The world has changed considerably in the four decades since The Original FX MAYR Health Centre, on the banks of lake Marie Worth, first opened its doors. Some would argue this change has been for the better, whilst others would disagree. I, for one, am grateful that while the world has rushed by, The Original FX MAYR has remained delightfully frozen in time, presenting a lo-fi approach to detox and reconnecting with your healthier self.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that much ado has been made lately as to the importance of gut health for overall wellbeing. The foundations of the Original Mayr are built on the teachings of Viennese doctor Franz Xaver Mayr who developed ‘The Mayr Cure’ in the early 20th century. He believed that gut health is the key to health and longevity. Now extremely popular amongst a deluge of A-list celebrities – the Mayr clinic treats a range of health issues – from stress related burnout, insomnia, allergies, immune system deficiencies, diabetes and hormonal imbalance. The philosophy here is simple: good digestion equals good health and healthy nutrition is the key to preventing illness, obesity and disease.
Many have adopted the Mayr “Cure” in their establishments, such as the relatively new Viva Mayr chain, but The Original FX MAYR Health Centre, is just that – the original. It is the pioneer, the grand daddy, the founder; the flag in the sand of medical spas. And it is here that the famous cure began to reach a worldwide audience 40 years ago and has kept them captivated ever since.
The cure is a dedicated approach to detox and it is about the ability of the body to heal. It involves some fasting and lots of chewing (40 chews to be exact) small portions of extremely healthy food that has been catered for your personal dietary needs. The sprightly and über informed medical director Stephan Domenig explained to me that the Mayr cure is all about cleansing the body, resting the system and an education and self awareness of what our bodies need in order to thrive. It teaches the body to be nourished and to absorb nutrients in an age where most of us are suffering with some sort of inability to absorb nutrients probably due to (sometimes undetected) gut issues. The cure is hell bent on helping the body to recover, after all, we spend our days in a constant cycle of pressure and stress, so it gives the body a rest and helps it to heal. Dr. Domenig assures me that ‘Without the break – YOU break’. It is all about what, when and how you eat here. Once you start to heal your digestive system, everything else falls into place. And the Original Mayr health centre does just that – helps everything to fall into place.
Aesthetically the Original Mayr may not be as sparkly and high-spec as it’s newer counterparts, however this no bells-and-whistles approach is part of its charm. It feels just like home, a cosy alpine lodge to be exact. When you walk through the door, its as though you have come home for a Christmas family reunion. The reception is low key and the staff are positively delighted to see you. They become family for the week (Lord knows you need smiling friendly faces when you’re handed broth for dinner.)
There is an ethereal feel to the place, a sense of calm with most walking around in the signature cream robes. Downstairs there are rooms and libraries with sprawling couches and candles burning everywhere. It’s easy to lounge for hours reading, resting and re-energizing and although almost all the seventy-five rooms were occupied during my stay, it felt as though no one was there. A true testament to the layout and daily itineraries that kept us all occupied.
The ageing carpet belies the modern techniques that the medical spa offers. Personally, I had come to give my system a rest after a crazy 3-month work schedule during which I had gained 7lbs, was exhausted both in body and mind and had become dependent on caffeine. During my first appointment with my designated doctor – the thorough and informed Dr. Karin – gave me a probing interview about my health and then continued the probing, this time in my stomach and liver. In doing so she could tell if there was distension or misplacement of organs. An analysis of my urine and blood informed her of a few things I needed to address during my stay. Thankfully nothing too extreme was needed and I was prescribed a menu with no dairy, gluten or meat. The food was incredibly delicious, organic, healthy, simple and to the point. For breakfast and lunch the portions were ample (think oats and goats yogurt or guinea fowl with asparagus foam) and I found myself never really being hungry. This was down to chewing my food numerous times and focusing on what I was eating, allowing the nutrients to be absorbed. Dinner however was a different kettle of fish (or lack thereof) as it was a bowl of broth each night. Some guests were on a broth-only diet for days, dependent on the level of their ailments. So I counted my lucky stars and slurped my broth gratefully.
At the clinic (which feels more like your favourite Aunties’ house than a medical facility) you can opt for as many or as few treatments as you like: anything from a session with Hans Peter the shiatsu genius, to an IV drip with vitamins and minerals. Detox baths are a-plenty, a beauty spa for a mani/pedi treat and evening lectures on nutrition are invaluable. My room overlooked the glorious Lake Worthsee, and should you feel a burst of energy, there’s a garage full of bikes to get out and explore. For a less vigorous adventure – there are pedalos at your disposal to explore the lake on and forest walks guided by a huntress and her dog. There is a ‘beach’ area complete with a massive deck, sun loungers and a beach sauna – a cottage that you will mostly have all to yourself. Don’t shy away from taking a plunge in the freezing lake after a stint in the sauna – a shock to the system but utterly invigorating!
The philosophy here at The Original Mayr Clinic is simple. There are no expectations – except that you make the effort to cure yourself. There are no men in white coats making you do anything you don’t want to do or forcing you to buy any extra treatments. You come, you cure and you leave. The Original FX Mayr Health Clinic has retained a sense of honour and caring for it’s patients (guests) which many others that have come since seem to have forgotten about in lieu of making money. By the time I left, my abs had made a most welcome re-appearance. And having finally quite caffeine (and slept for an entire weekend as a result) I had regained my natural energy. Not only was my system awake and alive again, but I had a completely renewed sense of self.
For more on the Mayr visit their website here: The Original FX Mayr Clinic