Gut health is underrated. These days, too many people associate being healthy with weight loss and therefore put themselves on strict diets, cutting out all carbs and sugar in a bid to make less of an impact on the scales, thinking it’s the key to healthy living.
But what many don’t understand is how you eat can be just as important as what you eat, and what you eat is way more important than how much. All these things have a profound impact on the gut, which is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, collectively known as the microbiome. While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are actually extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.
And don’t just take my word for it. As of late, an increasing number of scientists have come forward with research that proves our digestive system is a great focal point for solving many of our health concerns. Take Giulia Enders, for instance, a medical doctor and author of the book “Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ”, which has sold more than two million copies in Germany. Enders talks extensively about how we are only just discovering quite how much the gut has to offer, with new research showing that gut bacteria can play a role in everything from obesity and allergies to Alzheimer’s.
Modern Mayr Medicine
One principle that follows this perception of the gut and puts it into practice is Modern Mayr Medicine, a diet “cure” so to speak that was created nearly 120 years ago by an Austrian physician named Dr. Franz Mayr. Mayr used traditional diagnostics and therapies to link good gut health to overall health and beauty. In doing so, he founded the FX Mayr Cure, a holistic health program delivered on Lake Wörthersee in the southern Austrian state of Carinthia that assumes we can “become healthy, happy, and more efficient” by temporarily changing our normal diet.
With the FX Mayr cure, patients would bring their digestion closer to its “ideal condition”. To do so, the cure traditionally rested on the three principles: rest, training and cleansing and it’s in this way that patients contributed to reducing health problems and preventing illnesses.
However, this was a long time ago and since then the FX Mayr cure has been brought into the modern world. Head physician at Lake Wörthersee, Dr. Harald Stossier, decamping to set up his own clinic called VivaMayr, a principle combining innovation with the traditional diagnostics and therapies of Dr F.X. Mayr to create Modern Mayr Medicine.Lead by Medical Director, Dr. Sepp Fegerl, Vivamayr is a combination of modern procedures including Functional Myodiagnostics (FMD) and Orthomolecular Medicine. Guests, therefore, follow the ‘Mayr cure’ in the form of an intense detox program designed to purge the body of toxins and leave guests feeling toned, vibrant and full of energy in as little as a week.
These come to life at various Vivamayr clinics across Austria, namely Maria Worth and Altaussee, both of which focus on resetting your digestion to boost your health. And they’re called “medical centers” not spas because they are pretty far from your typical image of a super zen “wellness” retreat. You don’t just go there to relax and Instagram the hell out of it, but your entire routine is turned on its head in the name of gut health, and it’s quite tough as a result. Guests have to subscribe to seven days of specific eating routines to rid your body of its acidic state and make it more alkaline, from chewing 40 times per spoon full of food (so your gut can properly digest the nutrients) to not consuming any raw fruit or veg after 4pm (to reduce fermentation in the stomach later at night, which can cause bloating).
However, the cure is complemented with a host of high-tech, innovative treatments to aid the gut-cleansing process.
So what kind of innovations are involved with complementing this gut health goal at Vivamayr clinics? And what are their benefits?
Interval hypoxic-hyperoxic training (IHHT) or “hypoxy training”
Your body is made up of trillions of cells, and each one needs the right amount of energy so you can live your healthiest life. Every single movement requires energy from your cells. Talking, walking, and eating would not be possible without a constant supply of energy. Over time, it may be more difficult for your body to produce the energy necessary to help you perform at your best.
Similar to altitude training, IHT can improve your overall performance and conditioning. Using a specialized breathing mask, you consume a combination of oxygen-rich air and oxygen-reduced air for approximately 45 minutes per session. This process stimulates the production of healthy mitochondria in your cells, which helps enhance your energy production and higher the concentration of red blood cells.
This works by stimulating the kidneys, which are responsible for the release erythropoietin (a hormone stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells). These are important in the supply of oxygen in the body. So when a person trains at high altitudes, there is less supply of oxygen, which causes the kidneys to increase the release of erythropoietin and consequently, more oxygen is carried by the blood to the organs and tissues.
A liver compress is useful for supporting liver function, which aids in the healing process of the body. At VivaMayr, they use a heated herb sack and strap it to your abdomen with many layers of cloth, right above where the liver sits. you then lie on a waterbed on top of heated mud packs, which creates a liberating floating sensation. Might sound a little far fetched, but this is something that scientists have hypothesized might reduce the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and therefore increase hepatic blood flow, improving circulation.
Electrolysis foot bath
The electrolysis foot bath is said to work by pulling the toxins out of your body through your feet by ionizing the foot bath water. This process is said to give the hydrogen in the water a positive charge, which attracts the negatively charged toxins in your body. The ions in the foot bath water supposedly hold a charge that enables them to bind to any heavy metals and toxins in your body, similar to how magnets work. This allows the toxins to be pulled out through the bottoms of your feet. Although there’s no scientific evidence yet to prove this method actually works.
FMD or “Applied Kinesiology” (AK)
Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a diagnosis system that includes the structural, emotional and chemical body functions with the use of a muscle function test. The aim is to investigate the reasons for the body`s malfunction and to create balance and well-being with the help of regulated measures.
In the sense of biological medicine, with Applied Kinesiology it is possible to discover disorders very early, such as before the pathology appearance, to eliminate or minimize them or to improve the quality of life if the illness is therapy resistant
This method was first introduced in 1964 by the American chiropractor George Goodheart and further developed in the last 30 years as an interdisciplinary diagnostic and therapeutic method for functional disorders. It’s essentially a muscle test that can be used to diagnose disorders in the body whose cause may be, whether that’s psycho-emotional (such as stress), structural (disorders of the spine or joints), or chemical (such as metal contamination or intolerances).
With the help of this muscle function test, it’s believed that doctors can give a diagnosis about the negative factors (allergens, indigestible substances, or malpositions) as well as positive effects and can then take an appropriate therapeutic measure. At VivaMayr, they use this system to try and detect any weaknesses and intolerances in your system to certain foods, and the doctor will cut them out of your diet, accordingly, during your stay.
Nasal reflex therapy
Nasal reflex therapy tackles sinusitis, bronchitis, snoring and improves resistance to colds by simply dipping a cotton bud in two aromatherapy oils and placing it in three different positions in each nasal cavity.
Spiroergometry involves the examination of reactions of your heart, lung, vascular and metabolic system while under physical stress. Using a face mask or mouthpiece while running or cycling on a stationary machine, the respiratory gas is guided through a volume sensor that registers all physical features of a person’s breathing. Via a suction system connected to it, gas samples can be taken and analyzed in the system to determine the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
Basic measurements including respiratory volume and frequency, oxygen intake, carbon-dioxide output, and heart rate are entered, which can determine other parameters, such as minute volume, gas exchange rate and breath equivalents for oxygen and carbon dioxide. Based on this, doctors can see the performance of the patient’s different organs as well as the individual energy consumption of a human being. For example, you can analyze how many calories your body consumes under rest or under your specific training conditions as well as find out how much carbohydrates, fat, and proteins the body consumes. This knowledge is super useful because you can determine at what point of exercise fat burning is at its maximum level.