The Latest Trend in Wellness Tourism: Fasting Clinics | Kanebridge News
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The Latest Trend in Wellness Tourism: Fasting Clinics

Wed, Mar 22, 2023 9:47amGrey Clock 4 min

Guests at Lanserhof, a 35-year-old clinic less than five miles outside of the Austrian city of Innsbruck that attracts architects, entrepreneurs, financiers, and other well-heeled clientele, often leave hungry. The health retreat is known for its fasting program: a minimum of seven days consuming 650 calories per day, on average. The benefits include a gut bacteria reboot, cell and liver regeneration, and reduced inflammation. A 2019 study demonstrated patients with chronic conditions improved after fasting between four and 21 days.

Medically supervised fasting has long been popular at clinics in Germany and Austria, where spending a week focusing only on your health is not unusual. But the desire to combine a wellness holiday with science-based treatments is on the rise beyond European borders.

Wellness tourism is set to grow from US$436 billion to over US$1 trillion by 2025, according to a report by the Global Wellness Institute. A growing movement called biohacking is accelerating the trend, driven by consumers seeking healthier as well as longer lives.

Melanie Gatt has practiced cellular, also called mitochondrial medicine, at Lanserhof since 2018. She’s seen an increase in clients seeking to reduce inflammation and optimise performance.

“There’s greater demand for improving the immune system, cellular regeneration and longevity,” she says. “Cellular repair is one of the most important issues for this. In the last week, I received three emails from regular clients all interested in longevity treatments.”

James Stewart supervises an ice bath at Sand Valley Resort, Wisconsin.

Biohacking Goes Mainstream

Entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss has evangelised intermittent and longer-term fasting, dubbing it a “hack” to manage joint pain and other conditions. Ferriss and others, like Dutch wellness guru Wim Hof, have helped make biohacking mainstream.

Hof built a successful business and cult following globally with his two-pronged approach to combating wear and tear on the mind and body: mood-boosting ice baths and stress-reducing breath work requiring slow breathing.

Hundreds of certified Hof disciples around the world lead weekend and week-long retreats, including Chicago-based James Stewart. He started teaching Hof’s methods 10 years ago, and said one of the secrets to Hof’s success is his universal appeal to both men and women.

“The ice bath is a challenge,” Stewart says. “It’s a bit more robust and active, which makes it more appealing from a masculine point of view. And Wim Hof has made breathwork more palatable to people who might have been on the fence about it 10 years ago.”

A decade ago, Stewart says, he was the only person to brave the cold weather surrounding Lake Michigan for year-round dips. “Now, there are anywhere between 50 to 70 people who dip in winter. There’s something that grabs you physiologically; you’re getting that spike in epinephrine, norepinephrine, and you feel alive.”

Low-tech and high-tech treatments are being embraced by practitioners and consumers. In Los Angeles, Upgrade Labs bills itself as the first biohacking gym in the U.S., with an emphasis on specialized technology to assess cells and repair damage, along with a cryo chamber delivering cold immersion therapy with three-minute sessions in a sub-zero, temperature-controlled room or tank.

Lanserhof infusion room

A Physical and Mental Reset

At Lanserhof’s clinic, a window stretching the length of an entire wall faces snow-covered mountains in a state-of-the-art setting that feels more like a futuristic command center than a medical office. Doctors provide detailed analysis from a wide range of diagnostics.

A 24-hour heart rate variability monitor reveals how activities like working, resting and eating impact energy levels and sleep quality. Intermittent hypoxic training uses an oxygen mask to simulate mountain climbing to measure how cells adapt to reduced oxygen availability, the study of which won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2019.

Stimulated by oxygen regulation, cells reject and replace damaged ones with healthy, new cells. An endurance test, called spiroergometry, tracks a patient’s individual fat burning zones, versus sugars. The information illustrates what intensity levels are necessary, or not, for an efficient and effective workout. Results dictate treatments like vitamin infusions, and sports scientists devise training plans to achieve peak performance, as well as recovery.

Historically, patients at Lanserhof and other fasting clinics tended to be older; seeking to improve a heart condition or rheumatic pain, but in the last 10 years, the average age of clientele has dropped from 55 to 47 years old.

Now, Gatt says, guests frequently visit as a physical and mental reset. “Some guests want to optimise their endurance, and some have reduced energy after experiencing infections and they want to understand what’s going on with their immune system and restore their energy levels.”

While it is possible to gather excessive amounts of information, extracting and understanding data related to specific health concerns, like burnout, can underline the impact of lifestyle habits.

Witnessing the impact of stress on the body and how quickly or slowly it recovers, is a great motivator to stop ignoring advice to meditate. For many of Lanserhof’s younger clients, Gatt says, the key to living healthier for longer may lie in obsessing less, rather than more about biohacking.

“We don’t suggest extremes, like doing something every day or eating one meal a day, which is not enough, because you start to lose the benefit and it becomes a stressor for the system,” Gatt says. “It’s easy to go too far. Part of longevity and regeneration comes from balance and knowing how to take a vacation.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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Designing Dreams: David Charette’s fascinating Spaces for Children’s Adventures

David Charette has teamed up with CIRCU Magical Furniture to design spaces that capture the essence of childhood wonder.

Tue, May 21, 2024 4 min

This collaboration between David Charette, founder and principal of Britto Charette, and CIRCU Magical Furniture aims to stimulate the imaginations of children, encouraging them to invent their own tales of adventure. Drawing on his extensive travels, Charette believes that journeying through different cultures can spark creativity in young minds.

His latest venture uses a mix of luxury elements and magical themes, incorporating products from CIRCU, Covet House, and other vendors to create unique, enchanting children’s rooms. These spaces are designed to reflect the excitement and mystery of exploring new worlds.

The Sleeping are:

David Charette has transformed a Montreal residence into a magical sleeping area where time seems to pause, and adventures await. Known for its long, cold winters and short days, Montreal served as the perfect backdrop for Charette’s vision of a space that remains warm and bright throughout the year.

Central to the design is the concept of “light and bright,” brought to life using de Gournay‘s hand-painted wall coverings in fresh mint, decorated with flying butterflies. These elements beautifully complement the original shapes of the KOKET Nymph Wall Lamp and the organic curves of the CIRCU Tristen Bed.

Charette’s attachment to the Tristen Bed stems not only from its youthful appeal but also from its ergonomic design, which makes it easy for children to climb in and out of, enhancing both its functionality and charm.

The Bed:

Charette paired the modern lines of the bed with the unique design of the Boca do Lobo Wave Nightstand and the funky style of Delightfull’s Billy Table Lamp. By blending these contemporary pieces with the classic elements in the decor of this luxury kids’ room, Charette has crafted a unique space that breathes a natural breeze of inspiration into any child’s environment.

This combination not only adds aesthetic appeal but also stimulates the imagination, making the room a perfect sanctuary for creativity and dreams.

The seating area:

The room also includes a cozy seating area perfect for young readers. Centred around the CIRCU Dainty Armchair, this space is tailored for kids, with the chair’s delicate structure and elegant design enhancing the room’s charm. Its pink velvet upholstery adds a vibrant pop of color, enriching the room’s palette. To distinctly separate this reading corner from the rest of the sleeping area, Charette chose the Boca Do Lobo Gold Folding Screen from Covet House, which not only adds an element of privacy but also contributes a touch of sophistication to the space.

The Play and Study area:

David Charette aimed to create a space with an “Out of Africa” vibe to spark a child’s imagination and inspire a passion for lifelong adventures and travels. Drawing from fond memories of camping during his own childhood, Charette incorporated a Teepee Tent into the room’s design, allowing children to feel as they are camping in a forest right within their own bedroom.

This nature-inspired theme is beautifully complemented by the Fornasetti wall coverings from Cole & Son and the Filigree Cricket Wall Lamp, which are insect-shaped sconces by Boca do Lobo.

Adding to the ambiance, Charette notes, “The clouds on the ceiling further the idea of camping (in this case “glamping”) and dreaming, and the Circu Cloud Suspension lamps add to the dreamy camping vibe.”

To maintain this adventurous theme, Charette selected the CIRCU NODO Suspension Chair. It not only brings a hint of outdoor fun indoors with an elegant flair but also offers a comfy spot for kids to unwind and lose themselves in their favorite stories.

In his design, David Charette, of Britto Charette, focused on enhancing the sense of freedom and sparking children’s imaginations in their own space. He chose one of his favorite pieces from CIRCU, the Sky Desk, for its playful design and inspirational form. Shaped like an airplane, this desk not only becomes the central feature of playtime but also transforms homework into an exciting adventure. The unique design aims to captivate and motivate young minds, turning everyday tasks into a flight of imagination.

David Charette designed this luxury children’s room with the hope that it would inspire children to dream, play, and develop a deep respect for nature as they embark on their own adventures.

He crafted the room to be “transitional,” capable of evolving with a child from toddler years into adolescence. This design approach not only aims to create a lasting, imaginative space for children but also to show parents the value of investing in unique, high-quality pieces like those from Circu. These carefully chosen items stand out from mass-produced children’s designs, offering both aesthetic appeal and long-term utility.


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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