WELLNESS: A Wor l d Tou r of Spa B ota n ical s The treatment menu of a great spa is essentially a walk-in guidebook to healing botanicals. Here are a few of my favorites that really feature the local plants. by mary bemis
| G ER M A N Y |
A favorite jaunt of mine is the thermal spa town of Bad Wörishofen, the tiny Bavarian village where, beginning in the 1850s, Father Sebastian Kneipp practiced his world-renowned Kneipp Cure. His particular philosophy involved the use of hot- and cold-water therapies in combination with herbalism. Some of the herbs used included calendula, which acts as an anti-bacterial and antiinflammatory; juniper to soothe sore muscles; and valerian to promote a good night’s sleep. To this day, the many resort hotels and inns in this spa town offer treatments that use the original methods of Kneipp. Kneipp therapies are also available at many spas worldwide. Kneipp Herbal Bath Oils are sold at pharmacies and even come in handy travel sizes for a quick fix. Photos courtesy of Kneipp-Original Bad Wörishofen
| A US T RI A |
Not so far away and surrounded by the magnificent Alps, is the Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Going, Austria. Boasting the largest hotel saltwater pool in Europe, as well as a newly designed spa, the menu here nicely reflects the rich Alpine region. For example, the soothing Marigold Bath uses the nurturing herbal essential oil extracts of organic marigold and chamomile—a wonderful treatment for stressed and sensitive skin. Marigold, explains Maria Hauser, daughter of the Hauser family who own the spa, contains soothing and pain-relieving properties and helps calm irritated skin (an ideal treatment if you’ve had too much sun or have spent a long day hiking or skiing in the mountains). This common and colorful garden flower is found on many mountains, like those surrounding the Stanglwirt. Another cherished treatment at this spa is the Stanglwirt Signature Alpine Herb Pouch Massage, a deeply relaxing massage (especially beneficial for those dealing with insomnia) that begins with a re-energizing footbath and foot massage. The core of this treatment involves steam-heated herbal pouches that are gently used to massage. All of the herbs in the pouch come from the gardens of local farmers. There’s coltsfoot, valued as a respiratory disinfectant and cough suppressant, and used since the days of ancient Greece and Rome to relieve asthma and bronchial congestion; pepper-root, boasting antibacterial properties, in addition to having tonic, stimulant, analgesic and carminative (anti-gas) properties; sage, rich in antioxidants and important nutrients, such as Photos courtesy of Hotel Stanglwirt vitamin K, and valued throughout history for a wide range of uses in both cooking and medicine; peppermint, known to help digestion and relied upon for cold and flue relief; as well as a variety of blackberry, strawberry and raspberry leaves—high in vitamin C and trace minerals and believed to have healing properties for many ailments, including colds and skin rashes. stanglwirt.com
Published on Jul 25, 2014
Explore France, Italy, China, Maldives and some of the best places to travel this summer in Ker & Downey's Summer issue of QUEST magazine.