Detox retreats are becoming increasingly popular among wellness seekers, however they can be an intimidating prospect for the uninitiated. With a list of treatments as long as your arm, and high-tech tests you’ve never heard of before, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, detox retreats can have significant physical and mental benefits to your health, and are an excellent option for anyone who’d like guidance on making a lifestyle change or counteracting the effects of unhealthy habits.
Our marketing and communications executive Sophie recently completed the detoxifying retreat at Lucia Magnani Health Clinic in Italy, and explains exactly what to expect from the experience.
How to prepare for a detox retreat?
Although these retreats seem complex and intensive, very little preparation is required. It’s enough to turn up with an open mind, ready to embrace the suggested diet, treatment and exercise plans which the clinic’s experts put together.
If you do wish to do some preparation, you can cut down on sugar, alcohol, and caffeine in the two weeks before your arrival to ease your body into the detox process. Like all detox retreats, Lucia Magnani implements a personalised detoxifying diet which is likely to be dramatically different to your usual eating habits, but these simple adjustments will mean these changes aren’t as much of a shock to your body.
You may also wish to conduct a pre-travel health screening to better understand your wellness needs prior to the retreat. You can learn more about Health Travel’s pre-departure health screenings in collaboration with PAAR here.
What happens when you arrive at a detox retreat?
The detox retreat starts with a series of medical consultations, tests, and scans to detect any issues and personalise your stay. This was the part I was most apprehensive about. I had no idea what to expect from things like ‘bio-electrical impedance analysis’ or ‘oxidative stress blood test’ but I needn’t have worried. The staff are ready to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process, and were very comforting and patient when I explained I was nervous around needles.
Each consultation covers a different area of your health, from nutrition and general health, to posture and physical activity. Each specialist will listen to any concerns you have, highlight any issues or areas for improvement, and work with you to form a plan of action for your stay.
Every day, you receive a printed schedule which details which treatments, personal training sessions, and consultations you’ll have, showing when and where you need to go, with spare time to explore and relax.
What kind of treatments are in a detox retreat?
It may be a detox retreat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relax! Spa treatments are scheduled into your itinerary – I had one massage and one facial treatment per day, each one helping me feel relaxed and cleansed on the outside to match the detoxification happening internally. All the treatment rooms are beautifully decorated, creating a calming and luxurious environment for the body scrubs, mud masks and massages which follow.
As well as being relaxing, the treatments also contribute to your detox transformation, with toning massages and anti-cellulite treatments to firm the body, and a facial cleanse which left my skin clear and glowing. You also have full access to Lucia Magnani’s spa, which has a mineral-rich thermal water pool, Finnish sauna, and Roman and Turkish baths.
What’s the food like on a detox retreat?
Knowing my usual diet is not the healthiest, the food and nutrition was one of the parts I was most worried about going in to the detox. I wasn’t sure how I’d function without my daily chocolate fix and feared four days of sad, bland salads, but I was pleasantly surprised by the reality. Italy is, of course, famed for its gastronomic culture, and cheese, cold cuts, olive oil, and even pasta and espresso were still on the menu (albeit in small amounts).
Guests get three meals and two snacks per day, with a range of choice each time, and vibrant fruit and vegetable juices providing an extra hit of vitamins. I was given a daily menu and asked to select a fiber, protein, and carbohydrate course for lunch and dinner according to my prescribed nutrition plan, allowing me to choose the dishes that most appealed to me. Fresh, colourful vegetable dishes made up the bulk of each meal, all cooked and presented beautifully, followed by small portions of lean meat or fish, and delicious pasta dishes.
How will I feel after a detox retreat?
The first few days of a detox retreat are spent allowing your body to adjust, which may be a tough transition for some as alcohol, caffeine, and sugar withdrawal kicks in. Headaches and hunger are the most common symptoms, but these soon fade as your body adapts to the healthy lifestyle and are replaced by the positive side effects of your treatment.
By the end of my retreat, I felt lighter and less bloated. My postural assessment had taught me how to stand up straight, increasing my confidence, and my body felt relaxed and pain free after all the massages, spa time, and aquagym. I’d lost weight, and my skin was the clearest it has been in months. I was surprised at the impact the detox had had in just a few days, and I learned so much about my body and my overall state of health. Lucia Magnani’s teams gave me a take-home diet and exercise plan to follow upon my return in order to continue a healthier lifestyle, and I’ve learned some valuable knowledge about how to take better care of my body and give it what it needs.
Key Detox Retreat Terminology
Free radicals: a type of unstable molecule made in the body, either during normal cell metabolism, or caused by external factors such as smoking, pollution, or chemicals. A build up of free radicals can cause damage to other parts of the body, such as DNA and proteins, leading to increased risk of certain diseases.
Oxidative stress: caused by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant levels in the body. Antioxidants are important to balance the number of free radicals and prevent oxidative stress, which can lead to greater risk of illness.
Bio-electrical impedance analysis: this measures your body composition through the rate at which an electrical current travels through your body. You don’t feel anything during the process, but it can give a good estimate of body fat and muscle mass.
Toxins: naturally occurring organic poisons in the body, they can come from both plants and animals, as well as chemicals and metals. External factors such as contaminated drinking water, exhaust fumes and pollution, or chemicals can lead to higher levels of toxins in the body.
Metabolism: all the physical or chemical processes in the body, such as breathing, growing, and managing hormone levels, that take place as your body converts food into energy, helping to maintain the living cells.
Echocardiogram: a type of ultrasound, showing the heart and surrounding blood vessels, used to diagnose heart problems.
Echo-doppler of the supra aortic trunks: shows the arteries that supply the brain.
Thyroid: a small gland in the neck which produces hormones that affect processes within the body.
If you are interested in a detox retreat, contact our wellness specialists through Whatsapp or our online enquiry form to begin planning your personalised experience.