The Stockholm villa
But I was here on a mission for science, not to hobnob with the glitterati. Hippocrates claims scientific bases for all its treatments, proudly differentiating itself from the crunchy image of wellness centers from the flower-power age. Its Magnetic Resonance Stimulation machine apparently cleansed and repaired my body by matching the frequency of my body’s cells. “You know what grounding means, right?” asked the therapist as I lay on an innocuous white mat. “Yeah. Like electricity,” I answered. “No. It’s like being on the ground,” she explained. “Like laying on the beach.” The eight-minute session did indeed feel a lot like lying on a beach, though I never quite understood what that had to do with the magnets, frequencies or melatonin she mentioned.

My Thermagem and Viofor sessions similarly consisted of lying on my back while medical-looking devices did sciencey-sounding voodoo. Thermagem used light beamed through a sapphire (there are various gems to choose from) onto my head. The only sensation I felt was a roar from my digestive tract vibrating the water bed below. “I’m so hungry,” I overheard one technician say to the other as they watched their guests being vibrated, magnetized and bedazzled. “I only had melba toast and radishes today.” Melba toast? I would have sold my firstborn for such a delicacy. “Can you cover things while I go get my cheese from the car?” she asked her co-worker as she left the room to a chorus of stomach growls.

As he was attaching electrodes to my body, the H-Wave technician described his treatment as “evidence-based medicine” so many times that I began to suspect that he was hurling veiled accusations­ at his colleagues who offered more transcendental experiences. Surrounded by framed thank-you letters from professional sports teams, ballets and the military, my body would nearly spasm off the table as each pulse of electricity coursed through my limbs. As I jerked around like a marionette, I did find some comfort in the fact that the device is FDA-approved for pain treatment.

I remained skeptical about the resort’s more esoteric offerings, but while witnessing guests finding catharsis at a group therapy session led by Andy ­Bernay-Roman — a wizened psychotherapist who looked not unlike the painting of the resort’s Greek namesake on the wall behind him — I began to accept that Hippocrates did make people well. By encouraging guests to create their own bespoke program from a mix of conventional and alternative therapies, the resort offers something for everybody, which is why it boasts a return rate of around 60 percent.

“Every person that comes here is expecting to change and transform,” says co-director Brian Clement. “We facilitate that by meeting them where they are. We don’t drag them and say this is how everyone has to change. We don’t force anyone to do anything here.”