We tested the most popular fasting treatments in Europe

Well being – On the shores of Lake Constance in Germany, the Buchinger-Wilhelmi Clinic welcomes more than 6,000 patients every year. Extreme method or profitable break? We tell you about a week to revive.

Golden cabinets surround a vast library. The sun illuminates Uberlingen, a spa town in southwest Germany, with its last rays. But inside the Buchinger-Wilhelmi Clinic another spectacle takes place: the welcome cocktail for new arrivals. In our glass, one third herbal tea, one third fruit juice, one third water. The tone is set. A microphone is passed from hand to hand, each briefly introducing themselves and talking about their experience with fasting. “The method changed me”, “The doctors changed my life”, “I could never go back”…Faithful people seem great, we are confused. So where have we stepped? Our turn is coming. “Marine, 28 years old, sporty with a nice fork. This is my first time and I’m a little worried. “Welcome Marine”, they answer in unison. coming from New York, from Mumbai, Kinshasa, Geneva or Monaco, some for ten days, others for a month. but very few people come fasting for the first time, Their motivations are as diverse as their profiles: finding inspiration, gaining energy, treating inflammation, hypertension or diabetes, escaping excessive daily life… “Weight loss isn’t the only reason for staying with us. Extra pounds are a symptom of something wrong: insomnia, stress, or eating too much connected to emotions.Robin Mesnage, the clinic’s scientific director, explains.

a proven method

Yet fasting is strictly controlled.
Marine Sanclemente / Le Figaro

If patients travel around the world to stop eating, it is because this method has been proven for a century. In 1919, after Dr. Otto Buchinger was forced to leave his post in the Navy due to a severe bout of rheumatism, he endured a rigorous fast for three weeks. Faced with concrete results of the experiment, he devoted himself to the study of self-healing mechanisms to benefit more people. “When I spoke about fasting at medical conferences forty years ago, people said to me, ‘Great, but show me your statistics.’ It took us ten years to collect the data, harmonize it and publish the results of our research in prestigious journals. Today, we have this scientific credibility.”Welcomes the group’s director, François Wilhelmi de Toledo.

Yet fasting is strictly controlled. Just as we were about to get to the bottom of the matter after eating a Kinder Bueno from the culprit at Zurich airport, we learned that we would have to observe a day of digestive rest based on boiled vegetables, without salt or fat. Purpose: Reduce food intake to slow down the activity of organs without irritating the body. It is also time to undergo a full checkup and complete an extremely accurate health questionnaire to detect possible malfunctions or deficiencies.

Do not exceed 250 kcal per day

A thorough examination to detect possible defects or deficiencies.
Marine Sanclemente / Le Figaro

The next morning, we go to Nurse’s house to start the festivities. From now on, and for the next seven days, our body will consume only herbal teas and broths, not exceeding 250 kcal per day. Another mandatory passage at the beginning of your stay: absorption of castor oil or Glauber’s salts, sodium sulphate with laxative effect, to cleanse yourself from the inside. Forgot the glamour. During the next 36 hours, the sugar-deprived body will draw glycogen from the liver and muscles to trigger cellular cleanup mechanisms. If we survive the headaches and nausea, morale is at half mast and fatigue is rampant despite ten hours of sleep. The medical team responded immediately. Extra carrot juice as well as a cup of honey from which we lick till the last drop.

“In the Club Med version of integrative medicine, every hour has its own discipline.”

The fourth day marks the entry into a new era. Serotonin is at a peak, hunger is gone, energy is increased, our metabolism seems to have found its new way of working. The opportunity to explore some of the many activities offered: meditation, yoga, Pilates, creative workshops, hiking, excursions, healthy cooking classes, musical performances… each hour its own discipline in the Club Med version of integrative medicine Is. Many therapeutic treatments (physiotherapy, massage, coaching, etc.) are offered in parallel, as well as access to quality facilities (swimming pool heated to 28 degrees, sauna, state-of-the-art gym, etc.) and specialist conferences. To nourish the soul and spirit. Excessive work scares us to such an extent that we forget to finish the cup of honey.

At Buchinger it’s all about common sense

Many activities are offered: meditation, yoga, Pilates, creative workshops, hiking, excursions, healthy cooking classes, musical performances…
press photo

If we can imagine this solitary and introspective experience, our greatest surprise will be that it is a true collective adventure. Whether it’s “meal” time, taken in a large room overlooking the lake, or activities, the community proves to be an unparalleled support. The evenings drag on, fennel or verbena in glasses, we talk about enemas, bad breath and other digestive curiosities. , The importance of the group from arrival to return of food is fundamental, which should be taken as seriously as descentsays clinic director Leonard Wilhelmi. If migratory birds did not fly together they would be lost. »At Buchinger it’s all about common sense. Nature keeps fast, animals also. Our ancestors lived in a not very distant time. Nothing is more simple than this.

Ten days passed in the blink of an eye, it was time to go home. The new guys are sitting on the sofas in the library and starting presentations. We have been handed the microphone. “After ten days here, believe me, you will emerge transformed. , What happened ? Have we become so infatuated? It’s clear that the Buchinger is a bit like the Hotel California. a place where “You can pay your bill whenever you want, but you can never really leave.”

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