It’s a bit of an inside joke in our industry that when we interview celebrities and ask how to detox or what their wellness secrets are, we already know, nine times out of 10, what the answer will be: to either "drink more water" (better yet, with lemon!) or "get more sleep." It’s like they’re hiding something (we’re only half kidding). Wellness warrior Gwyneth Paltrow is, of course, exempt from this since she has a whole website devoted to a healthy lifestyle in the shape of Goop.
The thing is we know that a high proportion of celebrities head to exclusive and world-renowned detox spas in their downtime from filming or touring, and these places are hardcore. The thing is the A-listers we interview most probably embrace these weird and wonderful detox techniques to reset their body once or twice a year, so in their own time all they really need to do is move more, rest more, and drink more water to reap the benefits all year round. Now we don’t all have the A-list paychecks to allows us to splurge on a retreat for an annual tune-up, which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find out what treatments and tricks the world’s most exclusive retreats offer. Keep scrolling to find out how the A-list really detoxes.
Drink Mineral-Spiked Water
Viva Mayr, the world-famous Austrian detox centre, has celebrity (rumour has it Karlie Kloss) and influencer (Lisa Eldridge) fans. Unsurprisingly coffee is off the menu; instead visitors are treated to a large glass of salty water first thing (the clinic resides near a salt mine and mineral-rich spring). The idea is that the natural salts work their way through your digestive system drawing out impurities as they go. Okay, we're not recommending you start drinking salt water, but our body needs trace minerals like magnesium and potassium to function (and the benefits of salt therapy are very well-researched, FWIW). If you're feeling sluggish (in the digestive region), or if you're exercising a lot, magnesium- and potassium-rich drops added to water can support your metabolism, prevent water retention and bloating, help you unwind, and keep your heart healthy. Try ConcenTrace Trace Minerals Drops ($25).
Interestingly, water is banned 20 minutes before and during mealtimes, according to nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson, who has frequented Viva Mayr. "The theory being that undiluted stomach acid breaks down food more efficiently," she explains.
Chew Like It's Going Out of Fashion
Another Viva Mayr trick is that it ensures all visitors chew their food well. Chewing your food 40 times (yep, you read that right) activates the enzyme amylase, which helps your gut digest and draws out the nutrients it needs more effectively. If chewing that much sounds laborious, pop a digestive enzyme supplement before your meals.
Eldridge also notes, in her review of Viva Mayr's newest outpost, Altaussee, "[They] reduce your portion sizes as the day goes on (breakfast like a king, dinner like a pauper) with 'no raw after 4' (as salads and other raw foods can be difficult for your stomach to digest at this time)."
Eat Wholesome Foods
At The Ashram, in Calabasas, California (home to the Kardashians), where Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey have stayed, the food is all organic and the meals are all vegetarian. In fact, most of the vegetables are grown onsite, so they are pesticide-free and nutrient-rich. The stay involves a 1000-calorie meal plan that just about fuels the 16-mile hikes and twice-daily yoga.
When we are stressed, our body goes into fight-or-flight mode, which is the opposite of where we want it to be, which is in rest-and-digest mode. At the SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain (celeb fans include Kylie Minogue and Naomi Campbell), breathing right is key. On the clinic's online magazine, it recommends to everyone who's feeling stressed or trying to wind down, "Take a deep breath in for 6 seconds followed by an exhalation of 6 seconds. Do this several times until you feel that you have you’re breathing under control and you’ve calmed down."
Need a visual cue? Check out this clever GIF that definitely helped us out a few times in 2016…
Switch Your Morning Brew to This
Much like at Viva Mayr, the Sha Wellness Clinic doesn't allow a morning brew. No coffee, no tea, no fun? Well, not quite. While the Sha suggests starting the day with a warm lemon water, which it says, "starts detoxing your body from toxins first thing in the morning, will get your metabolism going, strengthen your immune system, hydrate your organism and give you that energy kick you need to get your day started." Sha also knows it's not that exciting. It suggests lacing water with fresh grated ginger, turmeric, black pepper and a drop of a healthy oil of your choice. "Turmeric is fat-soluble, meaning the body requires a fat to absorb its vitamins. Black pepper increases the bioavailability of the turmeric, making it far more beneficial," writes the team in their Sha Magazine.
Not a fan of tea? If you want a hot milky drink to replace your beloved coffee (okay, nothing can replace coffee, but you get the idea), then try a creamy turmeric latte instead. Queen P (Gwyneth, of course) has a recipe on Goop for a delicious-looking ginger turmeric latte.
Take a Holistic Approach
Over in Thailand is the renowned Chiva Som, where Kate Moss and the Beckhams have been known to unwind. Holistic treatments are key to restoring wellness in their visitors, and you don't need to be on a Thai beach to reap the rewards. Why not check out the Chiva Som holistic treatment list and find a similar offering nearby? The Treatwell app helps you discover treatments in your area.
Do a Digital Detox
There is a key similarity between most of these hardcore detox retreats: They all encourage (and sometimes just downright enforce) a digital detox. At The Body Camp in Ibiza, where Millie Mackintosh goes in the summer, the team has a phone box. Nutritionist Sarah Macklin told us, "Every meal time, all phones had to be placed firmly in a box on the table, encouraging everyone to engage in conversation. There is nothing more frustrating whilst having dinner for someone to be on the phone. We focused much more on what we were eating and how much, as well as connecting with each other."
Find Your Dosha (and Live By It)
The Ananda Spa Hotel is so famous it has its own Wikipedia page. Located in the Himalayas, it has played host to stars like Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, and Oprah Winfrey (she loves a spa retreat). Here the philosophy is based on Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
The Ananda's Ayurvedic physician, Adarsh Shetty, told wellbeingescapes.com, "The major difference between Ayurveda and conventional medicine lies in the treatment method—while most modern medical treatments operate at the symptomatic level, Ayurvedic treatments work at much deeper causative levels. By balancing the doshas (primary life-forces within the body), the root cause of the problem is solved."
Discover your dosha with this quiz, and learn more about the types of food, exercise, and hobbies you should embrace and avoid.
Visit a New-Gen Sauna
Heading over to St. Lucia now and The BodyHoliday (where former Spice Girl Emma Bunton has stayed). Here the spa offers infrared saunas as part of the package. The reason? It states that "by letting your body absorb infrared rays, this treatment will elevate internal body temperature increase blood circulation, improve joint mobility and boost your immune system. You will feel deeply relaxed during this 20-minute session."
This post was originally published on Byrdie UK.