Interesting to see that Karren Brady, her of Apprentice fame, has just forked out €3,500 for a week’s worth of ‘water cure’ in Austria. Thomas Smethurst (see Smethurst’s Luck) was an expert on the water cure, having written a book on the subject in 1843. In 1842 The Lancet commented on hydropathy, the fancy name for the water cure:
"Hydropathy is a fine word for water-pain, a “science” which certainly rests on a better foundation than homoeopathy, or mesmerism, or any of the other mystic “sciences” which have latterly issued from that hot-bed of absurdities, Austria, where the crushed minds of men that cannot bear the healthful fruits of free investigation, run riot in the extravagancies of fantastic credulity, or ignorantly strive to breathe life into the dead superstitions, and one-idead theories, of the Middle Ages."
Admittedly the Viva Mayr clinic, reclining on the shores of the Wörthersee, offers slightly more than Thomas Smethurst was able to provide when he opened his clinic at Moor Park, Surrey, in 1850. As well as doses of Epsom salts, water, and sweating wrapped in wet sheets, nasal reflexology, foot massage and intravenous drips (more water?) are provided. And at £430 per day, a nourishing 500 calorie diet completes the fare.
Karren said she felt great afterwards, but I wonder what Lord Sugar’s reaction was when she told him what it cost?
My mother was born and brought up in Vienna, and the family used to go to the Wörthersee, along with many other Viennese, to escape the summer heat. The area is developed for the tourist industry, and it’s nice to see that the enterprising locals have contrived methods for relieving tourists of cash when there is four foot of snow on the ground (when Karren went).
I can’t help wondering though, whether just a little application of willpower and a week spent at home might have saved Ms Brady a sizable pile of cash. Perhaps the next edition of The Apprentice should set the candidates a task to sell the most anodyne ‘health’ cures for the largest amount of money to a gullible public. The team with the most vacuous treatment and outrageous margin wins the contest.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs