When the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) became more alarming over time, I found myself wondering how to work on my health and to strengthen my immune system.
I started to be more mindful about the food I ate, physical exercises, breathing and grounding exercises. But I came to realize that if I want to maintain a healthy body, there is a lot more to do. Despite everything I did to keep myself healthy, I was feeling constantly tired and moody. Then I started to bake the 100th gluten-free and vegan banana bread or cookies. Thus I would eat sometimes even in the evening, but they didn’t made my gut happy!
Short after the lockdown, I decided to visit world’s famous detox clinic in Austria, the VIVAMAYR medical clinic in Maria Wörth. It’s THE detox clinic where famous people like the President Putin, Kate Moss, Liz Hurley, rock stars like The Rolling Stones, frequenting visit the health bootcamp for healing.
Given its reputation for health, I thought it would be the perfect time to visit the famous clinic now. Even better, that my hometown Vienna is just 338 km away from Maria Wörth. It was an easy train ride, with no passport control or coronavirus quarantine measures.
On Monday 22nd of June, I took the train to Klagenfurt, the capital of the federal state of Carinthia. A taxi picked me up from the train station, and dropped me at VIVAMAYR. I went straight to the reception to check-in. The beautiful front desk lady said: “You have your doctor’s appointment in 45 min. Do you want to see your room first, or have lunch?” I said “Oh, I don’t need lunch now. I will go to my room first, and then to the appointment!” Well, I didn’t know what to expect.
So, I went to my room to shower and change the clothes. Even though my room didn’t had a direct view over the lake, I liked the view over the mountains and could see the lake a bit as well. But this stay wasn’t about the view, and here I want to tell you why?
After few minutes of rest, I went to the first floor where the doctors, therapists, and treatment rooms are. A typical atmosphere of a polyclinic: silent guests were roaming in bathrobes, some looked depressed, pale and with enormous dark-circles under their eyes. I thought “Well, this is going to be me in few days!”
Every patient/guest at the Mayr clinic is seen each day by a doctor. I had been assigned to Dr. Patrizia Debski, a young professional GP, who immediately welcomed me with a warm smile. She explained, the Mayr Cure is not just detox or losing weight, but a treatment concept which focuses on the digestive system. Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr (1875–1965), after whom the Cure is named, a Austrian doctor who developed a diagnostic treatment concept about gut health. Dr. Mayr devoted his entire life researching the links between nutrition, digestion and health. He understood the importance of the digestive system role in our health.
After the conversation, Dr. Debski asked me if I already had lunch. I said “No!”. She opened her eyes widely and said: “I need to call the restaurant, so that you get something to eat. Otherwise there is no proper food in the evening!” My first thought was, “Oh, am I in a hunger-jail, or what?”
I wasn’t ill before coming here, but I was feeling weak. I told Dr. Debski that I felt constantly tired. Often I couldn’t concentrate, or felt unmotivated to do a task. I had cravings for sweet food, but I tried to eat more fruits so that I wouldn’t feel guilty if I would eat a whole chocolate bar. “But I drink fresh cold pressed juices during the day, and I eat lots of salads in the evenings.” I said. “Do NOT eat raw food after 4 pm,” said Dr. Debski. “Digestion slows down in the evening, so we can’t digest raw food, such as salads or fruits. Also, the dose makes the poison.”
Dr. Debski performed an abdominal massage, which felt a bit uncomfortable first. That’s because my gut had acids and still a lot to process and cleanse. After the abdominal massage, I received a comprehensive treatment schedule for the next 6 days.
I started reading my itinerary, and I went to the restaurant to have lunch. There was a letter with guest name on each table, and the type of the diet they have. Lunch consisted of a bowl of clear vegetable soup, with a piece of stale buckwheat bread. Mayr believes the staler the bread, the more you chew it: you must chew every bite 40-60 times. Chewing your food into smaller particles is an essential, but often overlooked, step in digestion. The more you chew your food, the better it will be broken down which will help with the digestive process. This is because breaking down your food mechanically is actually considered to be the first phase of digestion. The act of chewing is a basic rule, but often the most overlooked step in the digestive process but not one to be taken lightly.
The other mealtime DONTS are being on your phone while eating, talking or reading. Also drinks of any sort are not allowed with meals. Mayr believes that drinking during your meal affects your digestion. Same rule applies about snacking! You’re not allowed to snack between meals.
Dinner was from 6:00-7:30 pm, with same rules and again a bowl of clear vegetable soup, but without a piece of stale buckwheat bread. That night’s dinner worsened my mental state, and I thought “How will I survive having only clear vegetable soups for seven days?” But weirdly, I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t feel empty when I went to sleep.
My second day started with instructions to drink a large dose of not so tasty, Epsom salt water. Epsom salt is a crystallized form of magnesium sulfate used as a traditional remedy for many ailments, including constipation. Drinking Epsom salt water on empty stomach, increases the amount of water in your intestines, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. I was waiting to have stomachache, as well as a significant bathroom visit, but it didn’t happen. Why? Because that day was a bit stressful. Together with a team of photographer and videographer, we shoot content for my blog and social media from 8 am to 8 pm. Besides that, I even forgot to have breakfast! So basically I fasted almost 24 hours. This was too much for my digestive tract to react.
Nevertheless, I had my second appointment at Dr. Debski for an abdominal massage. She immediately knew what’s going on with my gut, and told me to completely rest after the work is done. Stress negatively affects our digestive system in many ways. It can cause a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation.
The abdominal massage, was followed by an Applied Kinesiology test, after which she determined that I was lactose-intolerant. Something, I didn’t really knew, because I never had major lactose symptoms. Actually I thought, I might be gluten-intolerant —but I was wrong!
Dr. Debski prescribed me eight different vitamin, mineral, amino-acid supplements and a medicine for each day, as well as drink the Epsom salt and an alkaline “VIVAMAYR base powder” four times a day between meals. Additionally at least three liters of water to cleanse my body.
My Mayr diet would consist of cooked vegetables, plant based protein, but without gluten, lactose, fructose, raw food, caffeine, or alcohol.
On the third day, my body finally rested and started to detox. Drinking Epsom salt with “VIVAMAYR base powder” dissolved in warm water, started finally to kick in. I had no headache, nor I felt dizzy. Surprisingly my energy was back. I started my day very early followed by Pilates workout and 10 min meditation.
This day was full of treatments, tests, and therapies such as: Nasal reflexology treatment according to Röder, mineral and free radicals analysis, urine analysis, metabolism measurement with EScan, relaxation and breathing therapy 60 min, IHHT oxygen therapy, medical manual abdominal treatment and 50 min massage of the body.
The nasal reflexology was great to treat my sinus problems, and I loved how easily I could breathe after. After this treatment, I went to do blood tests for free-radical levels, mineral deficiencies and urine analysis. What I found interesting was —the metabolism measurement with EScan. The metabolic measurement is relevant and allows concrete recommendation for health, exercise and dietary behavior. The EScan showed that my metabolism is very slow, and I wasn’t surprised at all. I always knew my metabolism was slow, even though I worked-out a lot. That’s where the problem lies: too much exercise slows down my metabolism. I never heard about this before, but now it all makes sense. Whenever I “killed myself” working out 5-6 days a week, I didn’t lose weight but instead I gained muscle mass— and I hated it!
EScan could also showcase that my body was stressed. With that being said, I can have a combination 30 min exercise and 60 min walk. Finally, I found out my metabolism problem, and I could definitely relax after with a 50 min full body massage.
The third day’s food plan was the same. For breakfast I had a soft boiled egg and a piece of stale buckwheat bread. Then for lunch and dinner, a bowl of vegetable soup. I kind of started to feel a bit depressed and thought, I might only have soups for a week!
But from the fourth day and on, everything was easier. I finally could choose a dish for lunch, which was the only real meal of the day. For dinner I had a veggie soup. This time, I wasn’t bothered by it, because I felt satisfied and had no cravings.
The fourth day was also busy. I started with the foot bath, followed by a relaxing herbal soak infused with fresh-smelling fir-tree salts. After the foot bath, I had an amazing full-body exfoliation followed by Vino Body Forming Bath (a salt bath and scrub with the essence of grape), as well as another nasal reflex therapy in the Kneipp Department. Later I had IHHT Oxygen Therapy, and finally I could go to the restaurant and have a nice quinoa and sweet potato for lunch.
By Thursday, suddenly I experienced a great transformation. Coffee, sweets, and snacking between meals was forgotten. During Mayr Cure you don’t need weeks to feel great, but it takes only three days to already start to feel great, both physically and mentally.
On Saturday, I realized that I love it here, and I would love to stay one more week to feel even better. I came with three pimples on my left cheek, and they were gone. My skin was glowing, and I felt so much lighter.
As I was ready to pack my bags on Sunday, I started to prepare myself mentally to continue the same diet when I come back home. When I arrived at the train station, I was looking to buy something for dinner, but it was very hard to find something clean and cooked. So I decided to drink a herbal tea and fast until I can have breakfast at home on the next day.
I haven’t had any espresso, chocolates and sweets – since I came back home from VIVAMAYR. My breakfast has changed a bit. No raw fruits for the next two weeks, but instead I started to eat a slice of bread, with one egg or I cook a small portion of porridge. For lunch I usually cook e.g. veggies with quinoa, falafel or shiitake risotto. For dinner, I only have a veggie soup, following the same rules – chewing as long as possible and eat slow.
The VIVAMAYR clinic has not just detoxed my body, but it has transformed me completely. It taught me important lessons to learn more about my body, how to cleanse my body and mind, as well as how to gain my power back.
Photography: Marion Payr for VIVAMAYR
*Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. I was invited by VIVAMAYR to experince the Mayr Cure.