Close your eyes, relax and imagine that you are floating on a boat along the shores of Lake Lucerne, around you only mountains and infinite silence broken by the gentle splash of water and the rustle of swan wings. You drift to the coast, watch the boat sail away, and at this point you are reborn…
The location of the Park Weggis Hotel seems to have been specially created to provide absolute relaxation, to keep you away from the bustle of real life, and to re-energize your body. The new detox program, which includes a natural menu, special procedures, active exercises for the body, and expert advice, will help cleanse the body of toxins and achieve rejuvenation.
In an interview with SH, Irene Denzler and Antonia Scheidegger, founders of and ideological inspiration for the Swiss Natural Detox project, tell us about the possibilities and principles of detox.
– Why is detox so relevant in our times?
A. Sch. We live in a crazy age. We have so little time to care for ourselves – our health, and most importantly, our mental balance. Today’s life is very strictly regimented. Calls, electronic devices, and flows of information all around us can become a cause of stress and lead to a number of diseases. And it’s all stored up…
– Tell us, please: how was the idea of Swiss Natural Detox born?
I.D. Detox programs are not new; they are quite popular. But the majority of the people who wish to participate in them have to travel literally to the other end of the Earth, for example, to Asia, while Switzerland has absolutely all the conditions necessary to take care of your body by cleansing it. We understand that we can offer something absolutely new to our guests, and it will be based on our own philosophy based on the knowledge of natural European therapy and traditional Swiss recipes. Hence our idea.
A. Sch. One day I noticed that I achieved immediate relaxation after coming to this unique corner of nature called Weggis and to the hotel itself. And it does not matter whether it is winter or summer. Just look around – what nature there is here! Nature generally empowers humans. In addition, this place offers good opportunities for physical activity: beautiful hiking and biking trails along the lakes shore and in the mountains, along with healthy air and the special microclimate. All of these are the perfect conditions for relaxation. Our program is based on three things: nutrition, movement, and relaxation. They are all equally important and perfectly realized here.
– How long do you need to stay in this paradise to feel the effect?
A. Sch. The minimum period is one week, which is relatively little for this type of programme. We offer soft detoxification with a long-term effect. But it is also important to give patients knowledge which they can take away with them. A week’s detox program will certainly be of great benefit to the body. But we want to show people the method which they should follow every day. We provide a set of tools, and their daily use will bring one’s quality of life up to a radically different level. Unfortunately, in most cases we are approached by patients with a history of fairly serious diagnoses. If they knew the importance of maintaining a healthy body, these diseases might not have emerged.
– What are the diseases you deal with most often?
A. Sch. Most of all, detox is necessary for people with excess weight and metabolic disorders. The second largest group of patients consists of those who have a tense work schedule, stress at home and who are looking for an opportunity to relax and regenerate.
– How do you define what a patient’s needs are?
A. Sch. It is very individual. If the main problem is excess weight, we concentrate on matters of nutrition. Here everything is important, including learning the patients habits, favorite foods, and finding the causes of metabolic disorders. In the course of the program, we adjust the pre-assigned plan, if necessary. For example, if a person suffers from heartburn, we need to closely monitor the acidity of the dishes on his menu. For all patients, individual extracts of medicinal herbs are included in the diet.
– What types of physical activity do you offer to your guests?
A. Sch. The program consists of two units. One includes walks in the open air with an empty stomach from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., relaxing gymnastics, yoga and meditation. Thesecond unit, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., includes cardio-training aimed at the development of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. this includes swimming and Nordic walking or running, depending on the time of the year.
– Stress and even depression have become integral parts of modern life. Will a detox program help deal with them?
A. Sch. Many of our customers are literally exhausted from the rhythm of their lives, and they suffer from nervous disorders. And you know, the state in which they come to us and the one in which they leave are as far apart from each other as Heaven and Earth! If you motivate them properly to bear responsibility for themselves, to rebuild their lives, not to rely on medication or a psychiatrist or psychologist, their condition will improve quickly enough.
– One week is the minimum necessary. How far it is possible to expand the program?
I.D. Guests can spend two or three weeks with us: they will only get better. One week is the minimum necessary in order to start to feel the changes. In two weeks there will be noticeable results, and after three you will be able to fly. Three weeks is the ideal stay.
– Is complete isolation from the world a necessary condition for Swiss Natural Detox? Is it necessary to turn off the phone, to leave everything at home?
A. Sch. Of course, we recommend that the patients be removes as much as possible from everyday life. However, we do not tell the customers to turn off their laptops and phones during the entire course.
We understand that it is impossible for many of them, but we do our best to develop a «peace infrastructure.» For example, there are spa cottages where we offer our customers a variety of baths, massages for detoxifying and regenerating the tissues, and lymph drainage massages, and we detoxify the body through the feet with the help of special baths and many other things.
– You offer a variety of interesting massages of all kinds. What role do they play in the detoxification program?
A. Sch. Naturopathic medicine treats the human body as a whole. That’s why we always offer complex therapy. At its core, it includes food and medicinal herbs. To enhance the effect of their exposure, we have developed a system of specialized detox massages based on ancient techniques. they have a deep purifying and relaxing effect, and they are also very pleasant.
– You have mentioned that one of the pillars of the detox program is nutrition. What do you think the main problem in this area of modern society is?
A. Sch. The most destructive habit for the body is constant eating. In Zurich, there are fast food kiosks literally every 20 meters, and people chew all day without stopping. this causes confusion in the body. We have to give it a rest from time to time. Our pancreas periodically needs rest, otherwise it will have to continuously produce insulin. The result is clear: the dramatically increased number of patients with diabetes. Diabetes, high blood pressure, indigestion – these diseases are quite common today. The diseases are different, but the cause is the same: excessive food consumption and insufficient exercise. We sit all day in front of a computer without moving, we accumulate stress, we do not have time to sit down and enjoy our food – instead we swallow everything without even looking at it. In order to digest food, it is necessary to eat slowly.
I. D. Today, many people have refrigerators crammed with food. The kitchen has become the center of the universe in many families. I remember my parents: we never had so many snacks in between meals! The food industry makes a lot of money from us because we eat much and often. Today’s youth consider this the norm and over time they acquire a whole bunch of diseases. But this mostly applies to the urban population. The rural population has a totally different lifestyle and diet – villagers are much healthier and more physically active than city dwellers. So, in preparing the detox program, we took a farming family’s lifestyle as a starting point. Not in the terms of choice of meals and products, of course, but in terms of the organization of the process. Early rising, several small meals a day. In rural areas, all of this is combined with active physical work. We offer such physical activities as walking, jogging, yoga, etc.
– Good food is one of the most accessible and valued pleasures. What kind of cuisine do you offer your customers during the program?
A. Sch. Many people think that detox involves eating lean meals only, but this is not the case. Healthy food can be a pleasure, too. We have excellent chefs with expertise not only in the subtleties of taste, but in a healthy diet as well. It is a very special cuisine. It is diverse and, of course, helps improve digestion. Our customers are eating what’s really good for them. There is even meat on the menu, although not as much as the might be used to. It’s mainly fish and seafood that contain easily digestible protein. I also like fruit desserts on our menu: for example, thinly sliced pineapple with fragrant herbs. We reveal the secrets of how to eat enough with small portions and not to feel hunger.
– Is drinking wine allowed during the detox course? After all, Park Hotel Weggis is also known for its wine cellars…
A. Sch. Yes, sure. But only if the goal is not to lose weight. When people try to lose weight, it’s better not to drink alcohol as it slows down the metabolism. Therefore, depending on the patient’s goal, we decide whether or not it is acceptable to drink wine. If there are no specific diseases, then you can afford to have a glass of wine with a meal, but we are talking about red wine. It is good for the blood vessels, so all cardiologists are red wine fans. But hard drinks are definitely excluded.
– Switzerland is renowned throughout the world for its caring attitude to nature and smart use of nature’s gifts. Tell us about the use of natural products in the Swiss Natural Detox
A. Sch.I ’ve been studying herbal medicine and European medicinal herbs for a long time. It is not only hard work in the library and searching for ancient monastic recipes: for many years, I have been spending the weekends in the Alps, exploring healing herbs and their effect on the human body. And I’m always happy to use them in my work. It is enough to add a little rosemary, sage and mint to food, the things that nature gives us, and one’s life becomes easier. I even recommend herbs such as lemon balm, chives, and parsley, instead of potted home flowers, to city dwellers. Lemon balm has a wonderfully calming effect, and it is good for treating mental disorders. If you get in the habit of making tea with lemon balm every night, you can get rid of bad moods and minimize stress. It has good effects on the female organs. Or sage, for example, is one of the oldest medicinal herbs and has been cultivated for many centuries. Sage is traditionally used for gargling. But it has a good effect on the digestive tract, the liver, and brain activity as well – on the entire blood circulation system. Rosemary can be used instead of coffee for buoyancy. It has an excellent toning effect. For enhancing the processes of digestion and elimination of abdominal distention, you can brew tea with rosemary or season dishes with the herb. This is one of the few plants that can normalize low blood pressure. Basil also has remarkable healing properties.
All these herbs help the liver, which is known to be the key organ responsible for metabolism and cleansing the body. But the ideal plant for the liver is the artichoke, which also helps the intestine. I really love artichokes. I like both the florets and the vegetable itself. From March to October, you can buy local artichokes of very good quality.
An important property of healing herbs is the extended effect on the whole body, on its various areas – unlike chemical drugs, which contain only one active agent. But it is necessary to observe the dosage.
– Today we talk a lot about a gluten-free diet. Do you think it really helps?
A. Sch. Gluten is a glutinous substance of cereal products, very cheap, so it has gained popularity in the last 30 years, but it has also become a problem, as it is used in many foods. Even if one does not have a gluten intolerance or allergic reactions to it, it is better to limit its consumption because gluten irritates the intestine. You cannot eat bread for breakfast, pizza for lunch and pasta for dinner because it is all wheat and it will be too much for our body. Of course, a healthy body has to be familiar with various products to be able to digest them. And sometimes I’m surprised to see how badly some people eat and what healthy bodies they nevertheless have. But it is best to comply with this rule: do not binge on fatty foods or carbs, and eat more seasonal vegetables and fruit.
– How can we teach our bodies to work without failing?
A. Sch. First of all, remember that enjoying food is only possible when you’re relaxed. It is very important for the body to be able to digest it properly. In addition, I see a positive effect in people who pay attention to natural products, especially seasonal, grown in the region where they live. For example, in Switzerland, autumn and winter are the time for chestnuts and root vegetables, and all kinds of cabbage. They keep us warm, so we should eat them in the autumn and winter, and then eat more tomatoes and cucumbers in summer because of their cooling effect.
– If we talk about the weight loss program, what result can be achieved during the course
A. Sch. To be realistic, we must expect a loss of two to three kilograms. But after the program, at home, the patient should adhere to certain food intake principles, which is our philosophy, if he wants to achieve good results without resorting to any diet. I do not like diets at all. Most importantly – do not chew constantly. It is necessary to follow one rule – eat three times a day. Now, this is not so difficult. After all, we, unlike our ancestors, are not afraid to be hungry. Nevertheless, this fear has remained in our genetic memory. Therefore, our body expects a slight feeling of hunger after a meal, but not a bellyful, as usually happens. After all, there are 20 minutes until saturation. During this time, you can eat a lot, to excess, and when people feel sated, it is too late. The sense of hunger is keener in people than the sense of satiety – this is a problem of evolution, and to solve it we need at least a thousand years.
Antonia Scheidegger is a naturopathic physician in traditional European medicine, a therapist of clinical psycho-neurological immunology, and a nutritional specialist. She received her further education in such fields as dark-field microscopy, hypnotherapy, gemmotherapy, and epigenetic balance. Currently she manages the Swiss Natural Detox program, is an independent therapist at the Center of Interdisciplinary Sexology and Medicine in Zurich, and guides cookery courses.
Irene Denzler is the CEO and owner of BLU AG, a company that specializes in strategic consulting in communications and business development. Among other things, she launched the Swiss Natural Detox program for the fivestar Park Hotel Weggis, and is in charge of its promotion in Switzerland and internationally.