Detoxification Vacation: My Stay at Viva Mayr in Austria

Austria, Spiritual Travel — By on June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm

By Susan Michals
Special to the Lost Girls

I really wanted something to be really wrong with me. But Dr. Stossier told me otherwise.

This was my first morning at Viva Mayr, the Center for Modern Medicine, located on the banks of idyllic Lake Worthersee in southern Austria. For years, people have traveled to this rather remote locale, not for strudel, but to detox and cleanse.

Dr. Stossier is head physician, and follows the beliefs and principles of Dr. Franz Xavier Mayr, who believed that all our ills – allergies, arthritis, exhaustion – comes from a neglected and misunderstood digestive system.

The ‘cure’ as it is called, begins with Epsom salts. Every morning patients are required to drink a glass of water with a teaspoon of the salts to start their day. To say this will flush out your system is an understatement; just ensure if you ever decide to try this, you’re near a bathroom for the next few hours.

Then it’s off to breakfast, which, like lunch and dinner, is served during specific hours only. Everything is organic, and there is no salad or fruit, as fruit contains natural sugar, which is no allowed during your stay. The sugar also affects your mood, which causes a problem as it is meant to be a time of deceleration and relaxation. Instead, you’ll enjoy fresh sheep’s yogurt and trout. Portions are small, and predetermined by your physician. According to Dr. Stossier, you are supposed to eat slow and chew. In fact, he wants you to chew each piece 40 times, giving your brain time to realize you are full, and your body a better way to metabolize what you’ve just eaten.

After only two days, I was nauseous, with a vicious headache. Caffeine withdrawal. I started to wonder: How am I going to make it through 8 days of this? Well it turns out I did have something wrong with me – exhaustion. I bucked up, and for the next week, I experienced various treatments, such as color therapy, where you sit under a dome which changes color, which helps the creative soul regenerate.

Then there’s the hydroxeur baths, where you soak in salts (not the same ones we were taking by mouth every morning) and a series of fabulous jets hit you from every angle as you soak for 20 listening to soothing music while the water changes color from blue to pink to red.

Every day also requires an abdominal treatment – remember, it’s your digestive system that’s here for the reboot, so the physicians spend 15 minutes daily with every patient – massaging around the large and small intestines and other internal organs.

By the way, I did fall of the wagon once. On a boat ride round the lake, I indulged in an espresso at about 2pm. I went to sleep at 2 am, and I was a basket case. “See, I told you,” said Dr. Stossier with a knowing look when I came clean about my indiscretion.

After that, I went back on the straight and narrow, and a miracle happened. No more headaches. No more hunger pangs. I felt pretty fantastic. Some dude told me that my eyes were clearer, and I looked like renewed. I think he was hitting on me, but then again, this isn’t really the sort of spa where one goes to hook up.

In the end, I lost 5 lbs., and I’m trying to adhere as much as possible to the diet that was mapped out for me to get me back into real world eating, which includes one tablespoon of linseed, hemp or cold pressed olive oil a day, no raw foods after 4pm, no caffeine white bread or processed foods, and only eating animal protein every other day, so that most of your protein comes from vegetables, as animal protein clogs your system.

The first days at Viva Mayr may have been hell, but I left more rested and invigorated than any other vacation. Screw the sandy beach and cocktails, next year I’m going back to sun by the lake and drink those damned Epsom salts – after all, it is just what the doctor ordered.

For more info, go to: www.viva-mayr.com

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