It has been on the radar for a while but I was finally flying out to Switzerland for a week at the Swiss Mountain Clinic. A quick flight to Milan and then a lovely 90 minute drive up into the Swiss Mountains via Lakes Como and Lugano to the pretty little village of Castaneda perched on the hillside at 780 metres. I am not going to lie I was a little nervous what was instore? I was expecting snow but was greeted with gorgeous sunshine which instantly lifted the spirits and hung around all week which was a real joy.
The clinic specializes in Biological medicine which some might call Functional or Holistic medicine. It is the approach I have been following where you don’t just look at the symptoms you look at the whole body in an attempt to manage my MS. Relaxation is a key part to the healing process and the beautiful peaceful setting offered that. The rooms are simple but comfortable with stunning views (early morning below) and a nice balcony which offered the chance to have a cup of herbal tea in the sun.
I am a great believer in managing expectations and I knew that I was not going to be healed in a week but was hoping for some new guidance under Dr Petra Weichel. They put a lot of emphasis on testing so the first few days meant multiple tests (stool, blood, urine, heavy metal analysis, dental panoramic x-ray, vital point diagnostic, and analysis of the vegetative nervous system). They see disease as not a rigid state but a dynamic process and only develops when the body is overwhelmed with stress. Petra likens it to a barrel filling up with water and the final drop of stress on the body can tip you into the diseases state.
One of the tests they do is darkfield microscopy where they exam the living blood under a microscope and look at the cells shape (they should be circles mine were a bit wonky!) and this identifies bacterial and parasitic stress in the liver. The clinic places a lot of value on the health of the liver as it is one of the key detoxifying organs so lots of people here are on a liver detox.
I settled into the slow pace of life here with tests and treatments every day. The kitchen is seen as part of the pharmacy so all the food is delicious – gluten free, low/no sugar, low carb, organic and mainly dairy free which suits me down to the ground. I have had the best gluten free bread here which I have stolen the recipe for back home. Meal times are a chance to meet fellow patients, share stories and experiences and give each other some love and encouragement. I made pals with Linda and Peggy (back right) who is accompanying her from the US. Linda is here for late stage cancer and was given only 5 weeks to live in December. She has brightened up over the week I was there so I am routing for her to get stronger. Kristina is from Croatia (front right) and has cancer. Ryan (back left) is from Ottawa and is on is 3rd visit and a dad of 5 kids and leads a very impressive life traveling with the family 8 months of the year whilst home schooling the kids and running a publishing business. It is a global clinic where they have received patients from over 60 countries. They call me Herr Hanmer which I rather like and as the only Brit here I am trying to keep them on their toes.
The place has a real family feel and all the staff seems to care about your wellbeing and go the extra mile in making everyone feel comfortable. My week’s treatments included two coffee enemas, a colonic, 3 lots of infusions (vitamins, detox, cell regeneration) and ozone therapy where they take 150 ml blood out mix it with Ozone and put it back in. I have also had Matrix Regeneration therapy twice where they apply a current to your body and do cupping on your back; it is supposed to help with circulation. Vital wave therapy is a little bizarre where you are wrapped up like a mummy in bandages and they apply a light electrical current through your limbs, it’s a bit weird but very relaxing. Also some work on my liver which is apparently overloaded, surely not after 20 years of heavy drinking! They do this liver hyperthermia where they put a cold patch on the liver and massage it as well as doing a couple of hot wraps.
The time in between the therapies allowed me to keep on top of work emails. Fran has got me into meditating so I now start my day with a meditation. In the afternoon I took a 90 minute hike up to Santa Maria further up the mountain with Linda or Ryan. I am not so good on slopes but manage well with some hiking poles.
Before dinner I have been having a stretch in the gym and also fitting in an infrared sauna. The clinic is a mobile free zone except for one room which has Wi-Fi. For some I know it is a bit conspiracy theory but I have been reading more about mobiles & Wi-Fi not being so good for our health. You don’t want to get people started here on the health perils of 5G! We have embraced this at home and now with a EMF blocker and switch our Wi-Fi off at night and I will be keeping my iPhone on airplane mode from now on.
Friday we did a short trip with Ryan and Peggy to Belinzona (below) which is the nearest large town. The clinic is very German but everyone outside greets you with Bonjourno and it feels Italian. We explored one of their 3 castles and had a wander round the town centre. It was nice to get out of the clinic I was going a little stir crazy.
I was pleased to find out I can carry on under Dr Weichel’s care when I go home which is great. As they don’t have all the tests results I have a follow up call with her in 4 weeks and then we can put together a proper plan. Petra take on my MS is I had a genetic pre disposition to MS and adheres to the idea that your genes load the gun and your environment pulls the trigger. Giving the water barrel anology some of the major players in tipping me over the edge was 2 long courses of antibiotics, some heavy stressful episodes. The new things I learnt is she is not a fan of all my travel (!) as you pick up parasites in your gut and airplanes expose you to lots of toxins. Also some of the major vaccinations I had for travel like yellow fever, rabies and hep B have caused more imbalances in the body. My final meeting we agree to wait for all the lab results from Germany but it looks like we will set a protocol to properly heal my gut. Then when I am ready try and look at the Coimbra vitamin D protocol again she thinks the problem was the vit D was not converting properly. I originally was set on coming for 2- 3 weeks but I am glad I did a week. This way I can stay under her care from London and give her protocol a chance and then come back again if it is working.
I had mentioned before that my tooth implant was giving me ever more grief every waking moment it is a numb pain which I think is linked to my eye aching. She suggested a test to see if I am allergic to titanium which is what the implant is made of. However, I declined it as for me I know it has to come out and be replaced by a bridge which I hope will give me some relief from this constant annoyance. We shall see.
This week has perked me up again and I am ready to go and hope to get better. If you are like me you will be interested to know what it cost. Well staying there I think is quite reasonable £185 a night full board with 3 amazing meals a day. The treatments and tests they did at the clinic was £2,500, the external testing they send off to Germany £500 and some pills to take home £110 so all in with flights £4,700. Not cheap for sure but for me was well worth it. I want to say another huge thank you to everyone who donated to the Believe in Adam campaign and particularly Kathryn, Steve and Maggi for pushing me to do it. Video thank you click here. It has given me an amazing opportunity to try and this and for me was definitely worth it. You have all played a really important part in my healing process and I will be forever grateful for that. The real proof in the pudding will be in 6 months to see if I am feeling better. It is small but I do feel my numb feet have woken up a little this week so that is a good sign and offers me hope that this is the right path.
On the home front we had a lovely Christmas with my folks in Norfolk and New Years with Em and Ed in Bath. The girls did their first ever gymnastics competition and I was so proud of them cleaning up walking away with 2 golds (Isla and Hons) and a silver (Diddy who has only been going for a year). Don’t mess with Team Hanmer!