These days, I receive at least an email a day touting a new health and wellness retreat. Yoga in the South of France, detoxing on the coast of Spain, a medi-spa in a remote corner of the United States. They’re cropping up all around the world - the latest clinics and programmes offering health and wellness that long outlasts any caramel-hued tans. And many of these facilities offer far more than rest and relaxation but are instead are strict heavily researched programmes based around decades of medical science and offering the latest breakthroughs in technology.
This August, I had the pleasure of visiting two such clinics, SHA Wellness in Alacant, Spain and The Original FX Mayr in Maria Wörth, Austria. And while the two couldn’t be much more different - SHA Wellness a crisp-white futuristic facility with soaring views and hundreds of medical professional on staff offering everything from cosmetic surgery to cancer treatments. And FX Mayr, a quiet and remote hideaway with roaring fires, sheepskin-wrapped sofas and their signature “Mayr Cure” diet focused around detoxification and digestion.
The first thing I am always reminded when I venture on retreats like these is that there is no easy answer. And while I am not alone in wishing there was a pill or a switch unless you are Karlie Kloss staying fit and healthy takes time, it takes work and it takes planning.
Sleep is probably the noun that comes up most frequently. Both at SHA and FX Mayr. It’s the first question every practitioner asks about, and it’s the base from which everything else builds. Consistent, quality sleep. It’s when the body repairs; it helps prepare you for the next day and there’s study after study highlighting how the fewer hours sleep you have, the more likely you are to overeat and reach for poor-quality simple sugars the next day.
Mindfulness and chewing. These two go together. A bit pedantic perhaps, and it’s something you do have to force yourself to make a habit of, but once you do you won’t regret it. Normally they say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so try as and when you can to pause, taste and chew each bite intentionally. It means you’ll eat less and enjoy it more.
Breath. It sounds obvious but it’s something few of us, myself included, do correctly. Five to 10 proper deep-chested breaths can help calm you down and reduce your stress immensely. More than that, pause and commit to 10 belly breaths before each meal and you might be surprised by how much it slows your eating and reduces the amount you eat at each meal.
FIND OUT MORE
SHA Wellness Clinic | Carrer del Verderol, 5, 03581 L'Albir, Alacant, Spain
FX Mayr | Golfstraße 2, 9082 Maria Wörth, Austria