Exhaustion, stress, back and neck pain: How classic cures can help with modern complaints caused by the corona pandemic.

The corona pandemic has made many people aware of the value of health again. But not only the consequences of a corona infection lead to impairments, but also a lack of exercise in the lockdown or stress up to burnout due to the double burden of working from home and homeschooling are noticeable. In an interview, Peter Berek, Chairman of the Bavarian Health Spas Association, talks about the trend towards classic cures and the requirements that have to be met in order to get such a permit.

The corona pandemic led to a new health awareness in many people. Will this also increase the demand for spas and spas?

Peter Berek: There are no exact figures yet, but in certain areas, such as parent-child cures, family-oriented rehabilitation or rehabilitation cures after corona disease, the number of inquiries is increasing. In general, the awareness of doing something for one’s own health and integrating this into a holiday trip has increased.

How challenging have the past pandemic years been for your industry?

Berek: In many places, the lockdown meant a catastrophe for the health resorts and the thermal baths and companies there, and securing the existence took away the space for strategic plans for the future. Loss of income and even operation under conditions with a maximum capacity utilization of 25 percent brought many companies into financial difficulties. Evaluations of the Luca app have shown that the thermal baths, for example, are not a pandemic driver. On the contrary: Our spas and health resorts serve the health so often cited during the pandemic and are therefore part of the solution.

Many people are complaining about the health effects of the pandemic. Lack of exercise, back and neck pain and psychological problems have increased. How can health resorts and spas help here?

Berek: The offers of the health resorts and spas start precisely with these complaints. With local remedies – here in Bavaria we have moor, brine, mineral, thermal and sulfuric iodine water and a non-irritating healing climate – as well as the local health experts, there are tailor-made programs, often in combinations. Because back pain in particular is very often associated with mental overload. Therefore, programs with holistic support are also offered, which also include helpful tips for implementing a lifestyle change at home. An example here is the program developed with Philipp Lahm

Which traditional remedies are particularly suitable for these modern clinical pictures?

Berek: Our local remedies are very versatile. For example, moor, which has impressive healing powers: it relieves discomfort in the muscular area caused by tension, but also joint problems caused by rheumatism, arthritis and arthrosis or gout. In addition, the ingredients in the moor have been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the body, thereby reducing states of exhaustion and stress. Mineral and thermal water or brine are also very versatile: thermal water is used to alleviate complaints of the musculoskeletal system, but also to reduce stress. Brine also has positive effects on the respiratory tract and can help many patients with lung problems – whether caused by Covid-19 or allergies.

In times of the corona pandemic, interest in Kneipp has increased again, what makes the classic naturopathic treatment so special?

Berek: Many associate Kneipp with treading water and cold water showers. But it is so much more. The program that Sebastian Kneipp developed in the mid-19th century is more up-to-date than ever and supports the demands of our modern times. Because the holistic approach of the Kneipp cure consists of five elements: the use of stimulating water showers, moderate exercise, observing a conscious diet, the use of medicinal herbs and looking at your own inner balance. Kneipp thus corresponds to today’s trends from “Clean Eating” and “Slow Food” to natural remedies and self-care.

What requirements must be met in order to have a doctor prescribe a course of treatment?

Berek: Since June 21, 2021, outpatient spa treatment has again been a mandatory benefit in statutory health insurance. An application must be submitted in coordination with the general practitioner. The doctor must provide a comprehensive justification for the necessity of the spa measure and enclose it with the application. Whether compact cure, outpatient rehabilitation or preventive cure, inpatient cure or parent-child cure: The types of cures offered are tailored to the needs. It is therefore necessary to coordinate with your family doctor in order to select the right course of treatment.

How much time should you plan at least for a stay?

Berek: Every day you invest in health is a day gained! Therefore, even short stays over a long weekend are worthwhile. If you want to achieve long-term effects, you should of course bring more time with you. The Bavarian health resorts and spas offer many one-week to three-week programs. Treatments that are subsidized by your health insurance are usually designed for three weeks.