Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kneipping in Switzerland

The health-conscious Swiss have embraced the water cure and health philosophy of German Priest Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897).  Kneipp (pronounced k-nipe) understood the connection between mind and body and promoted the use of medicinal herbs, exercise, a whole foods diet, a healthy mind, and his most enduring legacy –hydrotherapy. Kneipp’s book, My Water Cure, was published in 1886!

Walking barefoot through water or on wet grass, stones, or snow was one of Kneipp’s simple yet effective techniques. A thoughtful and observant man, Kneipp saw the benefits of his”cure” but also understood that each person required variations and degrees on his theme.  

There are numerous Kneipp routes and spas offering Kneipp "cures" throughout Switzerland (and Germany). At the numerous thermal baths around Switzerland you will find shallow cold water pools often between the large warm pools that you are meant to walk trough a-la Kneipp to get your circulation and lymph flowing.

You can go Kneipping or walking on a Kneippweg. In Blitzingen, south of Bern and Luzern, you can walk the NaturKneippweg through streams and meadows - it is considered to be the longest natural Kneipp path in Switzerland. 

In Grachen, a village in the Matterhorn Valley, there is a public Kneipp "garden" about a fifteen minute walk from the town with stone lined pools designed for Kneipp leg and arm immersions in cool (well let's face it- cold) water. Two hotels in the area specialize in Kneipp cures and can help you develop your Kneipping skills. These are Hotel zum See with access to the Kneipp garden as well as their own spa and the Hotel Stutz, a dedicated no-smoking hotel.

Happy Kneipping!

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