In exchange for your patience and perseverance, VIVAMAYR offers long-term natural healing steeped in the philosophy of gut health and a lifetime of good habits. By Vishwaveer Singh
Born in 1875 in Australia, Dr Franz Xaver Mayr came up with a revolutionary cure that revolved around gut health. He believed that a healthy digestive system was the key to a person’s good health, longevity, and beauty. Paramount to his cure was a system of fasting, a holiday if you will, for the gut. Reducing the intake of calories, Mayr believed, was a great way of re-invigorating digestion, and thus his or her overall health. The success that Mayr’s principles have found over the decades led to a boom in health spas and clinics across Europe, each one practising its own unique take on Mayr’s philosophy and building upon it for its 21st-century clientele. With two facilities in Austria (Altaussee and Maria Wörth), VIVAMAYR—founded by a leading practitioner of Mayr medicine, Dr Harald Stossier—is the pioneer of Mayr’s medicine today.
Having visited VIVAMAYR thrice (twice at Maria Wörth and once at Altaussee), I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of a Mayr medicine junkie. The clinics came to national prominence in India when Bollywood diva Rani Mukherjee started speaking about the success of infertility treatments at VIVAMAYR. Soon, Bollywood stars and starlets began descending on the Austrian clinics—some of them wanted to detox, some wanted to look younger, and others just wanted to lose weight for their blockbuster roles. VIVAMAYR did all that and more and converted several of our country’s high and mighty into bonafide followers, if not worshippers, of its practice. Today the Indian jet-set know what Base Powder is (an alkalising concoction consumed with water two-three times a day), they carry their Biogena supplements (prescribed by VIVAMAYR) with a reverence usually reserved for Swiss watches and exotic handbags, and several of them make it a point to take out at least a week or two every year to rejuvenate at the clinics.
Over time, teams from VIVAMAYR too have made a practice of visiting India, sometimes as much as thrice a year, to offer follow-up consultations to their long list of affluent clients. Their doctors have addressed conclaves and health summits, even speaking at the Global Economic Summit that was held in Hyderabad, amid much fanfare, thanks to the attendance of Ivanka Trump.
While the clinics’ clients are scattered all over the world (they are particularly popular with Euro-billionaires and Russian oligarchs), several of them are noted for their celebrity status—Sheikh Mohammed of the UAE, Sheikh Hamad of Qatar, Princess Esra Jah of Hyderabad, and Hollywood stars like Liv Tyler and Elizabeth Hurley. Such is their popularity that Goop Labs, Gwyneth Paltrow’s brainchild, lists them as one of the best health retreats in the world.
So, what is it that VIVAMAYR does that others in the industry cannot? What is the secret sauce? What makes it the numero uno? There really isn’t one answer. It’s a combination of treatments, usually tailor-made for individual patients, that does the trick.
If you’re inclined to visit one of VIVAMAYR’s clinics, it’s advisable to first meet one of their doctors on their visits to India. Consultations take place in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru, and checking with the team on the schedule can help you book your appointment in advance. I flew down to Dubai for mine, where I was lucky enough to meet the founder, Dr Harald Stossier. Suffering from an unusual case of elevated blood pressure at a young age, I was told to get onto a simple regimen of supplements for a two-month period before visiting Austria for my treatment.
Choosing your clinic is up to your personal preference. Altaussee is situated an hour’s drive from Salzburg, while Maria Wörth is close to the southern border of Austria—with Italy and Slovenia on either side. The clinics offer a chargeable pick-up service from Vienna airport that is probably the most convenient choice, since it cuts down on having to catch an additional train or plane to the nearest city.
Both Altaussee and Maria Wörth are picturesque towns, situated in pristine locations with views of mountains and sparkling lakes. Winter months can get snowy with temperatures falling well below 0°C, while summers are ideal if you’d like to use the outdoors for exercise. Altaussee offers a particularly beautiful walking path around its famed lake, while Maria Wörth is known for a strenuous hiking path behind its facility that gets you to the Pyramidenkogel, a futuristic viewing tower that offers a birds-eye view of Lake Wörthersee.
But it’s not the view that you’ve flown all the way there for. The treatment starts off with an initial examination by a doctor assigned to you for the duration of your stay. All doctors at VIVAMAYR are medically qualified physicians before they begin studying Mayr medicine. Using muscle kinesiology and a physical examination, they set you on a prescribed course of treatments and bespoke diet that are tuned to cure your ailments and begin the process of detoxification.
You’re handed a schedule that is jam packed with nouvelle terms and medical lingo—Roeder’s nasal reflex therapy, B12 IV infusion, cryotherapy, colon therapy, hydroxeur baths, and so on. Days usually begin at 7.30 am with breakfast. Then begins a barrage of treatments, massages, baths, infusions, and fitness routines, usually allowing you to break around noon for lunch. Patients are advised to work out as much as they can during the treatment; I preferred a walk or hike.
During afternoons, doctors gave lectures on Mayr medicine, advice on how one can change their eating habits, and explained the cutting-edge scientific discoveries in medicine being used at VIVAMAYR. For those of you who just want to take a breather, opt for relaxing lie-ins, zoning out, and looking at the endless mountains and reflections of the sky in the lake.
Patients are urged to drink as much water as they can. Carafes are set up in your room with mineral stones, and a tea bar offers some of the best organic teas. It almost becomes a ritual: choosing your tea and then nursing the hot kettle as it brews the medicinal magic. You’re also put on a laxative course that suits you. Epsom salts drunk in the morning usually end up causing the gut to clean itself. The rumbling of a churning stomach and the reduced calorie intake can make for an irritable first three days. Your body is going into a state of ketosis, using its own reserves for energy and thus automatically detoxifying. By day four, things change for the better. You achieve a sense of clarity and renewed energy, and that is the magic of the cure.
By day five, I had managed to curb my elevated blood pressure and had switched off (for almost three years now) from the allopathy medicine that I was prescribed by my doctors. VIVAMAYR believes in removing the cause of the ailment and treating the body, rather than removing the symptoms. Yes, there is weight loss—I lost six kilograms in 10 days—and there is a visible change in appearance too. Dark circles and bags disappear from under the eyes, fatigue becomes a distant memory, and you somehow feel younger. So much so that some believe a treatment here can reverse your age by almost 10 years.
There’s also a general sense of peace and quiet—no chattering guests huddled in a corner yelling at the top of their voices, no cell phones buzzing, no pollution wafting up your nose.
It all adds up. The fasting, alkalising and general relaxation become a potent mix for your physical rejuvenation.