Detox, reboot and revive, Italian-style
When you’re feeling tired and stressed, a good walk and an early night often do the trick. But for one of my colleagues, life got so ‘out of kilter’ that she needed something more intensive. Below, she explains how the answer proved to be a seven-day programme at the Espace Chenot Health Wellness Spa at the L’Albereta Hotel in northern Italy. 'Set amid vineyards an hour from Milan, the spa offers a programme of treatments based on the Henri Chenot method, which aims to restore you to peak mental and physical wellbeing by eliminating toxins. I chose the Anti-Age and Regenerating programme. The Chenot method is based on biontology, a scientific discipline that combines the principles of Chinese and some Western medicine techniques. A keystone is the Chinese understanding that most problems stem from poor digestion. Since a full medical assessment revealed that my intestines, stomach and pancreas were particularly stressed and not working properly, the core of my treatment programme was a detoxifying diet.
Mercifully, the detox dining room was separate from the hotel’s restaurant because eating just 600 calories a day was tough, although the mainly vegetarian food was tasty and beautifully served. For the first few days I suffered from headaches so didn’t do the fast day, but the excellent staff helped me with rehydrating salts and extra nuts and fruit when I felt a bit faint.
I was also prescribed a daily hydro massage, phyto-mud therapy and hydro-jet treatment to improve lymphatic circulation (which filters out bacteria and other debris), plus deep-tissue massage.
Other therapies tailored to my particular needs included a session with a wonderful osteopath who realigned my lopsided body and treatments to reactivate my energy channels with a machine that beeped like a Geiger counter, plus three personal training sessions.
After a few days of being half-starved and pummelled (sometimes quite painfully), my energy levels started to soar. By the fourth day I felt bouncier than I had for ages and had lost nearly four pounds. I felt so good I even refused to join some of the other spa guests for a sneaky last night glass of wine.
All this comes at a cost, but here are some elements I picked up from the programme that you can try at home:
● Drink a glass of room temperature water with lemon juice or organic apple vinegar when you wake up – it cleanses your system and helps you cut down on caffeine during the day.
● Start each day with a brisk, energy-boosting, 30-minute walk.
● Take simple salads to work eg, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, lentils, parsley, olive oil and pepper.
● Schedule a detox day, ideally every week to ten days, eating vegetables, whole fruit (avoid juices and smoothies), brown rice and nuts. Cut out dairy, meat, refined sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol.
● Keep supple by taking up pilates or yoga or a ballet fitness class that combines simple ballet moves with pilates.'
• For more information, go to www.albereta.it/en or call 0039 030 7760550. A seven-day detox programme starts from around £2,530 (there are also three-, four- and 14-night options).
With hay fever season upon us, I am taking my favourite medicine – a daily spoonful of my local unrefined Devon honey. The tip to eat honey from the area where you live was given to me years ago by a consultant immunologist, who said it was effectively self-vaccinating with local pollen. My hay fever varies from year to year but if I get a bad dose, I take Aller-DMG (£18.50 for 60 tablets, www.victoriahealth.com), which quells the body’s overreaction to pollen and reduces inflammation. Also, Hay Max Organic Nasal Balm, £7.29, www.hollandandbarrett.com) is a useful pollen barrier.
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