I am lucky enough to be at the new Vivamayr clinic in Altausee this week, I am here doing a piece for ES magazine for the Evening Standard (I love my job!). Any way it got me thinking about the rise of the retreat, and why people are finding time and money to go on these sort of holidays.

I have been going to a place in Bodrum called Life Co for several years now, with lots of friends and we juice fast, do yoga, gossip, swim in the sea, have treatments including massages, colonics, cryo saunas, normal saunas, hammams etc etc. You go feeling totally shattered and come back feeling amazing, and there you have it in a nutshell from shocking to shiny in a week!

Retreats have been around for a very long time, and people have been travelling to India to do yoga for ever, but it seems to me that they are filtering down to become part of the normal instead of just for the enlightened few. You can go and do a yoga retreat in Mallorca or Ibiza which people only used to think of as bucket and spade and rave holiday goers territory, and there are juice fast places every where you can imagine. I did my first fast in Wiltshire at Littleton Mill years ago, and they have people going there on a regular basis even if it is just for 3 or 4 days to get a reboot and switch off all normal behaviour and therefore stress and responsibility for just a few days. But it is amazing how those few days can literally make you feel like a new person.

So this week I am at a very different place called the Viva Mayr in Austria and firstly it is in the mountains and very beautiful, and secondly it isn’t a fast

fast it is a very tailored and individual cleanse. It has been great and I love it because I am learning a new way of getting back to good health and energy. I am doing a food combining programme so no complex carbs and protein together (this is because protein is acidic and we want to keep meals either acidic or alkaline), all very interesting if you are a nutrition nerd like me! (I am having an electrolytic foot bath in this pic, it helps remove the toxins from the body by acting as a sort of antioxidant)

We live in such a crazy world of stress and toxicity that perhaps the only way to combat it is to fight fire with fire, one extreme to another! Going away and taking time for yourself maybe the only time we do this, and it is really important that we do.

Our bodies need to have a break and yes, it is great if you are a well balanced, mindful, self caring person all the time but it seems to me that most aren’t and the reason these retreats are getting more and more popular is because they enforce a regime on to us of chilling out and taking care of ourselves. The thing is that overtime anyone who chooses this sort of break over any other is going to feel the benefit, and you will learn something form each one and that will change your behaviour and your relationship with food and wellbeing for the better.

I would recommend to anyone to give it a go, there are all sorts in different price ranges, some are more active boot camp types, and some more restorative, some challenge the brain, others the body. I definitely enjoy coming back from these breaks feeling a whole lot better than when I left, which can’t be said for all breaks I go on!!!!!!