Every year I spend time studying with Dr Stossier at Viva Mayr clinic in Austria. I am there mainly learning ‘the cure’, as it is known, based on the Mayr principles. Spending time resting the system and simplifying the diet allowing the body time to rejuvenate and increase energy to function optimally is a really worthwhile investment in your health. I am lucky enough to do this wonderful job supporting all you lovely people and it is a privilege and an honour. But as the old adage goes ‘physician, heal thyself’, and that is exactly what I do every year. I am a big believer that the best physicians are the ones who are able to take the medicine themselves and who practice what they preach. Most of what I advise patients to do, I have tried myself. I have spent 25 years trying all different sorts of medicine and learning how they work and which ones work best for which conditions or for which patient. It depresses me that others working in my field do not have the same due diligence, tending instead to form opinions because something does not fit with their original training. So instead of informing themselves and developing their knowledge they would rather criticise something either out of fear or prejudice. I like to look for the similarities and to highlight where one medicine is strong and where it is weak. No system of medicine is perfect; some of the old forms like Chinese medicine or Ayruvedic medicine are very strong in cultivating health and wellness. Western medicine is less strong in this department and is more focused on treating illness. There has been a great deal of criticism directed at unqualified ‘wellness warriors’ recently (some of which I agree with), but the only reason they exist and are so popular is because mainstream medicine (on the whole) fails to acknowledge that how we live and what we eat impacts on our health. So whereas I do not think Turmeric cures cancer, I do think that good food, good digestion and good lifestyle advice can make a huge difference to patients’ health and fertility. And I think it is scandalous that when patients ask “is there anything I can do to help myself?” they are so often told “no”. Here are some Viva Mayr Golden Rules... Rule 1: thou shalt drink water, lots of it, but at room temperature and not with food. Drinking water with food dilutes the digestive enzymes and weakens digestion. Rule 2: thou shalt spend time in nature. Walking in nature relaxes the body and mind and simplifies the thinking Rule 3: thou shalt drink warming herbal infusions (and not cold and dampening juices). Herbs have so many therapeutic benefits which help optimise and support normal body function. Fennel is anti-spasmodic so helps with bloating. Rosemary is stimulating and aids circulation. Chamomile is soothing and calming. So next time you are tempted to drink your food (in juice form) or eat it raw in its most indigestible state, remember that your digestion prefers warm cooked foods that are easy to digest. Especially relevant to those of us living in a cold damp climate. Rule 4: thou shalt chew your food 50 times. Poor old stomach does not have teeth so when you wolf your food down without chewing it you weaken your digestion and cause stagnation in the gut. If you eat slowly and mindfully you are also more aware of when you are full and tend not to over eat. Stop when you are full. While eating avoid discussing heavy subjects, reading or using technology; all of these things weaken digestion. Remember the gut and the brain work as one. Rule 5: thou shalt allow yourself to be unwell at times. Sometimes when we start to ‘get well’ we temporarily feel a whole lot worse. Allowing ourselves to be unwell, to rest and to stop holding it all together all the time is an act of self-healing and self-care. Holding on can be utterly exhausting and can drain our systems. Carrying on after childbirth and miscarriage and rushing to ‘get back to normal’ is misguided. Do not underestimate the rejuvenating abilities of rest and recuperation. Viva Mayr will be opening a clinic in the UK later this year. Find out about our Nutrition programme.