Throughout history, people have combed the Earth searching for ways to maintain, or, even better, revive their youth. A fanciful spring was once thought to preserve life and remedy aging with one sip of its magical waters. Legends put the elusive Fountain of Youth at locations worldwide, including Polynesia, England, the Canary Islands, St. Augustine (FL), and Bimini (Bahamas). Today, the Fountain of Youth is considered a metaphor for something regarded as promising to restore one’s youthful glow, vitality, and inner beauty. While we’d be hard-pressed to find such a marvel in a mythical spring, there are a number of niche medical wellness resorts in the most fantastical locales across Europe with doctors who can draw on science to get us as close as possible to eternal youth.
Like Ponce De León, we traveled the world seeking the most unparalleled, exclusive medical wellness experiences available to the affluent.
Let us begin our journey in Montreux-Clarens, Switzerland, where the highly stimulating, diverse environment of the Swiss Riviera embraces your entire being right down to the core. Perched above the shores of the majestic Lake Geneva, Clinique La Prairie, a pioneer in longevity, is the endeared wellness destination that has been enchanting society’s elite for almost a century. This beloved, albeit clandestine, institution has been turning back time by turning to science and innovative cellular therapy to slow the aging process and preserve youth since its inception. With bespoke programs tailored to each guest’s individual needs, according to their unique genetic composition, the medical staff focuses on age-defying endeavors.
Each of Clinique La Prairie’s programs takes a holistic approach targeting senoinflammation, an inclusive schema for age-related chronic inflammation, and boosts immunity using its four pillars of longevity. “The CLP approach is unique because it is holistic. The first step is a medical assessment with laboratory check-ups, radiology, and genetic testing. That builds your personal health map. In the second step, CLP-exclusive formulas activate the rejuvenation, which will boost your immune system and strengthen your defenses. The last step is the regeneration, which will bring oxygen to your tissues and stimulate your own stem cells,” said Clinique La Prairie medical director Dr. Adrian Heini.
The four-pillar philosophy uniquely combines the best scientifically-proven technologies and techniques, many of which are exclusive to CLP, to provide lasting benefits. The first pillar, medical insight, focuses on improving the immune system and reducing inflammation, recognized today as the leading cause of disease development and aging. The second pillar, nutrition, takes on the food philosophy that is based on new treatments that also lower inflammation and boost the immune system. “At CLP, we have a unique nutrition philosophy; we think that everything we put inside our body has an effect on aging. Because of this, patients have a very special meal plan during the week of their stay. It’s not restricted because we think healthy food should also be delicious. We have a great chef who specializes in vegan food,” said Jenna Racine of Clinique La Prairie. “The third pillar is movement, so we include indoor and outdoor sports activities in all of our programs. Our fourth pillar is based on well-being. But this goes far beyond massages. We work with wellness specialists who know how to mix healing, breath work, acupressure, and other methodologies. Our mental well-being is naturally linked to our physical health,” she added. “We answer the global holistic approach to health through the body and the mind.”
Clinique La Prairie continues to stay up to date on the latest innovations in wellness technology and, for the last four years, has integrated the most sophisticated genetic tests in existence alongside its partner Gene Predictis. Other specialized therapies focus on detoxification, weight management, and healthy sleep, allowing the clinic to cater to the changing needs of its discerning guests.
Clinique La Prairie is also expanding internationally with satellite centers in Madrid, Bangkok, and Shanghai, so guests will be able to continue their health journey by attending one of its longevity centers around the world.
Clinique La Prairie is not the only medical wellness center drawing from the notion that the Fountain of Youth lies within our own bodies. Let’s travel south to the century-old Palazzo Fiuggi, located 50 minutes from Rome, Italy’s capital. The palace is situated 600 m above sea level upon an ancient hilltop. Here, you’ll find pure air and water that detoxifies the body and is considered ‘curative’ and ideal for oxygenation and relaxation. The Palazzo Fiuggi Wellness Medical Retreat has been an Italian temple for physical and spiritual recovery for the last few years and bears the signature of Lorenzo Giannuzzi. The 21-acre estate invites a serene, meditative vibe that rejuvenates the body, mind, and soul and enhances the healing journey. The focus of the wellness and medical retreat is to elevate ancient treatments with modern technology and diagnostic equipment to treat aging. “A team of extraordinary doctors with an international profile allows us to offer personalized programs aimed at cell regeneration and epigenetics, not forgetting the fortification of the immune system,” said Dr. Giannuzzi. “Here, the medical spa has a scientific laboratory where personalized supplements are created, and individualized care is tailored to our guests. It’s impossible not to reap the benefits,” he added. Medical-scientific therapies promote longevity and draw from the resort’s key therapy foundation stones: Purify, Nourish, Energize, and Connect. Programs include longevity, detox and weight loss, medical and diagnostic, and restoration and balance. Programs run from 7 to 21 nights with a bespoke wraparound service.
Located just three hours south of the illustrious Palazzo Fiuggi is the renowned Positano resort Le Sirenuse, home to Dolce Vitality, a week-long fitness and detox retreat that takes place twice a year in March and Oct/Nov. Just 30 guests alone occupy the entire hotel. They are guided into the rugged Positano mountain terrain to calibrate their souls for five days of challenging hikes to famed routes like the Path of the Gods and to relatively undiscovered paths. The retreat is not just a series of hikes but encompasses yoga and Pilates classes, one-on-one personalized assessment, a pescatarian menu created by Le Sirenuse’s executive chef, daily massages, spa treatments, transfers to and from Naples, and more. “My aim in founding Dolce Vitality was to invite a small group of like-minded guests to explore this other world with me, my family, and a passionate team of locals. You’ll experience breathtaking views, far from the crowds,” said Antonio Sersale, owner of Le Sirenuse.
A short jaunt across the Mediterranean Sea lies another acclaimed medical center with a new perspective on health. SHA Wellness Clinic in the Valencia region of Spain is a refuge for re-aligning body, mind, soul, and spirit. SHA’s mission is to help people live longer and better through a comprehensive and integrative approach to health. “We offer the most outstanding, internationally renowned experts in nutrition, preventive medicine, anti-aging, genetics, holistic medicine, dermo aesthetic medicine, regenerative medicine, revitalizing medicine, physical and sports activity, psychology, dentistry, bioenergetic medicine, and cognitive stimulation, among others. They all share one objective: to improve your life.” The SHA Integrative Method offers 7, 14, or 21-day programs that combine scientific medicine and natural therapy. These health programs include Experience Healthy Nutrition, Natural Therapies, Preventive Medicine & Healthy Ageing, Advanced Aesthetic Beauty (including dental and hair care), Cognitive & Emotional Health, Physical Performance, Wellbeing & Inner Balance, and Healthy Living Academy.
To complete our triangle of sublime getaways, we head northeast to a five-star hotel that has been the true source of health and vitality since 1242—Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, nestled in the magnificent foothills of the Alps in Eastern Switzerland. Hans-Peter Veit, director of Health & Thermal Spa at Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, spoke to us about the resort’s NEWYOU Method that welcomes a large variety of clients, but the majority are middle-aged “LOHAS” (Lifestyle Of Health and Sustainability), a group of individuals with a strong focus on their health along with an affinity for luxury and travel. “With our NEWYOU Method, we want to achieve life-changing experiences. Our experts have an ultra-individual approach to helping our guests and offer easy solutions with great effects—we teach rather than preach and generate an internal motivation for a healthier lifestyle. We strongly believe that advice in the fields of nutrition, fitness, therapy, and mental balance has to be simple and joyful for long-term and sustainable success,” he said.
Medical wellness is incorporated not automatically but always if necessary; this will be determined and advised by its leading doctors, who see all NEWYOU guests on arrival for a consultation. “We have one of the biggest thermal spas and medical centers in Europe integrated into a five-star deluxe hotel with six Michelin stars, i.e., nowhere worldwide can you get your diet menu while following a weight-loss program served in a Michelin-starred restaurant. The destination Bad Ragaz is multi-optional; almost every activity is possible just nearby,” added Veit. “The NEWYOU packages center around six lifestyle elements that each assist in various lifestyle-dependent transformation processes. Our lifestyle elements are all about bringing balance to your life and integrating new behavioral patterns.” Guests can access the resort in various ways; for the top VIPs, there is helicopter access directly on the property (golf course) or at Bad Ragaz airport; private jets arrive mainly at the local private airport, Altenrhein, just 30 minutes away. Every guest who engages with the NEWYOU method leaves with a NEWME perspective.
With these intimate, real-world medi-spa channels leading to complete transformation, who says we can’t live forever?