IF ONE trusts the Swiss with precision surgical instruments, watches and pharmaceuticals, who better to entrust with your health, well-being and appearance than the Swiss.
When it comes to spas, Switzerland leads the way with resorts that not only delight the senses but also meet exacting high standards. And at the pinnacle of these establishments is the world-renowned five-star Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Europe’s leading wellbeing and medical health resort.
The fame and reputation of the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz date back to the discovery in the 13th century of Europe’s most abundant source of thermal waters, in the nearby Tamina Gorge. Bad Ragaz subsequently became the favourite of the rich and the famous who came to take the healing waters.
I dined with two medical specialists based at the resort’s internationally-renowned Medical Health Centre, the debonair Dr Christian Hoppe, a high performance health coach, and the delightful Dr Brigitte Bollinger, an expert in aesthetic dermatology and laser therapy.
Dr Hoppe has been treating elite athletes, including the Swiss Olympic team, for many years and his expertise is available to guests at the resort. Christian treats people who want to enhance their performance in various areas, and those suffering from stress, seeking weight loss or ways to look and feel younger. He designs individually-tailored programmes to enable patients to achieve their ideal level of health.
He calls this ‘the steady state’ where one’s physiological parameters are in balance.
“A combination of regular exercise, a proper diet and personal stress management will get you there,” says Dr Hoppe.
“We can`t stop the ageing process, but we can help to slow it down,” he says explaining the new Ragazer treatment. The four-day programme involves a consultation which addresses the patient’s medical history and includes comprehensive medical diagnostics, evaluation of the cardiovascular system, measurement of muscle tone and body fat, and an anti-ageing infusion.
Dr Bollinger is much in demand for aesthetic dermatology. Among her specialities are laser treatments to rejuvenate the skin, remove hair, treat scars, acne, spider veins, blood vessels, rosacea, age and pigment spots, and tighten and lift the skin. I was fascinated to hear Dr Bollinger talk about injecting stem cells harvested from the patients’ own body into the face, an increasingly-popular procedure.
Guests can access more than 70 doctors and therapists in the fields of rheumatology, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, mental health, dermatology, aesthetic and plastic surgery, dentistry and implantology, gynaecology and fertility, ophthalmology, complementary medicine and musculoskeletal and oncological rehabilitation – all under one roof. How convenient.
If all this sounds rather daunting, imagine treatments taking place in one of the most beautiful environments in the world, a region called ‘Heidiland’ where Johanna Spyri was inspired to write her famous Heidi stories. Green pastures, cowbells, blue skies, church spires, snow-capped peaks - I found just being there lifted the spirits. Even the air tastes good . . . not to mention the thermal water which feeds all taps in the resort. And while receiving treatment, guests can relax and enjoy life in one of three five-star luxury hotels, with two golf courses, a casino and seven restaurants.
The cuisine is exceptional, especially the fresh zingy Asian flavours of the Namun Restaurant.
The resort’s spa facilities are mind-boggling. I needed a map to find my way around. A member of the Leading Spas of the World, the 36.5° Wellbeing and Thermal Spa encompassing over 5500 sq.m, is among the largest in Europe. Guests have a choice of pools including the historic 19th century Helena, Kneipp, sports and garden pools, and eight sources of wellbeing with massage and beauty treatments and sports and fitness facilities. For spa connoisseurs, there’s a herbal steam bath decorated with dazzling Swarovski crystals, no less, while the extravagant 100 sq.m private spa offers exclusive use of a sauna, steam and whirlpool baths, hydro-massage shower, loungers, home cinema, treatment and dining area, and garden terrace.
The Tamina Therme’s 7300 sq.m spa complex is open to the public and encompasses indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool recliner baths, a waterfall, and a counter-current channel. Sauna Nera offers infusion ceremonies with aromas, facial and exfoliation treatments and the interplay of drama, light and music.
So many choices. With limited time, I opted for the ultimate indulgence, La Prairie facial therapy which infused my face with caviar to plump and restore the skin’s density, followed by French champagne with gold leaf floating in the bubbles. I was positively glowing after an afternoon at La Prairie.
Justine Tyerman 11/11/17.