Days 4 and 5 have kind of moulded into one long day. When you're by yourself going through a physical healing process that involves a drastic cut in your average calorie intake, everything feels very monotonous, and as Dr Eric Rauch says in his book, "monotony is an important factor for respite and healing". This might be the case but it can also make someone who is naturally not a fan of routine, go a bit stir crazy.
Yesterday's activities involved another check up with the doctor who informed me my stomach isn't as hard as it was on day one, which is good news by the way. He also told me i only have a very very mild intolerance to cows milk so there's nothing too drastic i need to cut out of my diet. My skin, on the other hand, is proving harder to find a cure for. He suggested a histamine test and cutting out gluten and dairy for 6 weeks to see if my skin improves, but it might not, so i shouldn't take it too seriously (his words, not mine!) and it's up to me if i do. I have noticed that certain foods can trigger it (especially combinations of food and i know that white things are not good for me), but i'm wondering if they're more mental then anything else, brought on by stress but weeks after the stress originally occurred.
The stomach treatment itself is known as MAT (manual abdominal treatment) and in my case anyway, only lasted 5-10 minutes. A technique developed by Dr Mayr, my doctor seemed to know what he was looking for upon applying pressure to parts of my abdomen i guess to check if there are any weak points in my intestines. If there were, he didn't say, instead saying 'good' after the quick process that i'm assuming all is working well down there. The benefits of this massage are quite profound; it can make the abdomen tighter and nutrients are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. In turn, this helps the body to remove waste. The circulation in this area gets better, helping with inflammation (the biggest problem we face in our stomachs) plus the blood gets a good ol' cleaning and the digestive glands can recover. That's not to say you should prod and poke your own stomach (or get someone else untrained to do it for that matter) and all the above will happen. it requires a well trained professional in tandem with all the other treatment being given. Everything works in harmony, you see.
After this was deep tissue massage time - those words fill me with horror where most people would be in a state of elevated bliss. I have a really sensitive back you see, and a plate in my right leg. Some therapists forget about those things even though i've told them, proceeding to make me wince in pain and then act surprised. The only way the tense back can ease off is if heat is applied. Even so, the therapists here are second to none and despite me flinching in some areas, i was able to take more pressure once the heat had built up. The most interesting part was the chest cavity massage. It was utterly excruciating yet somehow it seemed to push back my shoulders and give me a better posture. Even so, i think one of these massages will be hard to find on any massage menu back home so i'll file that one away in the memory bank of interesting yet never to be repeated experiences.
I don't know if it's the massage or the food intake or being on my own or the combination of all of those, but i reached a bit of an emotional boiling point after my evening dinner of soup and some dried buckwheat crackers (yep, i've gone up in the world) as i started to get really emotional; anger over a particular relationship issue building up to boiling point. it's just as well i'm unable to make calls to the UK on my phone. I distracted myself well enough but when it came to sleep, my brain just went into overdrive and i couldn't nod off. The hunger pains and rumbling stomach didn't do much to help, nor did the soaring heat nor the useless pillows they seem to have in European countries. I woke up this morning in a crying mess, even crying at breakfast and really not wanting to be in the dining room with a few other people (but i had no choice). I came back to my room, trying desperately to sleep but my stomach was reacting to the Epsom salts more then usual (was this emotions triggering this reaction? I strongly suspect so). Sleep evading me, i got up, grabbed a sun lounger by the pool and absorbed myself into a book instead (The Girls...it's new, and brilliant) which seemed to help. i had no treatments today. i'm not sure if that was a good or bad thing. On another note, the hotel has filled up since yesterday with more people coming to the hotel and not for Lanserhof treatment. Seeing people sitting by the pool eating a throughly inviting lunch isn't the easiest thing to watch, or even smell.
To brighten my spirits and getting a bit hot lying about, i decided to venture out the hotel to check out the Botanical Gardens up in the mountains. Easy to access via a cable car (it's a good job i love heights) right the way up to Kitzbuheler Horn. I figured immersing myself in nature might do the trick. Off i set, the sun shining but a looming dark cloud starting to circle above; how so? the weather has been crystal clear for the last few days, i thought it would just blow over. I can see the cable car from my room so i knew it wasn't far away. i paid my €22.50 and felt like a giddy kid as i got in my own cable car, all by myself! I could simply enjoy the view and not have to talk to anyone. As the car ventured up, i was able to hear the sound of the town mute yet hear the tinkle of alpine cow bells followed by the static murmur of the fir trees rustling in the wind. A change in car and up i go to the highest point where i could get out and explore the flowers...oh hang on, what's that big black cloud heading my way? Oh dear. As soon as i got to the top, the torrential rain started and i could only just catch a glimpse of the epic looking snow-capped mountains in the distance and i was summoned back into the car to get back down, all the while, Phil Collins' 'Another Day in Paradise' playing out the loudspeakers (why have music on when the sound of nature is enough, right?) I could now hear a storm rumbling away, reminding me of my stomach. Oh well, my one decent attempt to get out and explore was thwarted by the rain.
So here i am with just one full day to go, having just eaten ginger soup with dry crackers followed by a swim and steam with only my book, BBC player and a bath for company. I'm already wondering if i should get a packet of crisps at the airport. No one will know. As long as i eat them slowly, i'm sure it won't hurt.