Magazine article The Spectator

Me Time

Magazine article The Spectator

Me Time

Article excerpt

'Must be your lucky morning, ladies, ' the Southern ticket inspector unctuously announced. 'I'm going to take an executive decision and upgrade you two to first class.' My daughter India and I peered down the deserted second-class carriage and beamed with gratitude. It was 4 a. m. and Victoria Station was virtually empty except for a few halfcut passengers wending their way home. 'A gentleman has deposited the remains of his dinner in the second coach, ' he explained, puffed-up with self-importance. 'And I don't think you girls look like the sort that would appreciate the gesture.' 'You never know, ' muttered India ominously. 'If we're going to stay somewhere where we don't get given enough food, I just might.' She was busy downing her second fullfat Coke of the morning and obviously having second thoughts about the wisdom of accompanying her decrepit mother to a health clinic in the Italian Dolomites.

I was harbouring quite a few doubts myself, having once spent an isolated week in the early 1980s under house arrest at Champneys -- not an experience I felt needed to be repeated. My resolve held firm for over 20 years until I met a woman at a dinner party who saw me wince with pain as I reached across the table for some salt.

'You need a week at Henri Chenot, ' she whispered. 'It's a life-changer.' Her throwaway comment was like an epiphany. At that very moment I decided I was ready for anything -- bar religion -- that promised to change my life. For the last six months I'd been feeling burnt out, stressed and was adrenaline-bopping from one double espresso to the next. After being in continuous pain with a shoulder injury, my body seemed to have short-circuited, carbo-loaded and forgotten how to sleep properly. I'd tried medicine, physiotherapy and acupuncture (all to no lasting effect) and I just longed to feel human again.

Henri Chenot operates his clinic from the ultra-chic Palace Merano Hotel in the South Tyrol and is a Biontologist. Biontology is a science Chenot himself originated. He contends that a week at his clinic addresses the changes that take place in the body as it ages, and the treatments holistically improve, slow down, revitalise and rejuvenate you, and that if you invest in life you give space to health.

'It's like giving yourself the equivalent of a human MOT, ' my new best friend explained vaguely. …

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