The fast faced-paced world we live in can often result in detrimental consequences when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. For the people at the very top of their professions, The Kusnacht Practice offers the best help money can buy. Nested on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland, the practice is considered one of the world’s most exclusive mental healthcare retreats. Serving a variety of individuals including world leaders and those from the highest echelons of society, it offers holistic tailor-made treatment programs in luxury villas.
Economy Middle East’s Alp Sarper spoke to Eduardo Greghi, CEO of The Kusnacht Practice, about the luxury residential facility and the different approaches to mental health.
Investing in one’s mental health, how important was it and how have things changed after the pandemic?
“Taking care of your mental health is always important and becomes even more so after a certain age. Lacking a healthy balance of sleep, having anxieties under control, managing your weight, and being in good physical health affects not only the individual but the people around you. You can look at taking care of your mental health as an investment. We believe this is the most important thing an individual can do, not just for themselves but for their loved ones as well.”
“One of the most detrimental issues resulting from the pandemic was lack of personal contact with people, and spending too much time in a confined space for long periods of time, which undeniably had a big impact on relationships and mental health.”
What is the role of technology and how has it increased the effects on deteriorating mental health?
“I’d like to travel to the time of early humans, fending from wild animals and living in caves. We’d see a lion, so we either climb a tree or hide somewhere safe. The reaction of the body would be for adrenaline to kick in, as your adrenal glands pump cortisone into your body making us alert and full of energy. This would typically happen once every few days, but with technology, it happens literally every 10 seconds thanks to our smart devices. In effect, our minds are on continuous lion alert with every message, email, and call.”
“Adrenal glands are responsible for our mood. They allow us to wake up in the morning full of energy and with creative ideas. We recharge them by sleeping. If they pump cortisone in the middle of the night, you stay wide awake, and during the day when you want to function, you’re drinking coffee or doing whatever to stay awake because cortisone levels get drained. Eventually, you will have adrenal fatigue, otherwise known as burn-out. This is highly dysfunctional.”
“Technology plays a huge part by way of continuous connectivity. People need to wind down. Ask yourself when was the last time that you really went without TV or switched off your phone?”
What are some cutting-edge therapies you run at the Kusnacht Practice, especially for high-performance Businesspeople?
“Our clients come here to retreat, regroup, learn, and find the best versions of themselves. Apart from the mental health and addiction therapies, we offer business coaching, speech coaching, public speaking, and cognitive behavior therapy. Some will even learn a new language.
“Our approach is individualized and curated. We start by conducting a comprehensive medical checkup for vital signs, this takes about two days. Everything from heart rate variability, hair sample for mineral analysis, and nutrigenetic test swabs are done, and we even take genetic samples. Afterward, we talk to our patients to learn their habits, objectives in life, family affairs, and background. Then we put together a program that is as unique as a fingerprint; no two days, hours or clients are ever treated the same way. Clients stay in their individual villas, on the shores of Lake Zurich.”
“There is a chef that prepares meals based on each individual’s body and brain chemistry deficiencies. Your individual counselor will coordinate the food, physical exercise, sleep, and organic tailor-made supplements, and all are prepared for each individual.”
“The Kusnacht Practise brings it all together in an organized fashion to reach continuous results. Each professional that interacts with our clients writes a report which is read by the clinical medical team. We work so our clients can live a fruitful, happy life without the need for mood-altering drugs.”
How long would a patient typically spend at the facility?
“Everyone’s treatment is 100 percent bespoke. On average most guests will stay with us for six to eight weeks and often choose to come with their families. Some also continue to work, and we support this because we want to emulate the real living environment as much as possible. We provide full-on office facilities, and if a client needs to go to a board meeting, they can travel with our staff.
For our clients who have limited time, we have continuous care programs where they may go home. Our chefs will travel back home with them and train their household staff, so they can maintain their healthy diet and our councilors will remain in constant contact with them. Clients often have scheduled returns for shorter periods of time, we call it ‘recharge’, so they can continue on the right path.
What kind of patient flow do you have from the GCC?
“Many of our clients are from the GCC, and because confidentiality is at the heart of our practice, I can’t divulge much more. I can however say that most of our Middle East clientele have concerns with regard to sugar addiction, weight management, and prescription medication. Many of our clients from the region travel with their families, and we are well equipped to host larger families in the various villas.”
“As we are experienced in helping people from all over the world and our staff includes over twenty-five different nationalities, we are able to immediately adapt to religious and cultural backgrounds. We also have Middle Eastern team members and Arabic speakers as part of our team.”
EM: How did you get into the field and set up the practice?
“I do what I do because I’m passionate about helping people to make sustainable changes in their lives. When creating The Kusnacht Practice we wanted to achieve something of beauty, and quality and bring the best of the best together in a place that combines hospitality, medical and psychiatric care. Of course, it all took a lot of effort, planning, and investment.”
How do the professionals in this business seek help for their own mental health or addiction issues?
“One of our core values here in the company is self-care. We have an external supervisor who comes in to make sure all staff members are happy with their own mental and physical wellbeing, and if not, we encourage them to take action. We continuously keep an eye on each other, including managers, employees, and colleagues.
What is your advice to our readers?
Often our clients have everything but may have lost the simple pleasures of life, whether it’s a simple walk with their loved ones or a well-deserved break. We should always surround ourselves with people who love us and care for our wellbeing.
When somebody has a heart attack, often it’s 20 years of bad eating habits. It’s the same with burnout or depression and anxiety. Quite often we’re not sleeping well, we’re not eating well, we’re not having good relationships and we are working too much.
Take care of yourself, pamper yourself, invest in yourself – both in terms of time and money.