Spear's Spa Selection: Viva Mayr - Spear's Magazine

Spear’s Spa Selection: Viva Mayr

Viva Mayr is no typical spa retreat but if you want the ultimate in health, head for Austria

Viva Mayr is no typical spa retreat — but if you want the ultimate in health, head for Austria

Overlooking Lake Worth in Austria’s deep south and just a short drive from Klagenfurt, Viva Mayr is dedicated to cleansing your gut, honing your digestion and detoxing your body. This is a serious clinic and detox centre and the Mayr’s philosophy is based on the teachings of Dr Franz Xaver Mayr, which mostly concentrates on the digestive system. Food may be limited, but it’s treated with enormous respect.

The day begins with a dose of Epsom salts and the food is a mix of dry rusks, broth and little else. Every mouthful has to be chewed a minimum of 40 times, which has a two-fold purpose: it slows down our eating habits, as we are apparently given to gulping food rather than savouring it, and this extreme mastication also makes the food easier to digest. Oddly enough, it hoodwinks the brain into thinking you’re eating more than you are. The other food rule is that nothing raw is to be eaten after 4pm, as it’s much more difficult for the gut to digest during the most inactive time of the day.

Each visit begins with a medical consultation and guests are monitored by the medical team throughout their stay. Programmes can include everything from ‘kneipping’ (bathing the body or parts thereof alternately in hot and cold water — great for circulation), massage (which includes everything from deep tissue through to the relaxing type), or on to lymphatic drainage, colonic irrigation for serious cases and the more pampering beauty types for further relaxation and the feelgood factor.

Nestled in the Alps on the shore of Lake Worth, the Mayr Clinic has all the facilities required to provide healthy advice, nutrition and treatments

The over-worked and over-stressed who tend to eat on the run or at rich business lunches, and the lethargic among us whose systems are sluggish and whose energy levels are low, which is why it’s popular with captains of industry, exhausted entrepreneurs and tired hedgies. Viva Mayr now offers an additional Burn-Out programme.  

Any time is good, as the air and countryside are clean and pure. Go in winter for crisp frosty mornings, spring when the countryside stirs, summer to swim in the lake and autumn for the colours.


The Mayr programme and detox… indeed, there’s no choice. You can, on doctor’s orders, have extra treatments and therapies. But this minimum week’s programme is designed not so that you lose weight (though you will) but to cleanse and detox the body. Longer programmes are available for weight maintenance, while the Burn-Out programme is for a minimum of fourteen days.

Very little, as the detox is tiring and guests sleep more than usual. However, the countryside is very pretty and there are some gentle as well as some strenuous hikes, or you can borrow a bike and explore nearby villages. A boat trip to Klagenfurt is worth it to enjoy the lake.

Even after a week, you’ll feel lighter and energised — once the detox headaches have disappeared! There’s also wild swimming in the lake if you visit in summer.
From approx £2,600 per week