Beauty & Wellbeing

Advice on how to counteract the effects of long covid

We talk to Leonard Wilhelmi, director of Germany's Buchinger Wilhelmi clinic, about the therapeutic benefits of fasting for dealing with long Covid


By Mark Smith

19 May 2021

As spa and wellness centres across Europe reopen to guests after lockdowns, personal health and wellbeing has become a top priority, with many resorts developing their own programmes to treat the ill effects of Covid restrictions on mind, body and soul.

We talk to Leonard Wilhelmi, director of Germany’s Buchinger Wilhelmi clinic in Lake Constance, about Long Covid, how to reduce its long-term effects and how fasting can help.

Leonard Wilhelmi, director, Buchinger Wilhelmi

What are the main symptoms people have with long Covid?

The symptoms of long Covid (Post-SARS-CoV-2-/Covid-19-Syndrom (PSCS)) can vary, overlap and fluctuate, however the most common symptoms include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, pain or tightness in the chest, problems with memory and concentration, heart palpitations, dizziness and insomnia.

How is science and medicine approaching treatment for this?

The science behind long Covid is still relatively young given the fact that Covid-19 has been around for little over a year.

At Buchinger Wilhelmi, the fasting protocol we use in our clinics has been extensively researched over 100 years and is scientifically proven to improve factors we believe can be relevant for recovery from long-covid symptoms, including reducing BMI and inflammation of vital organs.

Therefore, we can link some of our fasting stay results towards the improvement of long-Covid patients in our clinic observations.

In the future, we will most likely see medical drugs as well as clinical protocols that treat the various symptoms described as long Covid.

Fasting, food and nutrition are key elements to balance in managing long Covid

What therapeutic treatments and programmes could benefit this cohort of people?

Generally everything that improves overall health can be beneficial for long Covid patients. Being outside in nature, exercise and regenerative rest are things everyone can do at home.

In special facilities like ours we can target individual symptoms more specifically using professional care and offer orthomolecular therapies, including vitamin B, C and D infusions and special diets, specifically Keto, to help with weight loss and nutrition.

The complexity of the range of long-Covid symptoms raises the need for multi-system approaches. An interdisciplinary team at Buchinger Wilhelmi consisting of medical doctors, psychologists and nurses as well as sports therapists, nutritionists, and physiotherapists is needed to meet the individual needs of the patients.

In general, the goal is the active participation of the patient to his or her own treatment so that recovery can continue in the long-term. Medical care, physical exercise and healthy nutrition are the three most important components with long-Covid recovery. Additionally, relaxation training seems to be beneficial.

Buchinger Wilhelmi on the shores of Lake Constance, Germany

How can fasting help?

Fasting and related nutritional strategies are the most powerful non-pharmacological tools that exist. Fasting periods of some hours or some days boosts autophagy, thus recycling or eliminating damaged cell structures and diminishing inflammation, allowing a metabolic reset and activating the cell regeneration of stem cells and new synthesis. Furthermore, fasting is proven to boost mitochondrial regeneration.

Since long Covid appears to happen mostly in the severe cases of Covid-19 infections, which in turn are associated with being overweight and with dysmetabolism (insulin resistance), fasting is proven to improve these main risk factors.

What can spas and wellness clinics do to help clients who are experiencing long Covid?

Institutions that have integrated medical infrastructure and all the above-mentioned medical teams are best indicated to treat post-Covid symptoms in a safe and efficient way. In single cases where neurologic, pneumological or cardiologic rehabilitation is necessary, only the health centres who can offer these evidence-based treatments are adapted for the treatment of long Covid.

Be healthy...

For more information on the health programmes at Buchinger Wilhelmi, click below


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