctor during your cure, who does an initial full body MOT and recommends treatments duly. The treatments and medicaiton are expensive. Very very expensive. But they do work. The treatments range from daily massages, to accupuncutre to kneipping to hayflower wraps; each as varied as the next and each with their own benefit. Some of the treatments are completely surreal such as a session on the ‘hoverbed’; you lie on a bed filled with water with hot packs placed over your liver/back and then are cocconed in a warm blanket and rocked. Sounds bizzare, is bizzare but boy did it help reduce my bloating!
Forget the foot bath you normally get with a pedicure, the Mayr clinic’s version is a bath in which the toxins from your feet are removed; pretty gross but pretty cool to see the water get (considerably!) lighter by the end of a trip.
The clinic isn’t designed to be a weight loss clinic, but the small portions of food and the alkaline diet means that the pounds do fall off. You can opt as to whether or not you want to go on hardcore liquid diet but otherwise all meals are decided by your doctor.
Think local goats yoghurt and a spread for breakfast
Soup, followed by fresh fish/meat and veg for lunch.
Broth with spread for supper.
Meals are eaten in silence to encourage you to concentrate on what you’re eating, and more importantly, to focus on HOW you are eating. Before I’d been to the clinic, I’d never thought about how I eat my food. Most of the time, I would be eating food on the go, standing up and gulping down massive bites of food or shovelling food down whilst checking my phone/computer screen. I know it’s not easy when your working etc but the Mayr does stress the importance of eating slowllllllly and chewing every single mouthful; even if it’s broth you’re having! Since I’ve been back from the clinic, I’ve noticed that eating at a table and taking the time to really focus on chewing and eating small mouthfuls at a time, really does help reduce bloating; obviously sometimes this isn’t possible but if you can take the time, I promise you’ll notice the difference!
The Anti-Candida diet programme they have at the clinic is incredible at halting sugar cravings. I can’t tell you how bad mine were, it felt like I was possessed I craved it so badly ; and once I’d tasted it, that was it, I needed to consume more and more and more. The complete absence of sugar- natural and refined- combined with lots of green supplements, really did help kill a lot of the candida I had raging in my body; and although not completely gone, I no longer ‘need’ sugar to function and am much happier for it!
On my first day of my stay two years ago, I vowed never to be like the guests wafting around in their hotel dressing gowns at meals….this year I went one step further and donned the hotel slippers. Don’t bother packing anything smart for meals, the vibe is very very relaxed! You do feel pretty unexplainably wacked from doing not really a great deal and for a while the steps from the hotel down to the lake was my daily commute.
But I would definitely recommend tearing yourself away from the lake and going on the weekly trip to Klagenfurt. Warning, you will be tempted by the seemingly endless cafes/food shops/ice cream stalls, so I’d recommend taking v little cash and just wandering around the cobbled streets which are paved with coats of arms and funky statues.
I can’t recommend the Mayr clinic enough if you are at your wits end, health wise. It is intense, it is expensive and I did regularly think, why am I using my precious holiday time to be by myself, with a headache and eating broth…and then I realised just how much better I felt, physically and emotionally. It does take a few days for the treatments/relaxation/alkaline diet to kick in and for the more stubborn Western habits to die, but hang on in there. Suddenly you’ll have a whole new lease of life and moreover, a lifestyle that is doable back to London. Yes, some parts of the cure aren’t practical on a daily basis but the majority of them are; the key thing I’ve realised, is preparation of food especially when I’m out and about. I would definitely recommend ‘The Alkaline Cure’ by Dr Dominic (the head Doctor at the Clinic) as well as their recipe book, ‘The Alkaline Cookbook’, as useful reminders to dip into when you get back to normal life.
It’s hard to describe a place that you hold so dear to you and I keep thinking back to the Clinic and to the doctors who changed my life in the most natural way possible, to the people I met who shared the same sudden delight at feeling back to being themselves again, to the peacefulness that surrounds the Clinic and it’s surrounding countryside and to the realisation that a few tweaks to your lifestyle/diet can make all the difference.
I can’t thank the staff and Dr Dominic enough at the clinic and neither can I wax lyricals more about this place; for further information, check the Mayr clinic out here!