In 1990, I had the opportunity to travel to the city of Bad Worishofen, also known as 'The Spa of Kings.' Bad Worishofen is located in Bavaria and is known as the birthplace of the famous Kneipp water therapy.
At the time of my visit to Bad Worishofen, there were over 500 locations in the city offering some type of Kneipp water therapy treatment. Along with these hotels and spas, there were numerous parks with walking and riding paths offering opportunities to experience unique forms of the Kneipp therapies.
In addition to his approach of using water, or hydrotherapy, Father Kneipp added four other elements to his healing program. The additional elements included phytotherapy, or the healing power of plants and herbs; therapeutic exercise, which included passive treatment of muscles, massage of connective tissue and joints and active sports; nutrition, which was very important to him and included a diet of simple unprocessed foods that were 'pleasing to the eye, the palate and the stomach;' and finally, it was important to address any emotional problems. Addressing the emotional aspects, Kneipp followed the old adage, "Order is heaven's first law."
The Kneipp concept of order was that an individual understands their own biological rhythm as well as learns how to effectively face their problems, conflicts and any crisis in their life.
This is why, along with his therapies, Father Kneipp also established a healing environment that was uncomplicated, serene, peaceful and tranquil, which he believed would help an individual to find their proper balance in spirit, mind and body. Father Kneipp developed 'cures' to help with, arthritis, breathing problems, digestion, insomnia and many other health challenges.
When you arrive at Bad Worishofen, no matter what hotel or Kneipp center you stay at, the program begins with a visit with a regular medical doctor. The doctor listens to your history, gets an understanding of your basic nature and personality, and then prescribes a Kneipp program that is personalized to accomplish your goal of wellness.
I was very fortunate to work with the head physician of Bad Worishofen, who was overseeing all the spa doctors from the various establishments throughout the city. He told me that there were more than 100 different types of washings, soaks and wraps that were available at different centers throughout the city.
The systemic treatment for my entire body was done through hoses, with specific temperatures of water aimed at different parts of my body. Next I experienced foot and arm baths that were located in another part of the spa. The Kneipp therapies are not just cold-water treatments, they are washings, gentle or strong showers, baths, compresses and stream.
The various temperatures of the water stimulates circulation, and is supposed to aid in relaxation which helps build resistance to illness. 'Alternating hot and cold strengthens skin tissue and influences the organs connected to skin areas. The cardiovascular system is activated, the respiratory system, metabolism and digestion work in harmony.'
A very important ingredient of the Kneipp programs in Bad Worishofen is the concept that each visitor MUST HAVE FUN! What a great concept and one that I completely related to. The philosophy in Bad Worishofen is that therapies must be enjoyable, exercising must be enjoyable and the food you eat must be enjoyable. The idea is to completely relieve stress and allow the body to come back into balance and harmony.
In this short post I really have not done justice to all the ramifications of the Kneipp therapies and an entire city dedicated to the health of its visitors and citizens. In the 1990s, insurance companies in Germany paid their insureds to journey to Bad Worishofen at least every three years to maintain their health.
Sometimes the easy solution is the most profound.
To inspire and empower.