Chewing Over A Modern Mayr Cure at Park Igls, Austria


My happiest New Year fantasy is to wake up back at the Park Igls Hotel in the Austrian Tyrol, all set to be cosily eased into a Modern Mayr Cure – making me healthier, fitter & thinner for 2018!

The traditional FX Mayr Cure was the stuff of legend. Devised in the 1920’s by Austrian doctor Franz Xaver Mayr, it was based on his then, highly innovative theory that good gut health is critical to our all-round wellbeing.

Zoom forward almost a century and current major research into chronic modern diseases show that Mayr’s thinking was well ahead of his time. Experts now predict that the science of gut health will be a medical game changer – creating a radical new approach to many major conditions, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.

The traditional FX Mayr Cure is based on a Spartan regime of stale rolls, milk, water,  massage and exercise – and has become famously effective as a super swift and safe way to de-tox and lose weight. As such, it’s also become the well-beloved secret weapon of many of the world’s most famous faces.

Happily, however, for those of us not big on hard-core deprivation, Park Igls has devised a gentler version: The Modern Mayr Cure is a bespoke programme of diet, exercise, abdominal massage, treatments, coaching and state-of-the-art medical tests and diagnostics –  served up in luxurious, but super friendly and relaxed surroundings.

When I arrived for my 6-night stay, top doc Peter Gartner gave me a private introduction to Park Igls – set in leafy parkland just 10 minutes outside Innsbruck. I explained how a series of unexpected losses had led me to neglect my normal (admittedly pretty feeble) diet and exercise disciplines – leaving me overweight and suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The empathetic Dr Gartner explained how his highly qualified medical team create a personalised recovery plan for every guest, matching their individual needs with gut-health-focused, Modern Mayr Medicine and cuisine.

Like so many great ideas, the basic thinking is fairly simple. We are what we eat! But how we eat – and when we eat – are also vitally important….

So recovery starts with the eating process. The more we chew the better we do! Chewing breaks down each mouthful of food, exposing an ever increasing surface area to saliva – with all its essential pre-digestive qualities.

Core Modern Mayr Cure tips for healthier eating include…

  • Essentially, breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper – giving your digestive system time to rest overnight
  • Eat fresh, well prepared food
  • Eat nothing raw after 4pm
  • Take small mouthfuls
  • Concentrate on chewing, chewing – then chewing some more – ideally 30 times for every mouthful. This will allow your saliva to do its vital pre-digestive work before you swallow.
  • Eating mindfully will also help you enjoy all the true flavour of your food – so you’ll feel satisfied with less
  • Use small sized forks and spoons – and put them down down between mouthfuls
  • Don’t drink just before, during or after a meal. But, between meals, drink at least two litres of water a day
  • Eat slowly – each meal should take at least 20 minutes
  • Stop the moment you start to feel full
  • ENJOY!

Days at Park Igls start and end early – partly because there’s no alcohol to keep you up partying through the night in the cosy lounge with its roaring log fire!

Most guests stay for a recommended two to three weeks.  Each day begins the same – with beastly ‘Bitter Wasser’! You collect a mug of concentrated Epsom Salts, mix with warm water and drink slowly. Then avoid swimming in the indoor pool while you wait for the – often dramatic – call of nature!

Once the Bitter Wasser has done its worst, there are always plenty of diversions. Mornings are pampering – filled with massages, warmly indulgent body wraps on wobbly waterbeds and strangely addictively, toe tingling Kneipp treatments, designed to improve circulation.

Surprisingly, I grew to enjoy working out in the panoramic gym with its amazing views and chandeliers. Other get-up-and-go options include Nordic walking, yoga, Pilates, strength training, cookery course, lectures, kybun® running and whacking balls at the exclusive TheMedGolf® Institute, plus beauty therapies, shopping and and theatre trips.

Mealtimes at Park Igls are quiet affairs. Mobile phones are banned. And the eight different levels of meal plan – depending on guests’ health and weight loss aims – are based on food combining. The alkaline focused menu includes spelt rolls, crispbreads, yoghurt, lightly cooked vegetables and small portions of protein – plus a Hoorah! pudding at the final lunch.

The need to chew, and chew some more is not conducive to social chit chat. So diners sit quietly chomping, like a field of contented ruminants!

The food is daintily portioned. But it’s also packed with flavour. And I was surprised to find that the secret ingredient of their yummy soups is often a good glug of Cointreau or Pernod – burnt off, of course, before serving…

But then, Park Igls was full of surprises. My “talking therapy” with lovely Thomas Blasbichler was unexpectedly helpful, offering truly practical life tips based on “possible” changes. The genuine care shown by Thomas and my personal doctor Peter Barth was typical of the whole Park Igls team. They know that life throws up googlies and that we, their guests, are fallible human beings, with normal lives, weaknesses and temptations.

They see it as their mission to listen and understand, offering a range of effective, coping techniques to alter our mindset and helping us move on to a much healthier, happier place. And so, while I’d expected to feel a bit deprived at Park Igls, instead, I felt pampered, thinner – and more positive. And by the final morning, I’d lost 8 pounds – yippee!

I followed the general ethos of the programme when I got home, mixing basic Modern Mayr principles with normal life. And by the end of a fortnight, I’d amazingly lost more than a stone – with no recurrence of my long term IBS.

So here’s to Mayr-vellous New Year! Having lapsed a little, I now feel motivated to get to grips again with the Modern Mayr programme in 2018. And I’m looking forward to rolling away much more than a stone by Easter Monday…

How to book

Felicity Hawkins was a guest of Health Retreat Park Igls ( / +43 512 377305).  The award winning, 5* pioneer of Modern Mayr Medicine offers a wide variety of health enhancing programmes – helping with burnout syndrome, giving up smoking, weight loss detox and stress reduction.


The Basic Programme costs: €977 (includes examinations, 20-minute abdominal treatment, group exercise/anti-stress sessions, lifestyle management and coaching plus Kneipp treatments and personalised Mayr cuisine eating plan.)

The Mayr Classic Programme costs: €1254pp – including the Basic Programme plus 5 massages and one metabolic detox bath.

Accommodation costs: €153 single, €148 sharing a double per night

Fly to Innsbruck with EasyJet or British Airways.

Park Igls is a member of the exclusive Niche Destinations portfolio (, promoting responsible and sustainable travel for independent travellers in elegant surroundings.



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