'As the clock changes herald the arrival of spring, officially at least, I wonder how many of us find ourselves in that uneasy position between our annual failed post-Christmas detox and impending summer swim suit diet. Have you too found yourself caught between the guilt of unfulfilled New Years’ health resolutions and an acute awareness of the dwindling number of weeks before the beach wear needs to be dusted off? If this sounds familiar to you then read on. But beware! The following experience is not for the faint-hearted.
Determined for once to do a proper detox I took the advice of Intuitive Counsellor Jules Williams and booked in for a week on a Vital Detox Retreat. Set in the Idyllic West Wales countryside close to Cardigan, the venue is truly outstanding. The award winning accommodation consists of a collection of luxuriously renovated cottages that seamlessly blend opulence and cosiness. For those who fear that travelling beyond the M25 means a journey into the Jurassic era, worry not; technology has reached the Principality. Whilst the setting is rural there are no shortage of unobtrusive iPod docking stations, TV channels and a very extensive DVD library. For the more gregarious souls there are many opportunities to socialise but for those who wish for a complete escape from the hustle and bustle a degree of solitude is also easily achievable. The very location and atmosphere oozes tranquillity and well-being and that alone makes the journey worthwhile.
Whilst the centre is equipped with all the trappings of a luxury spa-indoor pool, hot tub, therapy rooms, sauna, gym, games rooms, guided walks to name a few-do not be fooled into thinking that this is your typical health spa experience that involves a week of healthy eating minus the caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods. This is a health super cleanse on the deepest level and requires no small amount of commitment.
At its core is a week-long fast and with daily colonics. Yes, that is correct. A week without food! OK, to be strictly accurate, this is a juice fasting week with a daily intake of juiced organic, cold pressed apples and vegetables fortified with herbal supplements and evening vegetable mineral broths. The intake is tailored to each individual client and each three hourly juice session is overseen by the centre’s highly experienced nutritionist, herbalist and hydrotherapist.
Why fasting you may ask? Surely this is too extreme and a week of healthy eating would suffice. Not according to Anna Tolson the founder of the Detox Retreats. Anna, also an accredited Journey Therapist, has spent most of her life researching the health and well-being aspects of the human condition. Her experience made her aware that we never truly rest the body’s digestive system and associated organs. She elaborates further;
“When you stop eating your body has a chance to put all available energy into cleansing; energy that is usually spent digesting and assimilating food. As soon as you start your fast your body will take the opportunity to clean out toxins that have accumulated in the cells and organs of your body. Toxins are stored in the body, not just from food and drink, but also as a result of taking prescription and recreational drugs, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Also, the use of cleaning products and cosmetics, exposure to environmental pollutants and suppressed emotions can contribute to ill health. Prolonged stress can leave the body adrenally exhausted which, in turn, affects the whole hormonal balance of the body.”
This can lead a wide variety of familiar problems including: Excess weight ,Menstrual imbalances, Indigestion, Constipation, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Allergic reactions, Back pain, Arthritis & Joint pain, Flatulence, bloating and cramping, IBS, Difficult take up of nutrients, Chronic Fatigue, High blood pressure, Acid reflux, Candida, Poor circulation, Skin problems, including eczema and psoriasis, Nervousness, Adrenal exhaustion, Fibromyalgia and even fertility.
“By giving your body the chance to release a lifetime of toxic waste you will feel lighter, brighter, clearer – rather like the way you did when you were a teenager – but without the angst and acne! Detoxing gives each cell a chance to cleanse itself so it has an opportunity to regenerate healthily. As some of those cells are skin cells you’re also going to look fantastic. You will obviously also lose weight during the week but more than that you will have enhanced your quality of life and lessoned the chances of developing ill health in the future.”
To aid this release of toxic waste there are daily colonic irrigations. The premise behind this is based on the fact that whilst we’re all aware of the need to clean the exterior of the body not many of us bother with the interior. The internal build-up of faecal matter of many years can lead to autointoxication, literally being poisoned by one’s own wastes. In Russia and Israel a colonic is frequently an automatic initial hospital treatment as their medical experts believe that a body congested with toxins does not respond to medical treatment as rapidly as a cleansed body.
Supporting the daily ritual of juice, broth and colonics are a variety of activities. Regular health talks from each of the centre’s practitioners add to the clients’ awareness of nutrition and health issues. Daily gentle yoga and meditation classes enhance the sense of well-being along with a superb variety of highly rated massage treatments and natural beauty therapies.
Well, so much for the hard sell, but did it actually work?
This was a profound experience and one that I wholeheartedly endorse. I could easily run out of superlatives to describe the benefits of this experience. The staff were unbelievable supportive and knowledgeable and created an atmosphere of complete trust. I learnt so much about food and herbs from the seemingly nutritionally omniscient Fiona that my head is still spinning. A great deal of it I am still trying to incorporate into my daily schedule. However, I plan to ensure that I utilise this approach to eating for the rest of my life.
Yes, I was hungry. Very hungry. Most of my free time was spent contemplating twin fantasises about favourite meals and exactly which medieval torture implement I was going to insert into Jules Williams the next time I saw him. That aspect required considerable commitment. But I can honestly say that the results were astonishing. Physically, I had lost 9lbs of weight and my skin looked particularly revitalised. Most noticeably the almost permanent dark circles under my eyes had completely disappeared. Somewhat counter-intuitively I felt energised. A rather surprising conclusion from a week spent denying myself solid foods. I really did feel that many of my body’s systems had been rested and genuinely cleansed.
I felt purified like never before and a heightened sense of inner peace pervaded my being. There seemed to be a clear connection between some of the physical processes taking place and some of the emotional releases that occurred. On an emotional level this was as deep a journey as I undertaken in a long time.
Perhaps I should not have been so surprised by this. After all although the notion of fasting is rather unfamiliar to many in today’s culture of TV dinners and 24 hour supermarkets, the concept is, however, pan-cultural. Christians are presently coming to the end of Lent, Muslims will be conscious of the approach of Ramadan and many other cultures and religions include an element of fasting in their rituals as part of their quest to heighten their connection with the divine.
If this spiritual dimension seems a little esoteric for you, don’t worry. The science behind it is proven and the post-fast sense physical and mental well-being is highly tangible.
This wonderful week was concluded with a sumptuous raw food feast. I had never realised before how delicious healthy food could be. When concluding a fasting week it is important to return to traditional eating habits slowly and to this end ample food was provided as snacks to ease us through the next couple of days. It also helped quell the urge to pillage the nearest motorway services Burger King in an act of post-fast gluttony.
In conclusion this was a near perfect cathartic experience and one that I totally recommend to anyone who is serious about their health.
Anna sums up the benefits of the week perfectly.
“When you allow your body to rest, cleanse and rejuvenate you are giving yourself the ultimate gift of health and happiness. It’s the most effective investment you can make.” '
This testimony was originally published in Macs Magazine London http://magazine.macs-salon.co.uk/2012/04/detox-retreats-look-good-feel-better/
Vital Detox offer a safe, friendly environment in which to cleanse your body and mind. When you allow your body to rest, cleanse and rejuvenate you are giving yourself the ultimate gift of health and happiness. It's the most effective investment you can make. This detox retreat is a fun, informative, luxurious weight loss spa holiday in stunning Welsh countryside. You will go home looking amazing, feeling energised and completely re-charged.
Vital Detox Retreats are held in Autumn and Winter in Wales. Retreats are also held in Glastonbury during the Summer and Spring, by the same team and with the same format. The Glastonbury retreats are DetoxPlus retreats. Please see http://www.detoxplus.org for more details. The next retreat is the 13th April 2012 in Glastonbury please contact 01373 467668 or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org