At the “Waibelhof” near Gunzesried, the guests of Christine Waibel-Beer enjoy the calming experience of water affusions, dew treading, barefoot walking, whey baths and saunas
Health expert Christine Waibel-Beer
The sun’s first rays shine through the tops of the trees. The air smells of freshly-mown grass. Six pairs of feet trample through the ankle-high meadow. They can feel the morning dew on their soles. This form of hydrotherapy is known as “dew walking” and is a Kneipp application. Going barefoot invigorates the immune system, helps guard against headaches, strengthens the muscles of the foot and reduces stress.
Principles of the Kneipp therapy
The group breathes in the fresh morning air then makes its way back to the Waibelhof. This AlpenWellness hotel is housed in a 300 year-old farmhouse around 1000 m above sea level on the sunny side of the Gunzesried valley. Since 1998 this rustic hotel has been a certified and recognised centre for the Kneipp Cure.
“Water is an elixir of life” explains Christine Waibel-Beer, health trainer and owner of the Waibelhof. 200 years ago, the Allgäu priest Sebastian Kneipp developed a gentle healing therapy in harmony with nature. The Kneipp Cure is based on five pillars: water, herbs, diet, exercise and balance. Hydrotherapy plays a big role. Healing water applications include treatments such as water affusions, water treading and dew walking.
„Water is an elixir of life“
Kneipp Cure in the Waibelhof
In the Waibelhof, guests are slowly introduced to the Kneipp Cure. Dew walking, knee affusions and water treading are well suited to beginners. Whole body affusions require a little practice and effort. “The water is below 10 degrees,” explains Christine Waibel-Beer. “The aim is to deliberately tolerate the smooth mantle of cold that wraps itself around your skin.” Those who dare to immerse themselves initially feel a tingling sensation on their skin followed by a pleasant warmth as the blood pulses through their veins, leaving their skin with a rosy glow.
In a world that is increasingly digitised and hectic, many people crave simple, sensual experiences such as these. At the Waibelhof they find what they are looking for: relaxation, healthy air and contact with nature. “We embrace a primal lifestyle that is close to nature, rooted in the history of the mountain farm but also open to modern forms of therapy - in other words, traditionally different.”
Mountain scenery and idylls reminiscent of Heidi
A couple of guests have gathered under the old lime tree in the farmyard. Like the whole farm, the mighty “Tree of Peace” exudes an unwavering sense of calm. Utterly content, the people are standing in its shade looking out at the surrounding landscape and doing - nothing at all. “Life here is a little reminiscent of Heidi,” smiles Christine Waibel-Beer. “Our valley is characterised by agriculture and Alpine farming.”
Kneipp therapy at the Waibelhof is pure relaxation – with no frills and totally at one with nature. “Our farm is a place to slow down, ideal for free spirits and people who love the individual,” declares the lady of the house.
Find out more about Christine and the Waibelhof waibelhof.de
... from Christine
The Kässpatzen is legendary in all three of our dairy Alpine meadows: Gerstenbrändle, Derp and Oberberg. We have 60 or 70 Alpine meadows in this valley, some of which are dairy farms that make their own mountain cheese. A few organise special Kässpatzen evenings between May and October.
A hike on Steineberg
I really enjoy going climbing - for example, on the Steineberg, which is part of the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park. With every metre I climb, I get better views and see more and more of the world around me. On a clear day I can even see as far as the Zugspitze and the Säntis in the Swiss Alps.
In late summer it’s time for the Viehscheid, when the cattle are driven back down the mountain to their farms in the valley. If man and beast have made it through the Alpine summer unscathed, the cattle are specially decorated. It’s a wonderful experience and a great spectacle when the animals are driven down to Gunzesried.