From spa treat­ments to detox di­ets, men are gate-crash­ing the healthy liv­ing party.

Juice, lemon wa­ter and mas­sages: Not just for women

Friday - - Contents -

A warn­ing to any­one think­ing of sign­ing up for a late-sum­mer detox pro­gramme to cleanse your body of those hol­i­day ex­cesses, bring a fresh glow to your com­plex­ion and kick­start those en­ergy lev­els: You’re go­ing to find your­self be­hind a queue of men.

Im­age and health-con­scious men are turn­ing to detox di­ets in ev­er­grow­ing num­bers, lead­ing ex­perts to coin the term the ‘man­tox’.

And while some might have had a gen­tle push in the di­rec­tion by the women in their lives keen to see an im­age over­haul, most men are ac­tively seek­ing treat­ment them­selves.

‘I was in­cred­i­bly du­bi­ous about the thoughts of a man­tox,’ says James Don­ald, a lawyer in Dubai who sought a pro­gramme at the Amer­i­can Academy of Cos­metic Surgery Hos­pi­tal (AACSH).

‘I con­sid­ered my­self to be healthy and I train three times a week. I didn’t

‘If some­one came to me look­ing for a DETOX, I would in­form them that this is not a QUICK FIX but a lifestyle change. We can’t change them 360 de­grees within 24 hours and ex­pect re­sults to LAST’

see what ben­e­fit it would of­fer me.

‘My wife nagged me to go as she had had a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence her­self and even­tu­ally my arm was twisted to at least “at­tend”.

‘Af­ter meet­ing with the team and learn­ing more about the key el­e­ments of real healthy liv­ing, I dis­cov­ered there were loads of small changes I could make, which would sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter my gen­eral health and help me to lose some weight in the process.’

James, 32, signed up to the nu­tri­tion coun­selling pro­gramme and started fol­low­ing a healthy-eat­ing regime de­signed by a nu­tri­tion­ist and well­ness ther­a­pist.

The clinic says it has seen an in­crease in the num­ber of men sign­ing up for its pro­grammes. The top three treat­ments were colonic hy­drother­apy (up 21 per cent), the 14-day detox pro­gramme (up 12 per cent) and nu­tri­tion coun­selling ser­vices, which were up 11 per cent year on year.

Dr Jenna Bur­ton, a GP and aes­thetic physi­cian, re­minds prospec­tive pa­tients that the clinic fo­cuses on lifestyle changes for im­proved long-term health rather than of­fer­ing ‘quick fixes’ to pa­tients.

‘If some­one came to me look­ing for a “detox” I would usu­ally in­form them that this is not a quick fix but a lifestyle change that we were about to em­bark on. It is im­por­tant that they re­alise that we can­not change them 360 de­grees within a 24-hour pe­riod and ex­pect these re­sults to last,’ she says.

But she was de­lighted at the clinic’s pa­tient de­mo­graph­ics re­flect­ing cos­mopoli­tan trends. An ‘av­er­age’ male pa­tient is 36.5 years old, a full-time res­i­dent in UAE and ed­u­cated and em­ployed.

Dr Jenna adds: ‘Men in the UAE are ev­i­dently tak­ing an in­creas­ingly proac­tive ap­proach to­wards im­prov­ing their health, which can only be seen as a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment, and we look for­ward to help­ing more and more men and women im­prov­ing their health through holis­tic ther­a­pies.

‘The term “you are what you eat” be­comes more ap­par­ent once a pa­tient be­gins to detox and break down what they con­sume.

‘Here in the UAE, many fast foods are read­ily avail­able and the ma­jor­ity with de­liv­ery, re­sult­ing in temp­ta­tion for the pop­u­la­tion to con­sume fatty ad­di­tives and preser­va­tives.

‘The gen­eral pub­lic, and that

in­cludes men, is be­com­ing more ed­u­cated and aware of the im­por­tance of healthy eat­ing when com­bined with other “cleans­ing” holis­tic treat­ments such as colonic hy­drother­apy and professional di­eti­cian coun­selling.

‘We’ve no­ticed a gen­eral shift in in­creased pa­tient knowl­edge on well-be­ing.’

Dr Jenna said ‘the ini­tial stim­u­lus’ to at­tend of­ten comes from a woman but men have to be mo­ti­vated to fol­low the pro­grammes and many re­alise that their ca­reer choice is partly to blame for their un­healthy lifestyle, par­tic­u­larly if they lead a seden­tary life sat in front of a screen for hours on end, day af­ter day.

‘Yet im­prov­ing lifestyle can sup­port ca­reer pro­gres­sion,’ she notes. ‘Eat­ing well and ex­er­cis­ing gives you more en­ergy and con­fi­dence.

‘There have been many stud­ies demon­strat­ing the pos­i­tive men­tal ef­fect ex­er­cise has on both sexes. Ini­tially it can be dif­fi­cult to insert into a reg­u­lar hec­tic work and fam­ily rou­tine, but it is pos­si­ble.’

Thomas Zacharia, a 29-yearold IT man­ager, lost about 7kg when he was given a ten-day per­sonal diet plan by the clinic. At 170cm tall and weigh­ing in at 82kg, he sought a detox pro­gramme that would re-en­er­gise him as a sedan­tary lifestyle sit­ting in front of a com­puter had left him feel­ing ‘tired all the time’, gain­ing weight and bat­tling to find time to ex­er­cise.

‘Be­fore, I was not re­ally con­cerned about healthy eat­ing,’ he ad­mits. He reg­u­larly ate out in restau­rants, re­lied on meat and rice to fill him up and found him­self reach­ing for fast food too fre­quently.

‘A detox diet can re­lieve a host of health prob­lems,’ says Aus­tralian natur­opath Kate Troup, ‘from weight gain, ab­dom­i­nal bloat­ing and in­di­ges­tion, to headaches, poor skin, loss of en­ergy and the feel­ing of not quite “be­ing right”.’

Thomas’ new regime sees him pre­par­ing fruit and cu­cum­ber for break­fast, re­duc­ing the rice and eat­ing lots of salad and veg­eta­bles.

‘I feel much health­ier than be­fore,’ said Thomas, who now weighs 75kg.

‘It’s a change for a new lifestyle – we have to change our minds, not just our food. Detox brings a men­tal and phys­i­cal change.’

A friend rec­om­mended the clinic to Thomas when he com­plained about his per­sis­tent tired­ness.

‘I was per­son­ally mo­ti­vated to go be­cause I thought it wouldn’t be nice to look un­healthy and very aged. So I hope in that re­spect it’s good for my ca­reer.’

Fun­da­men­tally the plans are the same for men and women in their struc­ture, ex­plained Dr Jenna. ‘But men and women have very dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tions and we must re­mem­ber to con­sider these thor­oughly. What is right for a woman is not al­ways right for a man, and vice versa.’

‘I still wouldn’t say I was un­healthy be­fore – but I cer­tainly did not feel as en­er­getic or good in my skin as I do now,’ says James.

‘Usu­ally I as­so­ciate detox­ing as be­ing a quick fix that women try and sign them­selves up to then for­get about the fol­low­ing week.

‘Af­ter start­ing the pro­gramme, I re­alise this is not the right way to look at it. It is learn­ing to detox your lifestyle, sav­ing room for fun and cheats along the way. Oth­er­wise mentally, I do not think I could han­dle it. It takes mo­ti­va­tion to want to change but it is worth it. I feel bet­ter than ever. I may not tell my wife that she was right… but I guess she was.’

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