A few years ago I was at the end of my rope. I had been sick for so long I had forgotten what being well felt like.
I had been to every doctor, had every test, been scoped inside and out. Every time I ate my stomach hurt, I couldn’t stay awake past about 1:00pm every day, I had lost about a third of my hair and was so thin my friends were whispering “anorexic” behind my back. Every doctor had a different guess, but no solution. It was irritable bowel, I had Epstein-Barr, I had too many children.
My good friend Nina Restieri (founder of momAgenda and also a mother of four) insisted I go to Canyon Ranch with her to get to the bottom of my illness. “What good is a massage going to do me?” I asked her. Little did I know, Canyon Ranch has a complete medical facility and practices “Functional Medicine”. You can read all about why Canyon Ranch is the perfect get away for moms on Traveling Mom.
The trip was miserable, (notice there are no photos of it) I had a migraine the entire time and could barely get off the couch. Shuffling from doctor appointment to doctor appointment I was envious of the sporty women dashing out for yoga classes and ropes courses. I know what you’re thinking, “real doctors at Canyon Ranch?” Yes, real MD’s, AND your appointment lasts an entire hour, and they listen to you the entire time. The approach is truly holistic, they want to know everything about you. What you eat, how you sleep, your stress levels etc. After my hour long appointment with Dr. Cindy Geyer I underwent a laundry list of tests. As it turns out, I have some severe food allergies. Funny that no doctor ever tested for that considering I had suffered with crippling stomach pain for years. Dr. Geyer had me change my diet and put me on some great digestive supplements. To say she changed my life would be an understatement. My hair grew back, and so did my ass. My energy is great and I feel like a different person. The stomach pain I had suffered with for a decade is gone, the joy really can’t be overstated. Changing my diet wasn’t easy, but it was more than worth it and the support from Canyon Ranch made it possible.
Fast forward three years. An invitation for a fabulous press trip to Canyon Ranch lands in my inbox. Of course I said yes. I had plans for this trip, no doctors needed. Like a crack addict at a dealer’s house I wanted it all.
I went hiking. It was just like Girl Scouts, only better. Our guide taught us about how beavers make their dams and mate for life. We hiked through the woods just like I did when I was a kid.
I went canoeing. The only people who have access to Lake Macinack are the residents, a summer camp and Canyon Ranch. I’ve always wanted to go to summer camp and spending the day canoeing around this picturesque lake, I felt like I was
I did the high ropes course. This is totally bad ass and I can’t tell you the high I had completing it. You’re literally walking tight ropes a story in the air (you have a safety harness, Canyon Ranch isn’t crazy). Each stretch of rope gets harder and harder until at the very end you think there’s no way you’ll every finish. And then you do. And it’s amazing. Your reward is a trip down the zip line and a jump off the “swing”. You can book the swing and the zip line without doing the ropes course, but it’s way more fun to earn them.
The “swing” is a misnomer, it’s a little more like base jumping followed by a bungee cord catch. It’s the highest I’ve ever felt on life. To return to Canyon Ranch healthy and full of energy, to complete the ropes course and then free fall in to the air was about as good as it gets.
Oh, and the massages are great too.
My first trip to Canyon Ranch was not to review it, but to get well. It wasn’t cheap, the medical tests are expensive and many aren’t covered by insurance. It was worth every penny I spent and more. On my return trip I was a guest of Canyon Ranch but paid for my ropes course, it’s $220 but the adrenaline rush is free!