Simone Gibertoni, CEO, Clinique La Prairie on Taking Greater Care of our Health and Wellbeing

Lara Mansour   |   02 - 11 - 2020

Clinique La Prairie is a pioneer in wellbeing and longevity. The Swiss wellness clinic has successfully been providing proven solutions to some of the most critical problems we face today since 1931 through tried and tested medical programmes.

 

Their holistic approach to medical wellbeing uses a combination of progressive medical expertise and traditional and alternative philosophies. In-house programmes are created to enhance life to its fullest potential, fulfilling every physical, psychological and emotional need. Clinique La Prairie has worked on some of the most extensive and innovative stem cell research in the world, providing solutions for its clients that they cannot receive anywhere else. Clinique La Prairie doesn’t need to plan for the future because it’s already writing it with its unique, ground-breaking therapies and treatments. To find out more about the latest treatments, programmes and technologies, we talk to CEO Simone Gibertoni.

 

How would you sum up your vision for the future of Clinique La Prairie?

With a long family-owned history, Clinique La Prairie is driven by a very personal commitment to look after all guests as if they were family members, with expert and advanced care and a welcoming and intimate environment. Our mission: to accompany each of them in a personalised way and to “help and inspire them to live a longer, healthier and better life”. Founded in 1931 by Professor Niehans, a pioneer in the development of cell therapy, Clinique La Prairie has continued to evolve and expand, thanks to continuous innovations that have enabled us to stay at the forefront of health and exceptional guest service. This is possible thanks to the very unique combination of Clinique La Prairie: a state-of-the-art medical centre with 50 specialists, award-winning wellness and luxury hospitality.

 

 

This year has been an unusual one for all, how has this period affected the operations of the company?

Clinique La Prairie welcomes clients from all around the world, so the pandemic, restricting most of the international travels, has had an impact. Outside Europe, in Asia, The USA, the Middle East and Russia there are still travel bans and government restrictions that are serious obstacles for clients. Operationally speaking, we have, of course, implemented strict security measures. With our very own facilities’; a combination of a medical centre, hotel and wellness centre, there are several procedures and protocols in place for the guest services, medical and spa and room services, so that all of our guests – and employees can feel safe.

 

In this context, our mission has been to preserve the highest level of service and care. The philosophy of Clinique La Prairie has always meant high-end luxury for our guests, with a “feel at home, away from home” experience to the highest standards possible while undergoing treatments. This had to be preserved, despite social distancing and the many safety measures, to continue Clinique La Prairie to be a haven of health with an exceptional level of care. For our staff, from doctors and therapists to hospitality members and management, the process has two dimensions: firstly, ensuring our employees stay safe at work with relevant measures. And secondly, accompanying them in the return to a work environment in which many changes would affect their daily routines. Discuss, explain, help and sustain is crucial.

 

What makes Clinique La Prairie unique in its approach to wellbeing?

There are many things. Firstly, our 90-year legacy offers serious wellness to those in search of a profound change in their health and wellbeing thanks to a medical-led 4-pillar approach (medical, nutrition, wellbeing, movement). Our unique clinic-Medispa concept is a combination of spa, hospital and hotel in one location, with the widest range of experts, and pioneering and innovative treatments. Our Scientific approach of health and wellness, and scientifically verifiable expertise in rejuvenation, wellbeing and longevity instils cutting-edge science and technology in all of our programmes. Our Innovative mindset, spanning from advanced genetics, regenerative stem cells, nutrigenomics and many aspects of leading-edge medicine.

 

 

How can it help guests build a better future for their lives?

We believe that health is not only the absence of illness but also the balance of the mind, body and spirit. Our guests are accompanied and advised by leading specialists. Experts and staff members work closely with one another, with a commitment to bespoke and personal service. A real synergy that is none other than Clinique La Prairie’s trademark and the key to its success.

 

At Clinique La Prairie, guests find this unique combination of cutting-edge diagnostics, highly personalised care, science-driven treatments and long-term support that leads to genuine transformation in our client’s health and lives. This is possible because medical consultations and testing lay the foundations for each guest’s personalised objectives: their wants and needs. Many common medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, food intolerances and certain auto-immune diseases are influenced by both genetic factors and lifestyle; that is why our experts use a genetics and epigenetics approach through targeted interventions, medical technologies and on nutritional, wellness and movement dimensions to influence long-term behaviour.

Ultimately, this expert approach allows guests to stay healthy, live longer and live life to its fullest, thanks to programmes that fulfil every physical, psychological, and emotional need.

 

 

Clinique La Prairie is a pioneer in its field, how do you continue to keep the innovation going?

 

The clinic has continuously evolved since 1931 to become a multidisciplinary, expert-led medical facility that specialises in providing world-class preventative medicine, based on cutting-edge science. Life and Longevity Sciences have been part and parcel of Clinique La Prairie since its inception, and it has continued by collaborating with renowned researchers in the field of biosciences, and by the creation of a life science division that looks into the next generation of health technologies. In 2018, we were the first wellness clinic to integrate DNA testing into health programs. Since then, genetics have taken an even stronger front seat, with DNA tests forming part of the Revitalisation, Master Detox and Weight Loss programs and driving the highest level of personalisation for programs. Because a key part of disease-prevention is diet, the emphasis has recently shifted towards nutritional science. Since 2019, the Revitalisation, Master Detox and Beauty programs have had nutrigenomics elements added. This year, we have launched the new Master Detox program with a genomic-based method using nutritional science. And more will come in this area soon.

 

 

How is new technology aiding the development of the company?

For the last four years, we’ve integrated some of the most sophisticated genetic tests into our longevity and detox programmes. A precise analysis of a client’s genetic profile means that we can develop a highly personalised plan for each individual, customised according to the objectives and the needs of the client. If you speak about tech-enabled wellness, this has undeniably grown in this period, and it has opened up new and interesting dimensions.

 

 

At Clinique La Prairie, we’re testing a few projects to meaningfully integrate tech into the programmes, or to offer a high-quality engagement into their health journey. The important point for us is to do it with a genuine purpose that will amplify health and wellbeing benefits for our guests while keeping the highest level of human connection and customisation, for example, enhancing the follow-up period after a programme at the clinic or to give personal access to an unprecedented service of health coaching. In our mission of profound and long-time change, tech is one of the enablers. As innovation is rapidly moving and scientists are researching how AI can impact many health areas, including diagnosis, it is going to be an amazing resource to act as supplemental care.

 

 

Can you share with us any of the latest developments?

The newly launched 7 days MASTER DETOX focuses on a Cellular Genomic detoxification protocol working on nutrigenomics, i.e. the study of the relationship between nutrition, health, and the human genome. The cure comprises four 100% nutraceutical supplements to stimulate the body’s own antioxidant and detoxifying defences, taken for a week during the programme and recommended for four weeks following the stay.

 

In the regenerative medicine field, we have taken a cutting-edge approach to rejuvenation with stem cells medical technology. Beauty Stem Cells and Cell Boost facelift surgery treatments offer the ultimate in anti-ageing. The patient’s own stem cells are re-injected, revitalising the face using the body’s own natural resources to regenerate its skin and slow down ageing, restoring a more youthful appearance.

 

The immune-boosting and anti-ageing Revitalisation programme continues to reinforce our status, but in the past decade, the clinic’s offering has been developed with pioneering technologies and programmes answering many health and wellness needs, resulting from the stresses and strains of modern life (sleep, detox, mind-body balance, weight issues). The approach of Clinique La Prairie is always about a leading-edge and ultra-personalised approach towards “longevity”.

 

 

In this issue, we are talking about the future – what is your vision for the future of wellbeing?

These are some specific trends I see for the industry:

– Demand for ultra-personalised treatments: this was already growing and will be in very strong demand in the near future.

– Genetic and epigenetic: wellness will be more customised to individual needs and epigenetic expressions. Wellness institutions will create and offer innovative therapies, and guidance will be even stronger in the future of our wellness industry.

– Technology and data: How can we use data and AI in a meaningful way and use technology to stay connected with our clients?

 

When it comes to Clinique La Prairie’s future, our vision is always looking at pioneering longevity. We are taking a particular interest in research on microbiota, senescent cells and their markers, stress and sleep, circadian rhythms among other aspects of life science and biology, to determine how they can be used to promote holistic longevity. Also, and this is essential, we are the dedicated partner of our clients in health and well-being throughout their lives. That is why our idea is to go even further. We want to develop our concept in cities where our guests live, like in Bangkok or Madrid this year, and in Asia, the Middle East and America in the future. Our clientele will benefit from our expertise in Clinique La Prairie establishments offering our unique concepts combining medical, nutrition, aesthetic, well-being and leading-edge health technologies.

 

 

Can you share with us any new treatments that you have introduced to the portfolio?

 We have introduced two new programs that will be exclusively available in winter 2020 and spring 2021.

 

Immunity Boost: 5 Days Medical Offering: Immunity is at the front of mind more than ever before with the world’s focus on health amid the global pandemic. With the guidance of Clinique La Prairie’s qualified health practitioners, this exclusive short-stay programme aims to regain vitality and strengthen the body, boosting the immune system. Thanks to the advice of the health and well-being experts, the programme is the perfect option to replenish energy and immunity levels and learn more about how to re-activate a healthy lifestyle, while enjoying the benefits of the microclimate in the Montreux region.

 

Energising Wellness: New Wellness Offering For 2020: The balance between mind and body is crucial for long term health benefits. With this in mind, Clinique La Prairie’s leading team of holistic consultants has introduced this new pure wellness offering for guests to relax, recharge and look and feel younger. Guests will enjoy exclusive treatments in the world-renowned spa and will be given an IV drip and vitamin complex as precious allies to sustain their wellbeing. Supervised by trusted medical specialists who care for what guests’ body’s need, the blends will contain a carefully selected combination of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to target individual needs, while promoting anti-ageing and whole-body health.

 

And as a first in Clinique La Prairie’s experiences: Chef Sara Bussetti will be teaching a unique gourmet cooking class, in a personal session, during which the guest will learn the secret of the clinic’s healthy recipes in the most exclusive way.

 

After leaving the clinic how can guests ensure a better lifestyle going forward once they are home?

The stay at Clinique La Prairie very often has a very strong impact on the guest’s way of thinking about longevity and lifestyle. We often hear from returning clients that the information they received here was life-changing or life-saving! Concretely, during the interactions with physicians and dieticians and based on results taken from medical analysis and DNA testing, guest receive tailored guidance (with personal documents and material to take home) about what – and how – to eat, how to tackle their own stress levels, how to work out to reach the agreed goals, the next advised step if any specific medical situation has been identified, etc. In signature programmes, there is a follow up remote conversation after several weeks or months to do a personal “check-in”. Of course, there is an essential involvement from the guest to take the lead on implementing the modified routine once back home. If we did well, if we responded to our customer’s need for reassurance while moving them out of their comfort zones, thus delivering a real transformation for their lifestyle, they will surely take this life-changing lead!

 

 

How important is nutrition and diet to overall wellbeing?

Nutrition is key to preventive medicine and a healthy life and is one way to counteract cellular ageing and to delay or prevent the onset of age-related diseases. It plays a major part in every programme at Clinique La Prairie, where we combine the science of genetics and the culinary skill of top chefs to deliciously kick-start your health journey.

 

At Clinique La Prairie, we believe that an anti-inflammatory diet, one of the most powerful strategies to increase longevity, should be the basis to all lifestyle changes. Clinique La Prairie’s evidence-based approach to nutrition provides comprehensive diet changes that decrease the inflammatory processes by reducing oxidative stress (part of the ageing process in which an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body causes cell and tissue damage), improving metabolic function and restoring a healthy gut microbiota.

 

This is achieved by unique signature processes, which protect cells by reducing seno-inflammation; something that’s fundamental in anti-ageing and whole-body preventative health. Using a range of ingredients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities allows for a powerful preventive approach against disease development. Led by expert nutritionists, this approach means that we can tailor bespoke nutritional interventions which target specific needs, while promoting neuroprotection, increased energy and, importantly, the enjoyment of healthy eating. Our nutritional philosophy can be broken down into four objectives: improving gut microbiota, reducing oxidative cellular damage, improving metabolic flexibility and supporting a healthy immune system.

 

The restaurant is also a key aspect of the Clinique La Prairie stay, with dieticians on hand to provide individual advice to guests; we have ensured that it can still be enjoyed despite social distancing and no-paper procedures. Our answer has been to go for a bespoke experience led by the chef herself. Instead of choosing from a written menu, the guest gives his/her preferences to the chef and she drives the kitchen crew to create, at every meal, a personalised gourmet menu adapted to the tastes, demands and dietary constraints of the guest.

 

 

Can you tell us a little about the importance of sleep?

Sleep deprivation leads to decreased concentration and memory capacities, so disturbed mood, even up to depression, are possible consequences. Irritability is also a frequent consequence. Sleep is a very complex phenomenon, it can be restful and an energy provider when all the different ingredients are presented and dosed in the right quantities. Our holistic approach involves consultations with medical experts to make sure to identify and treat sleep issues such as insomnia or sleep apnea, in tandem with any underlying problems. These may be linked to many aspects of body functions or with the mind-body connection. We have assembled and concentrated these necessary specialists at Clinique La Prairie and so we can assess the problems in an extremely short time frame, which allows us to start the first tailor-made treatments after only a few days.

 

 

Moving forward how can we shift a greater focus onto wellbeing, and do you think it’s something that is becoming more at the forefront of everyone’s minds given what has happened this year?

With immunity being on everyone’s mind, we’re seeing more demand on that level, especially because our signature Revitalisation programme is recognized as a holistic programme with major benefits of boosting the immune system and generally upgrading mind and body. In response to COVID-19, we have introduced new elements, including immuno-fortifying ingredients, enhanced nutrition coaching and wellness solutions to help activate the immune function. In its one-week approach, Revitalisation helps to combat stress and infections and to improve health-related setbacks. The Revitalisation has been carried out exclusively at Clinique La Prairie for nearly nine decades and does include the CLP Extract, containing biologically active substances, given in conjunction with bio-stimulants.

 

Our experts follow a mind-body medical approach. Sleep disorders and stress being some of the main challenges of contemporary health, psychotherapeutic evaluation, sessions of therapeutic hypnosis, breathing or relaxation techniques are planned in the targeted programs or prescribed whenever needed if the holistic consultation with the doctor points out to special needs in these areas. We also think that with today’s lifestyle, detox programs are key and thus we have just launched an all-new MASTER DETOX programme. Overall, in a context of higher demand for preventative and longevity-based wellness, our mission is to respond to the need for reassurance while moving people out of their comfort zones, thus delivering a profound and long-time change in their health and wellbeing.

 

How do you think we should be educating the younger generations on wellbeing moving forward?

Younger people are usually more aware of the different technologies and the need for a holistic approach. While people in their 20s are normally in good health, we would recommend the Medical Check-up programme and provide a clinical and laboratory examination to ensure the patient is in good health. We recommend preventive treatments and nutrition advice to ensure a healthy lifestyle and fitness advice. Additionally, we instruct on the potential risks that come with the daily use of modern devices and recommend paying attention to radio waves, eye fatigue and hearing problems.

 

What is the biggest challenge you face in what you do?

The most important lesson is that after winter there is always spring and then finally summer. Sometimes winter is a bit longer, but it has always an end. So, knowing this, we have to be able to separate what we do for the short term (even if for some companies now short term means survival) but at the same time always keep the bigger picture of our long-term strategy in mind. This needs to continue to be our compass. This period is also an opportunity to apply what is called “zero-based thinking.” The key question here is, “if we were building the company today from scratch, what would we do differently? And once we get beyond this crisis, knowing what we know, where would we want to be and what resources would be required to get us there?” For me a wonderful definition of leadership is “bringing people where they may not be able to go alone, and teach them how to do,” and this is even more true in these difficult periods. Set the objectives and then coach, help, and sustain.

 

What is something we can all do every day to improve our wellbeing? 

Eat healthily and do twenty minutes of meditation twice a day, every day, no matter what happens!