With a proliferation of high-end “state-of-the-art medical spas” in the mountains of southern Germany and western Austria, competition for affluent “guests” is heating up and discretion is being thrown to the Alpine winds.
This week, the Nadine Johnson public relations firm, in a bid for publicity for its client Langerhof Tengersee spa in Bavaria, sent emails to journalists releasing the news that its services have been enjoyed by celebrated artist Cindy Sherman and the equally celebrated Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.
Did these august personages consent to this implied endorsement of the facility, which the hoi polloi tend to describe as a “fat farm”? Who knows, but it sure is interesting information, and only Orbmagazine has it.
Here’s how Gabriel Ford from the Nadine Johnson Agency shared the news in his email:
“Lanserhof Tengersee is a state-of-the-art, medical spa in the midst of the Bavarian countryside, melding the Mayr method with holistic practices. The eco-led outpost is setting new standards in combining health, enjoyment and hospitality with their LANS Med Concept. It is the best kept secret from people like Cindy Sherman to Graydon Carter.”
Well, it’s a secret no more. First off, what is the Mayr method?
According to Charlotte Eager, writing in The Telegraph, Dr. Mayr was an Austrian nutritionist who “believed the cure to nearly all human ills, both physical and mental, could be found in the intestines. I went to a Mayr clinic, where they clean your guts in accordance with his regime. I learnt to chew every mouthful until it was pap.”
“Mayr’s theory was that most people have years of semi-digested food sitting around in their gut. All that rotting food creates a cycle of poor digestion, filling your body with toxins, which puff you up and slow down the digestion of the next intake of food.”
“We started each day with a dose of Epsom salts—which taste so vile you know they are doing good. The digestive process starts in the mouth with the saliva—Mayr believed that if you chew food to pap, it’s easier to digest, makes your gut more efficient, and so you lose weight. It’s not what you eat, but how. It takes ages to chew every mouthful 50 times. When you’ve spent 15 minutes masticating rice cakes, you’re not only bored, you’re full.”
“The Mayr regime doesn’t recommend strenuous exercise. There were daily massages and daily detoxification treatments; dark ‘poisons’ were extracted from my feet through an electrified food bath. I was slipped into a toasted sandwich-maker and radiated with light, and hooked up to a drip and infused with natrium bicarbonate.”
Sounds like a barrel of fun, no? Not exactly. Jonathan Foreman made four trips to Mayr clinics and reported in the UK Harpers Bazaar:
“The modern version of Dr. Mayr’s method is less spartan than the original: you don’t have to live on herbal tea for three weeks. You do eat much less than you would at home or if you were doing any kind of work, and you avoid anything that is hard to digest, including fruit and raw vegetables. You are encouraged to rest, to avoid TV and to eat very lightly at night, usually only a bowl of soup, taken by teaspoon. At the same time you detox by drinking lots of water, taking a dose of salts every morning to clear out your intestines and doing without things like alcohol, coffee and sugar.”
“At least a third of the people I met at the Mayr were not there to lose weight, though most were happy to have that as a side effect. They were there to boost immune systems depleted by chemotherapy or steroid treatment, to cure irritable or spastic bowels, to deal with other persistent afflictions like candida or to recover from various types of exhaustion.”
“Should one go alone? Having to run to the loo frequently, as many people do in their first few days as the salts take effect, is something of an icebreaker. On the other hand, the Mayr is no place to take a lover. The headaches, tiredness and other detox symptoms—and the requirement to monitor the qualities of your stools—don’t make a Mayr visit conducive to romance, despite the extraordinary beauty of the lakes and the countryside.”
So how much does all this pampering cost? Let’s go to the Lanserhof Tengersee website. Single rooms run from about $ 500 a day up to about $ 3,000, depending on the escalating level of opulence and the magnificence of the views, which are all-important in accomplishing the cure.
All in all, it seems like a wonderful regimen and experience. But if you don’t want your name to turn up in a press release, you might consider registering under a pseudonym. Hint: Greta Garbo always traveled as “Harriet Brown”.