Ever since bumping into Elaine Bruce at a Health Show in London almost thirty years ago I have been an ardent fan of wheatgrass and the Ann Wigmore approach. I’ve had the pleasure of staying with Elaine and participating in her “Living Foods” training programme and also assisted her in the production of her book, “Living Foods for Radiant Health.” I’ve filled more trays with seeds of wheatgrass, barley grass, sunflower and buckwheat than I care to remember and never cease to enjoy their fantastic fresh taste and health–giving properties. But somewhere along the line things went awry. Despite being a health practitioner myself (naturopath and nutritionist) I let myself get worn down by overwork and caring responsibilities and was also unlucky enough to be involved in a series of car accidents that left me battered and with injuries to my back, knees and tendons. As a result of the ensuing immobility and constant pain I became demoralised and put on a substantial amount of weight.
Eventually it got to the point where I could hardly walk or sleep and I decided something drastic had to be done. I decided I wanted to immerse myself in the whole Ann Wigmore approach and toyed with the idea of going to her centre in Puerto Rico but the thought of the long haul journey and the high combined cost of getting there and staying there put me off. Instead I decided to look for some sort of spa/healing centre nearer to home but was disappointed to find that most focused on beauty treatments, rather than a holistic lifestyle, and many involved luxury and high prices.
Then I found the Natur-Med centre in Turkey. Rated as one of the top spas in the world according to an industry survey this is in fact a no-frills naturopathic, hot springs and health resort, based on Ann Wigmore and holistic medicine principles.
Getting there is easy. After a short flight from Gatwick to the modern airport of Izmir I was whisked away by the Natur-Med driver to the centre, approximately one hour away. Nestled in the Samson mountains, the centre is set in gorgeous gardens overflowing with colourful blooms and fruit trees dripping peaches, plums, mulberries and pomegranates. The site itself is spacious and consists of purpose-built thermal pools, therapy rooms, hotel accommodation and an indoor and outdoor restaurant.
Natur-Med was founded by Turkish medical doctor, Dr Yasar Yilmaz, who studied and practised in Germany before returning to Turkey to specialise in pain treatment and holistic medicine. It was always his dream to found a holistic medical centre and, after many years of searching for a place that offered fresh air, forest, ocean, and thermal water he found the current site and the Natur-Med centre was born.
The focus of Natur-Med is to offer a healthy lifestyle that can rejuvenate, heal chronic conditions and prevent disease. There is a daily programme, all of which is optional, that begins with a brisk group walk into the nearby forest at 6am to get the circulation going. Following this the thermal pools are refilled and there is a chance to bathe in fabulous outdoor (or indoor according to the season) hot and cold thermal water pools. The water for these has been analysed and found to contain unique properties and a particularly high content of certain minerals including silicon dioxide, which can ease aches and pains and aid “detoxification” of the body (for a full analysis of the water see the Natur-Med website).
Apart from the water one of the main attractions for me at Natur-Med was the simple, predominantly vegan, diet. On arrival I was delighted to find that wheatgrass and sunflower greens were also on offer and that the “Detox” diet was based on Ann Wigmore’s approach. It was put together by Dr Yilmaz’s daughter, Eylem who spent some months at the Hippocrates Institute in the USA training to be a Health Educator. There is no Rejuvelac currently but kombucha is sometimes offered and wheatgrass is freshly juiced twice daily.
The other attraction of Natur-Med is the range of therapies on offer on site at reasonable prices. These include colonic hydrotherapy, a range of different types of massage, ozone and vitamin C infusions, magnetic field therapy and more. All are carried out by qualified and experienced staff in lovely, spacious and immaculately clean clinic rooms. There is also a daily pilates or yoga class, aquagym in the afternoons and a very well equipped, light and airy fitness room that looks out onto the gardens and which can be used at anytime. Other facilities include infra-red and regular saunas and a traditional Turkish “hammam” steam bath room.
On arrival all new guests are entitled to a short consultation with Doctor Yilmaz who asks about your medical history and health goals and then recommends a personalised programme for you. In my case I undertook their “Rejuvenation package” and “detox” diet and took part in most of the daily activities. I also had at least one of the therapies every day. After only a week I was more mobile and had lost several pounds in weight and felt re-energised.
The friendly Natur-Med staff are really helpful and there is a great mix of guests from Turkey, most European countries, Australia and the USA. A whole host of languages are spoken but Turkish, German and English predominate. The accommodation is simple but again spacious and clean and very comfortable, Garden rooms offer air-conditioning.
If you are a sun worshipper then time can be spent on loungers by the pools while the more adventurous can explore the local markets and shops or visit the nearby historic site of Ephesus. Natur-Med also offers a weekly minibus service to the nearby beautiful Dilek Peninsula National Park, where you can swim in the warm Aegean sea, or the renowned “Sevgi”, or “Love”, beach.
The weather at Natur-Med is good all year round so a visit can be enjoyed at any time of year and for any length of time.
I enjoyed my brief stay at Natur-Med so much that I swiftly returned for a longer one. I’m happy to report that the net result was significant weight loss (almost two stone over 6 weeks) and vastly improved mobility (I no longer need crutches) plus a fantastic feeing of well-being. The centre has a very high loyalty rate with many guests returning year after year for rejuvenation and refreshment. I will certainly be making regular visits myself and can strongly recommend it to any other living foods enthusiasts looking for a healthy and healing holiday.
EasyJet fly direct from Gatwick to Izmir (ADB) with prices starting at around £58 one-way. Other airlines (Pegasus, Lufthansa and others) fly direct, or via Istanbul or Munich, from other UK airports. Full details of the Natur-Med “Rejuvenation Packages” can be found on www.natur-med.com.tr
Readers of this article can obtain a 10% discount on all visits booked to take place before December 2018 by quoting the code UK10.
Jacqueline Young, July 2018