Medical spa a utopia to heal body and mind

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Medical spa a utopia to heal body and mind

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Left to right: Parkhotel Bayersoein offers mud bath treatments after medical checkups; the hotel has numerous fitness programs including yoga classes for its guests; Dr. Franziska Fehle-Friedel, left, and Wolfgang Friedel, formerly a lawyer, own this medical wellness hotel right by the Soeir Lake in Bad Bayersoien, Bavaria, Germany. Provided by the hotel

BAD BAYERSOIEN, Germany - In Bavaria, in the southeast of Germany, there are seven Unesco World Heritage Sites, including prehistoric pile-dwelling settlements and the beautiful Pilgrimage Church of Wies, one of the most famous rococo churches in the world.

It is also the location of a small village with a population of just over a thousand called Bad Bayersoien.

The German term “bad” refers to bathhouse.

By 1972, there was just one public spa left in this picturesque village that offers a panoramic view of the Alps. But it, too, was doomed to close, so the mayor began searching for someone to purchase it.

“For more than 12 years, the mayor went looking for an investor but couldn’t find one because the village was too small,” said Wolfgang Friedel, who bought the spa in 1989.

“Everybody in the village said we were crazy.”

“They said we wouldn’t make it in this small village and that we’d go bankrupt after one or two years.”

But Friedel, who used to be a lawyer, and his wife, a doctor, was confident in what they were about to do, and in 1990 they opened Parkhotel Bayersoien, a medical hotel.

Friedel said the couple wanted to work together and thought it would be possible by operating a hotel with a good health department.

“So we instantly got a special permission from the country’s health insurance and other related offices and we were able to open a special medical hotel here,” Friedel said.

“After opening the hotel in 1990, we were still in business after five years. We were still here after 10 years so the villagers’ minds changed,” he added. “Now they don’t say that we were crazy to buy the property. Now they say we bought the best part of the village.”

Surrounded by flowering meadows and moorlands right by the picturesque Soier lake, even the truly sick could be cured without medical help in this atmosphere.

Friedel says that’s what the medical team of 12 at the hotel aim for - to allow patients to take a rest in peaceful surroundings, eat good food and exercise while receiving appropriate treatment.

Guests can consult an in-house doctor and receive checkups to determine what sort of treatment they should receive, such as the hotel’s representative mud bath. It uses Bad Bayersoien mountain pine mud, which they say is “an ancient natural product that’s one of the best medical and scientific explored moors.”

For those who are on detox programs like the F.X.-Mayr, there’s even a special restaurant in the hotel where they are served special meals and herbal teas.

Although the couple is from Franconia, in the northwest of Bavaria, the hotel’s interior design is reminiscent of southern Africa.

“We got the whole idea of running a medical hotel while we were in Biafra, the former Nigeria,” said Friedel. “My wife was there working at a hospital during the Biafran War.”

Although the two came back to Germany, they wanted to dedicate many areas of the hotel to southern Africa. They have one restaurant corner serving African food and a spa area with an African atmosphere. The couple said they still visit countries in the continent at least once a year.

“It may look like we are just one of those hotels with wellness programs, but there’s a big difference,” Friedel said.

“When you go to wellness centers in a hotel, anyone can get a spa or a massage regardless of their health conditions. What we offer is customized wellness plus health treatments that suits that very one guest or patient.”

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE[sharon@joongang.co.kr]






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