Spa getaways Travel

Italian Lake District Detox: Ti Sana


By Chere Di Boscio

Ti Sana: Luxury Detoxing 

Whilst most people imagine that editing a fashion magazine is all about glamour and cocktail parties, the reality is a bit different: imagine someone tied to their desk, answering emails for hours on end, working weekends, nights, and living on microwavable food and coffee and sleeping pills, and you probably have a more realistic picture. So it will come as no surprise that when the opportunity to visit a detox spa in Italy came up, I jumped at the chance.

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Situated in the gorgeous Italian lakes district on Lake Como, the Ti Sana spa is a luxury hotel, renovated from a charming 300 year old stone building. Rooms are generously sized and come with marble embossed bathrooms, wifi, flatscreen TVs and an Italian flair for decor. Dedicated to detoxing and cleansing, the family-run Ti Sana does this through what owner Erica D’Angelo calls its 5 main ‘pillars’: nutrition, environment, exercise, air and love.


The emphasis is really on nutrition. I was put on the ‘Active Life’ program, which involved fresh, organic (and mainly locally grown) vegetable and fruit juices for every breakfast and a thick vegetable soup for every dinner. In fact, for my first two days here, that was all I ingested. The reason for this is to give the digestive system a break, whilst nourishing the body with fresh vitamins and minerals, and although I thought I would be very hungry without solid food, the constant availability of hot herbal teas, vegetable broths and dried fruits and nuts kept my stomach full. I realised that whatever ‘hunger’ I was experiencing was probably based on cravings rather than actual energy needs.


In fact, my energy levels were high enough to participate in the exercise programs that mainly took place in pillar 2, the amazing environment surrounding Ti Sana: power walks and jogs by the river, or Tai Chi, yoga and Chi Gong classes with the marvellous trainer Mario, surrounded by trees and mountains.


Whilst we were always surrounded by fresh mountain air, Mario explained that whilst non-polluted air was essential, pillar 3 also involved an emphasis on breathing . He taught me techniques for increasing lung capacity and ‘chi’, or life energy, and I must say, after a few sessions with him, I felt a deep relaxation I hadn’t experienced since my last tropical holiday (where wifi was mercifully unavailable).


Environment also involves visiting the water centre and massage studios. Here, traditional and infrared saunas detox the body of heavy metals; a hammam helps slough off dead skin; mineral waters rejuvenate the epidermis, and special showers massage the back, head and shoulders. Expert masseuses and beauty experts offer a rainbow of treatments, and there is a medical doctor on site to administer nutritional and health advice.



From day 3 onwards, solid food reappeared in the form of millet casseroles; wild rice risottos, fruit and vegetable salads, all of which were tastily and lovingly prepared by Rosa, the owner. This is where the final pillar comes into place: love. By this, the staff mean all activities at Ti Sana are carried out with love and affection, and their warmth apparent: every guest is treated as though they are part of the family.


Consequently, visitors tended to bond: I met Candice-Marie, a model who survived cancer and now writes for this magazine; Stacey, an OM magazine columnist and yoga enthusiast; and Abdullah, a charismatic, wealthy Saudi businessman who bemoaned the lack of fresh, organic food in his home country. None of us wanted to say goodbye, not just to each other, but to the beauty of the environment, gentle daily pampering and organic meals, and Ti Sana and its staff. It was a bit sad, but I have a feeling we will all be back.



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