When I returned from my recent stay in the Mayr & More Health Centre my brain sifted through various ways to describe the place. The best I could come up with was that it’s a clinical crossroads, where they offer a cure (detox), and where evidence based medicine intersects with alternative methods with a heavy leaning, on the scale of that tower in Pisa, towards different and holistic ways of healing.
The Mayr & More is in the Carinthia region of Austria nestled between densely forested mountains and the magical Lake Worthersee, it’s about half an hour by car from the city of Klagenfurt. The weather was glorious during my stay with warm sunshine bathing the autumnal landscape.
The Mayr & More is one of two Mayr establishments, close to Klagenfurt, that practise Mayr medicine: the other being the newer and shinier Viva Mayr clinic a few kilometres down the road in the charming village of Maria Worth.
Staying at the Mayr & More, although restful, is no walk in the park, it’s more of an endurance hike through the valley of hardcore detox. Mayr medicine, named after its originator Dr F X Mayr, has four central tenets. Firstly, recuperation and regeneration of the digestive system, which means you get VERY little food to eat, a two course lunch is the principal daily food event but the main course is starter-sized. Secondly, a cleansing of the digestive system, this involves chugging down an early morning dose of vile tasting Epsom salts and then being in and out of the bathroom like a demented jack-in-the-box when these salts take their laxative toll. Thirdly, training on how to eat properly, no, not some bonkers etiquette based session on using the right cutlery but encouragement to chew every mouthful fifty time. And lastly, if needed, supplements and vitamins are prescribed.
You see a doctor every day at Mayr & More and on the first morning you are assigned a diet for the rest of your stay. I got the mild cleansing diet, which sounded fine until I discovered I had the version where ‘dinner’ is a bowl of vegetable broth and absolutely nothing else. The only possibility of a second course was to eat the spoon!
The Mayr & More is a tranquil place, and you are encouraged to take time out to rest. But there are things to do such as: attend the early morning exercise class; hike in the beautiful surrounding forests; explore the nearby pretty villages; swim in the pool or the lake … Plus you have appointments for massage, kneipping (dipping various body parts alternatively into hot and cold water as an aid to circulation) and for anything else that’s been ‘prescribed’.
I went to the Viva Mayr clinic five years so I was curious to compare the two establishments, and even thought the Viva Mayr is newer and more luxurious I much preferred, despite the garish time-warp decor in my room, the homelier Mayr & More. The good news on the decor front is that the Mayr & More closed on the last day of October for refurbishment, it reopens in March 2014.
I plan to go back in another five years, many of my fellow guests had been multiple times with some returning every year. Staying at the Mayr & More is by no means cheap but I think that my stay there and my previous one at the Viva Mayr were good investments in my health.
It might seem a tad mad to say that my week’s stay altered my perspective on life but in a way it has because I returned somewhat soul-restored and feeling more able to deal with life’s vicissitudes.