Review: Amchara Detox Retreat in Gozo, Malta

amchara spa malta juice detox review

In August I visited Amchara Detox Retreat on Malta’s sister island, Gozo for a review in Health & Fitness magazine. I stayed for five sunny days, three of which I spent on a juice detox and two were spent on a raw food diet. After a summer of festivals, holidays and fun it was a welcome break but the no-food-only-juice days were a shock to the system, mainly mentally because I hate going hungry! But after day two I started to settle into the process and after a few treatments a more positive feeling took over. Amchara is a laid-back, down to earth, nurturing and the people (staff and guests) really make the stay extra special. If you’re a first-timer to detoxing or fancy a relaxed retreat this is a great place to start. Here are the highlights with snapshots of my stay…

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About Amchara Detox Retreat

Guests come to detox and fast at Amchara for a variety of reasons: to inspire a healthier lifestyle; learn about detoxing and nutrition; lose or manage weight; address health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome; or simply to rest and recharge. The Amchara team includes naturopaths, a colonic therapist, a health director, a raw food chef, massage therapists and a yoga and fitness instructor – all are invaluable at guiding and inspiring guests through the process, and always on hand for advice.

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The juice detox programme

An initial health screening with the naturopath identifies which of the two programmes you should choose: a classic juice fast aimed to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes or a raw food diet. I chose a three-day juice fast and two days of raw food. Based on the philosophy of functional health, Amchara aims to tackle the underlying cause of health conditions, not just the symptoms. Your relationship with food as well as your lifestyle, genetics and environment are all considered. You can stay from three days to a month or more and there are no fixed start dates.

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A typical day at Amchara

The vibe here is relaxed and laid back. Juices and superfood shots are delivered with nameplates daily at 9am, midday and 3pm, with an evening broth at 6:30pm. The juices are based on a mixture of beetroot, cucumber, fennel, courgette, apple, carrot, celery, ginger and lemon to support your digestion, cleanse the liver and feed your body with essential nutrients and vitamins.

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The shots of nutritional super supplements can include chlorella, wheatgrass, spirulina, turmeric, maca and bitter aloe, selected by the naturopaths to suit your health needs. Headaches, fatigue or nausea can be experienced before you feel better – I felt grumpy, hungry and had headaches on the first day, but this cleared by the end of day two. To stave off hunger, we had unlimited herbal teas and psyllium husks with water– as well as lemon and Himalayan salt with water to aid hydration and the detox.

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Gentle activities such as yoga, Pilates, a walk, a health talk or aqua aerobics punctuate the days but there’s no pressure to join in. The mellow evening activities might involve a local guest such as a Tibetan sound healer or a group sunset walk. Bikes are available for a coastal ride or you can go for a gentle jog. Other activities include visiting the local town, Victoria or going to Comino island.
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The treatments

An important part of the detox process at Amchara is intestinal cleansing, so colonic hydrotherapy and enemas are encouraged. Sally Jobes, a registered colon hydrotherapist, is a wealth of information. I chose an enema (once with water and once with coffee, which stimulates liver detoxification) and felt brighter with a burst of energy after. You can also have massages, facials, lymphatic drainage and food intolerance tests. All treatments cost extra. I also had a health mentoring session with health director Kirstie Chisholm (€180 for 90 minutes). After discussing daily nutrition, emotional concerns, stress management and work-life balance, I walked away with a manageable plan.

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The rooms

With only 26 apartments at the retreat, you can enjoy a peaceful atmosphere but still be sociable. Each apartment has air con, a spacious double bedroom, living area, fully equipped kitchen, bathroom and a balcony or veranda overlooking the central pool.

 

In a nutshell, is Amchara for you?

If you’re looking for a relaxed and gentle detox experience, Amchara is perfect. There are no bootcamp vibes and ideal for first time detoxers. If you’ve had enough of the juice cleanse you can go onto the raw food programme, no quibbles. I left feeling mentally and physically revived. There is also Amchara Somerset for those looking for a UK detox.

Visit: amchara.com for prices and more info

 

Best retreats for diet, detox, health, wellbeing, fitness and therapy

Psychologies March issue retreats

Read my piece in this month’s issue of Psychologies magazine on the best retreats around the UK and Europe for health, fitness, diet and general wellbeing.

It features the fabulous Surfing is Therapy, FitFarms, Successful Relationships and NuBeginnings. If you’ve been on a particularly good retreat let me know – would love to hear about it!

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The next big thing in beauty: Vitamin Infusions

Nosh Detox Vitamin Infusion

Yesterday morning I discovered one of the biggest secrets to sparkling celebrity skin and it certainly wasn’t from a £1000 pot of promises. I was taped to a drip in a plush address off Harley Street in London, with thousands of milligrams of pure vitamins pumped into my blood intravenously. This was a Nosh Detox Vitamin Infusion and it’s far better than it looks or sounds, I promise, so stick with me!

I guarantee Vitamin Infusions are set to be the next big health and beauty treatment to hit the mainstream. Forget creams, forget supplements and don’t even bother with regular smoothies from the supermarket. What the celebs have been booking before red carpet appearances is a course of vitamin infusions.

What’s a Vitamin Infusion? It’s when vital nutrients are administered directly into the body (by a nurse), bypassing  the digestive system. Vitamins supplements taken orally are usually rendered useless due to ineffective absorption in the gut – I’ve heard the body can only absorb around 40% maximum of a supplement pill anyway which doesn’t sound like very much. Through IV nutrition you literally absorb 100% of the minerals and vitamins right before your eyes – that whole bottle of liquid you see in the picture above was gone within 30 mins.

What’s it for? Great skin, great health, energy, vitality. Even if your diet is great and you feel relatively healthy, you may not be at optimum health. You might feel tired or run down, have dry or dull skin or be getting ill regularly. Having a massive infusion of vitamins not only boosts the body back to health (especially after a spell of illness) but can also be great as a form of health maintenance . The PR girls who’d had the treatment a few days earlier looked incredibly well with enviously great skin so I was sold just by looking at them.

How do I feel now? I felt great after I had it and while I didn’t notice any instant glow on my skin, I did feel absolutely full of beans until the early hours. I definitely couldn’t sleep and woke up super easily the next day. I’ve heard the red carpet crew have these infusions regularly – either a short course before a big event, to get back on track after a period of stress or top-ups ever fortnight, month or even week.

But it doesn’t come cheap. Let’s just say you have to be comfortable with money. The infusion I had was Fit-Amin for immune and energy boost and cost a few hundred pounds. It contained: 2000 mg vitamin C, all the Bs, magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium and several other vital nutrients.

Is this just another fad or is it the future of health and wellbeing? I say future, and most definitely one for health and beauty geeks like me…