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Take a Trip, Return a New Person - LITERALLY!!
© Ellen Sarbone

It is said that travel changes people. For those who sojourn at La Prairie, this is true, literally, as well as figuratively. A refuge of celebrities and royalty, widely acclaimed and once-controversial rejuvenation treatments, lofty-priced skin care products - these are only the most publicized pieces of the Clinique La Prairie, a complete medical and surgical sanctuary on the edge of magnificent, mountain-wrapped Lake Geneva, in fashionable Montreux, Switzerland. It's a haven whose single goal for the last 60 years has been to improve the quality of life of its clientele.

That improvement can take many forms at Clinique La Prairie (CLP), a multi-disciplinary facility offering a range of treatments that encompasses almost all medical specialties except heart surgery. The famous and the little-known from the world over choose La Prairie for all types of cosmetic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery. There is even a renowned fertility clinic on the premises, but "Aesthetic problems" and anti-aging programs are the main focus.

Treatments can include revitalization with the acclaimed CLP Extract; "Beautymed" (a CLP proprietary program); laser skin resurfacing, erasing brown spots or enlarged blood vessels; physical therapy; body contouring by liposuction; weight management; Botox and Collagen injections to relax frown lines and crow's feet or fill out thin lips.

Plastic surgery of every kind on eyelids, nose, ears, chin, cheeks, scalp, breasts, stomach, thighs, buttocks, knees and shins provides a facelift, browlift, forehead lift; a minilift or soft-lift; tummy tuck or buttocks lift (why not both?); profile remodeling (i.e. a "nose job"). Reconstructive operations that include skin grafts, post-trauma work, varicose vein removal, and even hair grafts can be performed in the modern CLP operating theater. And what a beautiful setting to aid recovery. Indeed, your family pet might not recognize you upon your return!

I went to CLP hoping to have the revitalization treatment because, after studying available literature, I learned some studies had confirmed the long-held CLP findings that, in addition to counteracting aging-related problems like losing concentration, energy, and mobility, treating healthy persons with CLP Extract can have a beneficial preventive effect. Research has shown that some cells in a fetus are active only prior to birth, but these fetal cells can exert strong biological actions when administrated to adults, lessening the aging effects and possibly rejuvenating the immune system. Wow, just what I needed! I immediately booked my flight to Geneva on British Airways and got a free London stopover, too. That's the way to travel to "The Continent".

I didn't know in advance that everyone desiring treatment at La Prairie goes through a stringent medical history analysis, full physical exam, heart and lung check-ups and blood tests to preclude any adverse reactions. If needed or desired, consultations with top specialists can be added. My first 2 days were spent with various doctors, planning a schedule for the week to integrate the Beautymed program with therapy for my back problems, then taking the battery of tests to confirm my health; sitting with the dietitian to decide the daily calories (which determined what I would eat over the week), meeting the attending nurses (more like guardian angels), and scheduling treatments and workout times. Whew!

After the doctors OK'd me for the CLP Extract treatments, I was tested for allergic reactions to the Extract itself on the third day, then received the injections the 4th and 5th days, with 2 more days for monitoring any unexpected reaction. There was none.

The whole process was perfectly orchestrated. I met the nurse in my room. She had me lie on my side on the bed, made sure I was comfortable and had my book to read, then gave me the injections and instructed me not to move for an hour. She returned several times to be sure I was fine, then I was free to go about my activities, just avoiding the sauna and jacuzzi the rest of that day. The CLP Extract treatment strengthens the immune system and general health over time, and hundreds of guests return for regular tune-ups.

Meanwhile, my Beautymed schedule proceeded. The Beautymed Program is a compilation of individualized treatments for men as well as women, that make you feel revitalized by the end of the week. Each day begins with a small but tasty and filling breakfast brought to the room. Daily activities vary but always include a snack in the room at 10 AM, an elegant gourmet lunch and dinner in the dining room, and tea in the lounge at 4 PM.

The exquisite meals are lovingly prepared and graciously served like works of art, so even guests consuming the minimum number of calories feel more than satisfied. I couldn't believe some of the gorgeous dishes were really low calorie! An excellent wine list is available if you have a guest or your diet allows it.

On three days, my schedule included a 20 minute mineral bath in a special hydroxeur tub. The alternating bursts from 164 jets felt like a musical performance. After the bath, I was ensconced in a cocoon and a practitioner managed the mechanical stimulation of various parts of my body by high tech equipment developed exclusively for La Prairie.

The Corpomed, Corpotrim, Corpolift, Corpofit, and Corpolux units provide powerful and specific but painless electrostimulation to various parts of the body, helping reduce excessive fat or cellulite, drain the lymph system, firm up tissues, and smooth the skin.

The director of La Prairie, calls Beautymed an "association of treatments for internal and external beauty." My week also included 3 physical therapy treatments, 2 massages, private exercise sessions with the trainer, a daily pool exercise group (only 2 of us that week) followed by a sauna, steam room, and relaxing in the tranquil solarium. I even tried a laser treatment.

Everything at Clinique La Prairie is done with style. So, while the allure of nearby Montreux beckoned, I felt so comfortable, yet pampered, I had little desire to leave the premises the whole week. I returned home feeling like a new person. Maybe I'll return from my next visit looking like a different person, too!

LA PRAIRIE ONLINE: http://laprairie.com/shoponline/spa.html

If You Go

Clinique La Prairie, Medical and Revitalization Center, CH-1815 Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland. Tel: (011) 41 21 989-3311 Fax: (011) 41 21 989-3333 Website: http://www.laprairie.ch.

By car or train from Geneva Airport (50 minutes); limousine transfer available on request.

Year round except over the Christmas/ New Year's holiday.

30 guest rooms, 6 junior suites and 4 apartments in the contemporary clinic building and the original Residence

Standard Beautymed Package from 10,200 SFr (about $7,100 US) including: room and all meals (7 nights); MD/nursing fees; medical, lab and xray fees; choice of 6 Corpomed treatments; a massage and hand care; plus use of all fitness facilities.

REVITALIZATION PROGRAM (Treatment with CLP Extract):
From Sfr. 16,000 (about $11,000) includes 6 nights lodging and full board, standard lab and radiology exams, a dental check-up, the treatment (injections), physician fees and nurse care at the clinic.


© 2001-2007 Ellen Sarbone. All rights reserved. Email editor@eTraveller.com.