Sometimes it takes more than a few massages and a couple of colonics to sort out your health problems. Caroline Wilks discovers just that at the uber luxe Grayshott Spa
The first thing you should know about the Grayshott Spa health regime is that the primary goal to work towards is not about weight loss. This is something that appealed to me greatly, as I am not a person that needs to lose weight – in fact if anything I have often been told to gain weight by my GP. This may sound like an enviable position to be in for a lot of people, but the truth is that I have always known I had a greater problem, and one that felt previously unfixable. A ‘leaky gut’ is not something anyone wants to be diagnosed with and when a homeopath I recently saw was convinced that this was the root of all my problems I did feel a little despairing. But also relieved, at least I had possibly, finally found out what the cause of my tiredness, sluggishness and zero energy could be. However, after much research I couldn’t find anywhere in the UK (the clinics and programmes available were all abroad) that could potentially help me tackle and kick-start a much-needed entirely new diet regime. So it was with great delight that I heard about Grayshott’s newly launched seven day Health Regime – all based around the effectiveness of the gut and applying the mantra that ‘true health’ can only be achieved once the digestive system is finely tuned.
On arrival at the spa the first thing that struck me was how peaceful the 47 acres of grounds surrounding the stunning building – you can see why Alfred Lord Tennyson had formally made this his home. The journey was a quick hour’s zip down the motorway from London into leafy Surrey; a stress-free trip that was really appreciated and ensured I didn’t arrive stressed and strung out like the beginning of most of my short breaks away. Following the pre-arrival guidelines given to me by the spa, I hadn’t eaten any refined carbohydrates or sugar and had cut out all caffeine and alcohol, I have to admit that I already felt better and we hadn’t even begun. The regime is very structured and full of information, including educational lectures on nutrition that I found particularly insightful and useful. The personalised health consultations (with medical herbalists and nutritional therapists) make sure that you are following the programme correctly for your body, everyone’s needs are different and they very much take this onboard. They also make sure to incorporate spa therapy in the packages, including treatments such as abdominal massages (aimed to encourage healing of the gut), relaxing hydro-baths and even liver compresses to all aid the healing and regenerating of the body.
The food, of course, was key to the process and I found it to be quite different to what I would normally prepare for myself. Having rigidly stayed away from fats, and especially animal fats, for many years I was entirely surprised to hear that good oils and fats – for example lard, goose fat, duck fat and real butter are all absolutely essential to heal a leaky gut. This along with the normal ‘healthy’ choice of pulses, beans, superfoods, fruit and vegetables is the basis to most of their dishes, including chia muesli for breakfast, pumpkin soup or beetroot Gravalax for lunch and scallops with Cauliflower for dinner. There is however, within the seven days, compulsory fasting that takes place to allow your gut the maximum opportunity to heal and restore itself. As the portions themselves are very small (portion control is a big factor at Grayshott whether on the Health regime or not) these fasts can be quite difficult and testing, but there is always support around you – whether from the attentive staff or other fellow guests on the programme. In fact most of the clients that Grayshott take for this particular package are individuals so it is possible to make some great friends in the process too, the spa even encourage this, having a communal table in the dining room you can join should you so wish.
This is not a detox, cleanse or weight loss regime, it is a gut restoration programme which jointly strengthens the immune system. It is about eating for health, as opposed to striving for health and weight loss through deprivation and abstention – an ethos that I found very refreshing compared to so many ‘weight loss’ retreats and clinics currently swamping the overcrowded market . The experience was worth every penny and actually I think it is a very fair price for a retreat of its calibre, length and what the package includes. I came away with a strong desire to keep up the good work that the programme introduces you to. Although I am yet to feel the energy benefits, I can see that this regime is, for me, what is needed in the long term and hopefully with all the support, education and advice I have been given I will be able to sustain this lifestyle in order to regain the health and balance of my gut and in turn, my life.
Prices start from £1,495 per person for seven nights. This includes consultations, monitoring and support, lectures, meals, herbal tinctures, therapeutic treatments, gentle exercise programme and accommodation)
For more information visit: http://www.grayshottspa.com/grayshott-health/the-grayshott-programme