Switzerland is home to some of the most revered luxury spa and health retreats in the world; so what’s the winning formula?
“Visitors see Switzerland as the Rolls-Royce of health, anti-ageing and wellbeing,” says Dr Michel Pfulg, chief of Laclinic in Montreux.
It might have something to do with the country’s holistic approach to health and beauty, combined with state-of-the-art medical equipment and highly trained healthcare professionals.
Medi-spa clinics, such as the world-renowned La Prairie clinic in Montreux, boast traditional medical treatments, including scans, X-rays and conventional surgical procedures, alongside groundbreaking longevity treatments, like their famous CLP extract (the liver cells of unborn sheep – to be drunk), advocated by the Swiss as a tonic for a failing immune system.
Then there’s the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz medical spa, just an hour from Zurich, run with razor-sharp Swiss efficiency. A team of 70 full-time medical staff and 30 wellbeing specialists conduct numerous pathology-seeking technologies, including MRI scans and vascular ultrasounds, as well as cosmetic surgery, rheumatology and sports medicine.
But for the less clinically minded, there’s the resort’s Tamina Therme, which draws water from a nearby gorge. Like most Swiss medi-spas, it offers a dizzying array of hydromassage therapies, including the highly recommended spinal column therapy or, for the mystically inclined, the 5,000-year-old Tibetan singing bowl massage.
Visitors see Switzerland as the Rolls-Royce of health, anti-ageing and wellbeing
Swiss skincare expert Karin Herzog says: “It is in the nature of the Swiss to expect only the best. They take time to perfect products and treatments; they are meticulousness in their attention to detail – this is the core of the Swiss mentality”
Treating mind and body as one is the Swiss way. Experts recognise that optimising one will benefit the other and the overall effect will be rejuvenating.
Clients are willing to travel from far and wide to experience the latest anti-ageing innovations. The injection of sheep’s placenta, for instance, is (though it sounds slightly bizarre) a popular choice, renowned for its ability to lift and tighten the skin around the eyes.
Swiss medical and aesthetic dermatology experts will also treat a wide range of skin problems using non-surgical methods, including peelings and injections.
Laclinic in Montreux, for example, pride themselves on moving away from surgical cosmetic procedures to less-invasive treatments, such as using lasers, injections, fillers and peelings.
Lausanne-based Clinic Lémanic favours mesotherapy, an ancient technique used in China, India and Egypt for more than 5,000, comprising of various injections of active molecules into the skin to improve tone.
Weight reduction therapies are popular and holistic in their approach. Whirlpool therapies, using crystalline spring and mountain waters, knead and draw out toxins, to say nothing of stress. Cellulite-diminishing seaweed and mud wraps are also popular.
But for a full detox, those in the know head to Le Mirador Kempinski at Mont-Pèlerin. The experts there promise to boost your metabolism just by tweaking your diet, to sort out your emotional balance by doing work on your nervous system and to optimise your health by prescribing supplements.
Many medical spas offer counselling and rehabilitation services. And the serenity of the Swiss countryside is healing for those recovering from addiction, depression and other mental afflictions.
Perhaps the biggest attraction is the country itself. Recovery is a vital component in any treatment, and the Swiss mountains, green hillsides and azure lakes are the perfect backdrop. Add to this the pure, cool Swiss air, along with discreet and attentive care of spa staff, and it’s no wonder that Switzerland has perfected a medical spa model and a post-treatment recovery environment unparalleled in the world.
No surprise, therefore, that the country’s health and wellness industry is frequented by an elite crowd of loyal fans, including stressed-out politicians, fazed fashion impresarios and anxious A-listers. You’ll find them in a serene state of Zen in celebrity spa hangouts, such as Le Mirador Kempinski.