A Week at VIVAMAYR – What it is really like!
What is it really like to do the Cure at VIVAMAYR, you ask? Well, let me start by saying this: it is hard to put into words. Even after my second time checking into the world-famous clinic, it seems impossible to accurately describe the impact just seven days at VIVAMAYR can have on your overall wellbeing. But I will try my best to take you along on a personal review of one week at VIVAMAYR Altaussee.
First things first, it is good to know that a week is the recommended minimum duration of stay. Ideally, ten to 14 days are recommended. However, judging from both of my experiences, if you are committed and make sure to properly prepare for the stay (find out how here) – then seven days are a good amount of time to create a major shift in the way you feel and look.
VIVAMAYR is a lifestyle that inspires and accompanies you anywhere in the world.
A week at VIVAMAYR Review – what it is really like!
Day 0: Checking in, we are instantly lulled in by the stunning Austrian landscape surrounding the location in Altaussee. The mountains, the lake, the golden light, the wooden structure of the hotel… it looks more like a postcard than a clinic.
The drive from Vienna took 3.5 hours, so by the time we arrived, we are quickly ushered into the restaurant for dinner. At VIVAMAYR, dinner is early between 5.30 and 7 pm.
Since the initial consultation with the doctor is not until the morning, our first meal at VIVAMAYR is a typical dinner: a tea pot full of vegetable broth + a small, hard roll (gluten-free, made of buckwheat). We are instructed to eat slow, chew each bite 40x, stay away from our phones and not talk. It feels strange at first, but then very freeing. To be able to sit in silence, enjoy the summer evening and gaze into the mountains.
After dinner, we finish our check-in process, fall in love with the clinic (feels more like a mountain resort) even more and unpack. By 9 pm, we are ready for bed and I jump into the bath for a soak before calling it a night.
food that strengthens, rather than satiate
Day 1: By 7 am we are awake. There are lots of things on our early-morning-to-do list. Oil pulling (at least 10 min), then a cup of warm water with epson salts to help clear the digestive system and 15-30 minutes of no liquids before meals. By 7.47 am we are having breakfast: another buckwheat roll + 2 sides (I choose a vegan spread + goat cheese) and at 8.30 I have my first consultation with Dr. Fegerl. Together we talk about my personal goals for the Cure at VIVAMAYR (better sleep, more regular digestion) and discuss what he sees as important + possible intolerances. Turns out, lactose and casein are NOT my friend.
From Dr. Fegerls office, I head straight into the diagnostics lab to have my blood drawn and get a Vitamin B12 injection. Then I am off to the lake for a cup of tea to soak up some Vitamin D. By lunchtime (12.00 – 1.30 pm) my diet has been adapted to suit my personal needs. Lots of potatoes, soups & vegetables. No dairy, no eggs, no meat or fish. Good thing I love potatoes!
Before my schedule for the rest of the week is finalized at the medical reception, I have some spare time to explore the clinic, try out their yoga, take a dip in the pool and hop into the sauna. Wellness at it’s best.
At 6pm sharp, Mike and I meet up for dinner (he was busy with cryo therapy, a massage and fitness training all afternoon). This time I get to have potatoes, salt from the region, flaxseed oil and a vegetable soup. After dinner we head out for a walk and then go back for another round of sauna. We plan on watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s in bed, but I fall asleep after the first 10 minutes.
Day 2: If you are worried of getting bored or having to much time “to do nothing” at VIVAMAYR, trust me, you won’t! My second full day is so busy that I have actually set an alarm for 6 am. Oil pulling, magnesium citrate (instead of the epson salts for me), and a quick dip for my feet in the icy lake are on the agenda before breakfast. Then at 8 am, I have a 50-minute massage scheduled and a dietary and chew-consultation at 9. Right after, at 9.45 am I get my final therapy plan at the medical reception and at 10 there is a bio-frequency test for me to do.
Lunch is at 12 pm, I have a movement coaching at 1 pm (where we focus on fascia training and why it is so important) and at 2.30 pm I am back with Dr. Fegerl for my manual abdominal treatment and functional myodiagnosis. Again, I find out that lactose is definitely off the agenda! Something I had intuitively known for years (hence I rarely consume dairy).
When I leave the doctor’s office at 3.30 pm, I can’t believe where the day has gone so fast…
I have one more “to-do” on my schedule: A liver compress. Which is soaked, warm hay on my liver, while I lay on a heated water bed. Needless to say, I doze off for a good 20 minutes.
I head back to the room to take care of my most important emails before meeting up with Mike again for our daily spa-session.
Dinner is a delicious pumpkin soup + side of potatoes. The waiters tell me I am allowed to order more if I feel hungry, but with an effort to chew lots and eat slow, I actually feel full.
After dinner, Mike and I take advantage of one of the daily talks given by the experts at VIVAMAYR. We learn more about how stress, the brain and gut are connected and how it affects our well-being and health.
Day 3: Our third day at VIVAMAYR in Altaussee is Saturday. Weekends are a bit slower at VIVAMAYR and I am excited to have some spare time to explore the area. After breakfast I head to my manual abdominal treatment with the doctor and then enjoy a blissful 50-minute lymphatic drainage massage with Marta (she is amazing).
After lunch, Mike and I are in the mood for a hike and we take the scenic route up to the Loser Mountain close by, where we spend the afternoon hiking and enjoying the view.
Day 4: A sunny Sunday awaits and I couldn’t be more intrigued by the thought of my book, the lake and a bikini. After breakfast (potatoes, avocado + vegan mousse) I fill my water bottle with broth and head straight to the beautiful jetty to read. I don’t move until lunchtime – except for an occasional dip in the lake to cool off. I love that VIVAMAYR is a mix of the ultimate vacation + lots of treatments to keep you busy.
In the afternoon, the clouds roll in and we hide out in the spa and test our way through the three different saunas, steam rooms and cozy nooks for reading.
tailor-made medical treatment that is both individual and holistic in scope
Day 5: Monday, aka back to business. I start my day with 30 minutes of movement coaching (still a little sore from the last fascia session) and then head straight to breakfast. To my surprise, the waiter asks me what I would like for lunch! Wait what? Something other than potatoes? My doctor has adapted my meal plan to now include 2 courses for lunch (soup + veggies and fish). At first, I am sure he mixed something up, but after double-checking twice, I feel like a little kid in the candy store. I pick “rooted vegetables, curry and sweet potato” and am off to my salt scrub with a huge smile on my face. I didn’t mind the potatoes, but after 5 days of very monotone meals, the thought of a seasoning like curry is incredibly appealing. Blissed out, I doze off once again during my peeling – while snuggled into a heated water bed at the hydro therapy department of the clinic.
Lunch is, as expected, amazing! Not only delicious but also beautifully arranged and colorful.
At 1.15 pm I have a breath workshop, which mostly focuses on techniques to reduce stress, relax muscle tension and calm down. Then, at 3.30 pm I am back with Dr. Fegerl for my manual abdominal treatment and at 4 pm I am back with Marta, the sweetest masseuse!
Afterwards, Mike and I decide to walk all the way around the Lake Altaussee. The 7k walk takes us just over an hour and even though it starts to rain mid-way through, the air is so fresh and energizing that we love it!
Day 6: Our last full day at VIVAMAYR has lots in store for me. At 7.45 am I drop of my urin sample at the medical reception and have my weigh-in. Almost 2kg down in just 6 days and without feeling hungry or killing myself at the gym.
Breakfast is at 8 am and at 9.30 I am back at the diagnostics lab for another round of Vitamin B12 injections. My next appointment is something I have been excited for all week: cardiopulmonary exercise testing (germ.: Spiroergometrie) to determine at what heart rate and strain my body burns the most fat vs. when it starts to burn glucose. With a darth-vader-like mask on my face, I have to run on the treadmill, increasing the speed by 0.8km every minute. I last for 14 minutes before I give up and it turns out that any exercise with a pulse-rate of up to 139 is best for me in terms of fat burning.
After lunch, I am back with Dr. Fegerl at 2pm for my final consultation and check-up. Things are looking good and I can’t wait to check back in with him in 2 weeks at the Day Clinic in Vienna. The Cure is not over when you check out, and that’s what I love about it. A week at VIVAMAYR gives you the necessary tools to take care of yourself in your own setting! Mike and I are determined to keep things up 80% of the time and continue our journey at home.
At 3pm I have an osteopathy session (incredible!!) and then a goat butter wrap for my dry skin at 4.10 pm.
At 5.00 pm Mike and I listen to another one of the free talks at VIVAMAYR before heading to dinner (celery soup + steamed vegetables) and one last evening sauna session. My favorite is the “Zirbensauna” (made of swiss pine) at 60°C. It smells incredible and is not too hot. Before bed, we enjoy the beautiful lakeviews one last time during a 30-minute walk.
Day 7: It seems both surreal how much we have experienced and changed in just one week and at the same time like it was just yesterday that we check-in for our week at VIVAMAYR Altaussee. One last time, we dip our feet in the cold lake before breakfast and enjoy the early morning air!
At 8.30 am I have a mud wrap to release tension and at 10.15 Mike and I have 1.5 hours of dietary consultations before checking out. Together with a nutritionist, we discuss possible meals and shopping lists for home. She also writes down recipe ideas and no-gos for the first week post-cure.
After one last lunch at VIVAMAYR (fennel soup + earthy vegetables with potato dumplings), we drive back to Vienna with a new-found glow and sense of well-being.
*photography by Marion Payr for VIVAMAYR | Press Invite