Inside visits oasis of tranquillity that is Moinhos Velhos Detox Juice Fasting Retreat
Slightly off the beaten track, in a secluded valley just south of Barragem da Bravura near Odiáxere lays a hidden treasure called Moinhos Velhos. This is not the kind of thing you would expect to come across in the Algarve, and I was thrilled when I did!
I’d signed up for a one-week Juice Fasting Detox and Yoga Retreat to try and offset my post-lockdown stress and excess weight gain. I wanted to rebalance and can hand on heart say that it was a great experience that I will happily revisit. This is one of Moinhos Velhos most popular retreats and what they are best known for internationally. My group was a great mix of nationalities and personalities who were all here, for one thing: to relax, reset and recharge themselves. The rooms are very comfortable, light and airy and come with organic toiletries, a Clysmatic colon cleansing system and Neti pot in the bathroom and a welcome booklet to explain everything that I would be taking during my stay.
The first morning I was woken by the sound of one of the facilitators walking outside, gently ringing a handheld bell and the sound of the birds. This signified that it was time for the day to begin, and everyone makes their way up to the main cottage for some pre-yoga tea and reflection time. Every morning at 8 am, yoga takes place in the Temple with one of the full-time retreat team. Every morning, we had a different teacher, which was great as they all had such different techniques meaning that everyone in the group could benefit according to their personal preference.
Fully stretched and feeling good after the yoga session, we headed up for our first juice. What lay before us was more than just fresh orange juice. There was a mason jar with Bentonite Clay and water in it, a shot of Psyllium Husks, a little pot with a concoction of supplements such as Pancreatin, Niacin, Spirulina and their founders own Co-tons. Our yoga teacher each day also joined us for our first juice and answered any questions that anyone might have.
After the first juice of the day, it’s Clysmatic time. I won’t go into too much detail here but what I will say is that I found it very cleansing. Not all of our group were comfortable with it, and that wasn’t a problem, everyone did what works for them. Everyone attends a check-in check-up with Debby in the clinic, which is where the various holistic and massage treatments also take place. There are a QRS bed and Zappers to rebalance your electromagnetic field and rid the body of parasites. This might sound a bit out there, but according to Ed, the in-house nutritionist, our guts are full of them. One quick zapping session at the beginning and another at the end of the week is said to kill them off.
There’s plenty of time to enjoy the spacious, salt-water pool during the day, take a nap or go for a walk in the beautiful, unspoilt natural valley that surrounds the property. There is a second juice at 1pm, followed by another dose of the supplements. The last juice of the day is at 4pm, followed by more supplements and the last daily Clysmatic. In the evening, we were served a hot broth and our fourth batch of pills before the evening meditation. None of the rooms have televisions, it is a retreat after all, but they do have a lounge in the main building with a TV that guests are welcome to use. Wi-Fi is intermittent and phone signals weak, but since this is a retreat for the mind as well, that’s not such a bad thing.
Our group was lovely; there was Janne, the youngest and a returning guest from Holland, who was already there when we arrived as she had attended the healthy eating retreat the week before. Irina from Poland, Justyna from Switzerland, also a returning guest. Noe and Helena from Portugual, both first-time juice detox retreaters along with Kim from Spain, who was staying on for the next 10-day retreat too and the colourful, yoga-loving Myriam from France.
Frank Jensen and Anne-Karine Moss founded the retreat some 20 years ago and it’s currently under the stewardship of Frank’s widow Janni Jensen. Moinhos Velhos has evolved steadily into its current shape with the help of Chris and Karen Lloyd Pack who have been there for some 15 years. Chris and Karen have been teaching yoga for many years, and between them they have they give clear and sound explanations to what you can expect, usually with a good dose of humour thrown in for good measure. Richard Brook is in house acupuncturist, specialising in five-element acupuncture, Dru yoga and wellness coaching, among other things. With former nurse Debby and nutritionist husband Ed there too, the team have all the bases covered.
There were informative talks every day around the communal juice table. The set up is beneficial as each facilitator brings something entirely different to the table, and everyone takes what they need from the conversations. The accommodation was charming, spotlessly clean, and I slept like a baby. The juices were made freshly from organic produce, often from the land or greenhouse with some items being brought in due to seasonality.
Moinhos Velhos has kindly offered readers of Inside Carvoeiro a 15% discount until the end of 2020, quote MoinhosVelhos15 to get the discount and feel like a new, improved you.
Text Mia Wallace