In the Footsteps of Spa History – Clinique La Prairie, Switzerland
75 years ago, Clinique La Prairie opened in Montreux, Switzerland. Professor Niehans would give clients “revitalization treatments” which were injections of fresh animal cells that were thought to “support under-functioning organs.” Later, treatments used a liver extract. These days there is an oral extract that is combined with injections. Back then people were looking for what could make them healthier, look younger, feel better, live longer – not much different than what people seek today.
I learned all this a few days ago when I had the privilege of getting a tour of the Clinique La Prairie (CLP) facilities which included the original Residence from 1931, the cutting edge Medical Center built in 1991, and the addition of a chateau and extensive spa in 2005. They have a total of 59 guest rooms now and a list of medical programs and offerings far greater than anything I could have imagined.
All I knew before my visit was that there was a place in Switzerland called Clinique La Prairie that did sheep cell injections – where famous people from all over the world went for anti-aging therapies. I knew it was expensive, that they didn’t consider themselves a spa, and that while the product line La Prairie originated there, for some reason Clinique La Prairie and the La Prairie beauty products were no longer related to each other. Why? I didn’t know.
Thankfully, I now know a great deal more. Dominique Carrupt, the Directeur of Clinique La Prairie, was kind enough to spend some time with us after our tour and helped explain in much greater detail the evolution of this very famous place and all it has become today.
I get to visit many spas around the world and am often impressed by what I see and experience. Then there are a few times in which I become enthralled. That was the case for me during this visit. Not only does Clinique La Prairie itself have a rich and interesting history, but its existence has contributed in a major way to the development of the modern spa industry. What I didn’t know however, and learned during this recent visit and since having studied all the collateral material I was given, is how much the modern spa industry has also influenced Clinique La Prairie.
Before I write more about my observations (which I will do in my next blog), I think it is worth visiting their website. http://www.laprairie.ch/ Then we will take a walk down history lane together.
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