How to change your life in just seven days at the Original FX Mayr
By Rosalind Milani Gallieni
As I speed across the Austrian border from Ljubljana Airport to Lake Wörthersee and the legendary Original FX Mayr clinic, I’m more than a little nervous of what the week ahead will be like. The world-renowned health resort, located on a hillside overlooking the serenity of the lake below, is famed for its strict detox programs, designed to strengthen intestinal health. It has, since its inception almost 50 years ago, become one of the world’s leading centres for modern Mayr medicine and holistic health care.
However, right from the off, the high level of service and seamless efficiency offered dispels my anxiety immediately. Upon stepping over the threshold, a tranquil interior surrounds me and deep white sofas beckon. The resort has recently been updated under the guidance of managing director Gabriella Schnitzler, who is elegance personified, having previously worked in the worlds of Guerlain, Prada and Louis Vuitton.
Founded in 1976 and inspired by the Austrian physician Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr, it is the “mothership of all spas,” according to Schnitzler. Once a private home about 100 years ago, the building was used as a military hospital during World War I, where the treatment and rehabilitation of the military personnel was founded on a principle of resting the digestive system as a means to recovery. The thinking was that this actually reverses the process of “auto-intoxication” that is induced by ingesting the wrong foods. It is this philosophy upon which the 360-degree holistic approach of the Mayr cure is based, with programs formulated to rest the pancreas and the entire digestive system, ensuring that it effectively gets put on hold. The major benefit of this is that it encourages the body to jump from daily sugar burning to fat burning, and also activates your immune defence. The process strengthens your immune system, detoxes it, reboots it, and renews every cell in your body, cleaning out all the garbage you have stowed away over the years.
After the long journey and seeing my schedule for the week ahead, I was glad to retire to my room, designed in a wonderfully chic palette of beiges and mushroom velouté, with handmade pure wool rugs, a scientific Hans Grohe shower and a bed which was really hard to get out of at 6 o’clock in the morning to start the day’s programme.
A welcome break during the day was an escape to the sleek, newly-built Spa-style beach house. Designed to blend into the water’s edge, the beach house offers outstanding views across the lake and the mountains beyond. A warm and cosy place to retreat, it boasts state-of-the-art sauna rooms, plenty of reclining seats in which to relax, and a jetty that reaches out into the icy blue waters of Lake Wörthersee through the rustling reeds. Gently scented candles light your way in the evenings, and the softest blankets on the deckchairs and sofas ensure every comfort is thought of.
A seamless theme travels through every area of the centre, from the doctor’s first assessment appointment, to the treatments you are expected to follow according to your daily schedule, which is left on your dining table every evening. The daily meals are served in a tranquil blue and beige dining room, and everyone eats in mindful silence, gazing at the mountains lining the lake. Every single person has a different, and truly bespoke, menu for the duration of their stay, as everyone has to follow their own cure and routine.
On my first day, I am greeted by a miniature jar filled with sheep’s yoghurt and a tough-ish brown buckwheat roll, especially baked to make sure I chew each mouthful at least 25 times, with an egg-spoon-sized teaspoon ready beside it. The intention is to enable slow, mindful eating that allows you to feel full faster, reducing the stress that inhibits proper digestion. Lunch follows the same pattern, but a vegetable soup takes the place of the yoghurt, and dinner comes in the shape of a clear, thin vegetable broth sprinkled with the tiniest, tastiest parsley; always served with a teaspoon, and never a knife and fork in sight.
What the resort really offers, however, is the chance to find your roots while following your very own FX Mayr schedule. Said schedule starts with 7am morning exercises, then flows on into bespoke treatments, sauna sessions, Cryotherapy, hayflower wraps in your room, high altitude tests, osteopathy, a long list of diverse massages, wild water swimming, hiking and aqua fitness, and ends 12 hours later with a candle-lit meditation at 7pm.
During my week-long stay, a real mix of people of varying ages descended on the centre. I’m told that in recent years, a younger generation has begun coming here, either with their parents or booking themselves in directly, with a view to tackle burn-out, stress, or just needing a major tech detox. The clinic is also seeing customers checking in to treat issues stemming from the effects of long Covid, with improvements to energy levels apparent after just one week.
Although I was only at the Original FX Mayr centre for a week myself, the inner peace and new lease of life I experienced in just seven short days have encouraged me to make lasting lifestyle changes. What the centre offers is tailored holistic health solutions that really work to strengthen your immune system, boosting your whole health from the inside out – a cure indeed and one, I hope, that will result in positive changes for the long-term. It is a true life investment and, if possible, an experience that should be repeated annually.