Long known for its strict detoxification plan, food chewing techniques and internal Epsom Salts, the Viva Mayr Clinic in Austria has been touted as the world’s ultimate body purification centre with Samantha Cameron recently revealing she's a fan. Facialist Teresa Tarmey and nutritional therapist Rosemary Ferguson visited the famous clinic and here Teresa shares her diary with us...
This was my second time at the Viva Mayr clinic and I literally couldn't wait to get there. I can honestly say the first time changed my life, which is the reason I wanted to go back. I've been craving it for a few months after a hard six months getting my first clinic open in London.
When I say it changed my life, I’m not exaggerating. I had suffered with adult acne for many years and aside from being a skin specialist, I went from pillar to post, from one specialist to the next, never finding the right solution. I knew that most skin problems come from the inside and I’d tried so many different diets and cleanses, but I'd also damaged my gut with awful antibiotics. Being a facialist, my skin means everything to me, and I was told that my gut contained nasty parasites from all the antibiotics and candida.
Nothing had permanently fixed it, but spending time at the Viva Mayr genuinely did. I had done specific diets with other specialists, but they never cleared my gut so effectively and actually in a very simple way.
Many consider detoxing to be all about weight loss and although that happened for me too, this wasn’t my sole reason for going there. They have a saying at the Mayr which goes "Weight loss isn't our aim, it just happens."
For me the effects of the Mayr run way deeper than having a shrinking waist - it works on a mind, body and spiritual level - and I cuoldn’t wait to get back. Here is my diary...
I’m sitting at the Mayr clinic overlooking Lake Altausee and am just about to go in to see the doctor. This is my second time at the Mayr and much like the other guests, my first visit was a bit of a health eureka moment for me. I was told that the different diets I’d tried in the attempt to cure my adult acne wouldn’t work as I had nasty parasites that needed to be targeted with a special diet and treatments. I left feeling better than ever. This time, I’m here for a week, which is the minimum they recommend.
In my assessment, I’m weighed, have a blood test and discuss my lifestyle and health goals. The results are instantly processed and I receive my programme for the week. This includes a diet tailor-made for me (by a Michelin chef no less), and a daily massage. Off I go to totally indulge.
Dinnertime is a bit of a challenge. I’ve got a rather large appetite and the Mayr generally serve up broth and (if you’re lucky) some chewy bread to encourage slower eating habits. As we eat very early (between 5 and 7pm), I try to get some sleep straight after just to stave off hunger.
The morning starts with a dose of magnesium citrate to encourage me to go to the loo. After this, I take something called ‘base powder’ 30 minutes before eating to help digestion. This definitely seems to make me feel less hungry.
Breakfast is my favourite meal at the Mayr. Today I’m having some slightly hard buckwheat bread (the chewing thing is very important at the Mayr - they make you chew your food 30-50 times for each mouthful), as well as some eggs and avocado. It may not be a huge portion, but the food is presented beautifully and as I take my time I feel full by the time I finish.
I’m here with model, GTG writer and nutritional therapist Rose Ferguson and after breakfast we join a group walk where we’re given walking sticks. I always thought they were just for show-offs, but boy am I proven wrong - those sticks are really handy when navigating the terrain around the Mayr. After slipping a little bit, I take in the incredible views and breathe in the fresh, clear mountain air.
Back at base later on, I’m in to see the doctor. She tells me that I need to address my candida as well as my iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies. The team schedule in a B12 shot a day and a vitamin C infusion. I’m marched straight to the medical department to be pumped up with goodness, which is probably a good thing - the busy day distracts me from thinking about food.
By dinner time, I realise I already feel so much better.
Poor Rosemary. Despite not having had much shut-eye, I’m buzzing and feel like I’ve slept for a month (apparently this is a common side effect of the detoxification process). I think I’m driving her mad with my energy so she and I go for a 7k walk after breakfast. The views are amazing and the pictures we take are postcard-pretty.
The walk thankfully makes me sleepy and on getting back to the Mayr we go for another massage, have a snooze and then go for dinner.
Today I’m very hungry. And ratty. Poor Rose part two: today she’s being subjected to me wingeing “This isn’t going to fill me up” as I chew through my buckwheat bread. I ask for more, assuming they’ll just bring me some as they do in restaurants. I’m told that’s my lot. The woman I ask seems quite used to being asked for more food and patiently responds by telling me it's for my own good. Pah!
After seeing the doctor again for a check-up I realise I feel much better. My stomach is less bloated, my bowel movements regulated and I feel generally lighter. Today's health verdict: I have an intolerance to dairy and gluten. My diet is adjusted again.
I feel high as a kite again today! More of the usual food and walks but today I also have a relaxing Watsu treatment, which is water shiatsu. I feel energised and happy all day.
The pace of life in London often gives me a fuzzy head and I struggle to think straight. I realise today that my brain is so clear that I feel like I could conquer the world.
The routine helps. Between my daily examination with the doctor, regular meals, treatments and walks, I am taking care of my body in a way that I just never do in London. I realise that the Mayr saying is completely true: ‘We don’t aim to lose weight, it just happens.’
It’s my final day. I feel great, but incredibly anxious about leaving and facing the world of food without guidance. I go to see the doctor for the final examination and he reassures me, as well as telling me that I’ve lost 4.5kg! I’m quite slight anyway, so he says a lot of that was water retention that I’m very glad to be rid of.
I pick up the supplements and aftercare plan for the coming fortnight and head on my way, feeling very happy indeed. Oh, and if you’re wondering: my skin is completely and utterly clear.
My parting thoughts
I cannot recommend the Viva Mayr enough. Although I can't keep up the diet to the level it was in the clinic, the knowledge I gained from there will stay with me forever. Not only is this good for me but I can also share it with my own clients and often recommend them to go or at least read the book.
Find out more at www.vivamayr.com