In Germany, the word "Kneippen" usually refers to walking knee deep through cold water with the aim of stimulating blood flow and boosting the immune system. The country has over 700 Kneipp centres, with countless other Kneipp pools in spas and thermal baths. But there is much more to the philosophy of the priest and naturopath Sebastian Kneipp than just walking through water. People have been following Kneipp's principles, the elements of which also include herbs, nutrition, inner balance and exercise, for over 150 years. The goal of the philosophy is to create harmony between mind, body and soul. Kneipp saw this as the key to good health. If that sounds interesting to you, then why not pay a visit to the home of this world-famous naturopath in Bad Wörishofen. A spa town that owes its success to one man.
Oases of calm in the spa gardens and Kneipp forest path
Visitors to the extensive spa gardens can enjoy the oldest fountain in the town and clear their airways at the salt wall. The gardens are just 15 minutes' walk from the station. If you prefer a more active start the day, you can work up a sweat on the 2.5-kilometre activity path at the southern edge of the park. A series of 20 different exercise stations provide the perfect opportunity to train your strength and stamina in the fresh air. If you prefer more of a relaxed stroll, the tranquil Kneipp forest path starting at the car park of the activity path offers an informative and regenerating walk through the woods of Bad Wörishofen. Along the way, you can find out more about the local flora and fauna, as well as Kneipp's healing philosophy, which you can also experience yourself. The exercise island, for example, encourages visitors to relax their muscles, while the ten stations of the calorie path provide useful information about a healthy and balanced diet.
There is also a very special playground for families right next to the forest path – the home of forest creatures. At this small clearing in the middle of the wood, children can dig for treasure with gnomes in the sandbox, ride the stone-carved dragon or climb over rocky troll heads. Children and adults alike can also learn here about the history and significance of myths and legends in German culture.
Relaxing at the spa
After an active morning surrounded by the beauty of nature, the spa in Bad Wörishofen is the perfect place to relax. It not only offers impressive architecture with its glass roof, but also a wide range of sports and family pools, as well as a thermal and sauna area. There are also special themed events like "1001 nights", "Mediterranean" or "A journey of meditation". But this temple to all things water would not be complete without an introduction to Kneipp's philosophy and a place to experience it. Experts are on hand to give regular tips on how to correctly apply Kneipp's methods, which you can try out for yourself in the walking pool or by applying cold spurts of water.
At the Freibadam Sonnenbüchl open-air swimming pool, you can explore Kneipp's element of movement in water under a clear blue sky . The pool offers plenty of fun for all the family, regardless of swimming ability. To relax, why not then lie down under one of the many large trees? There is also a drinking fountain to help you refresh your body from the inside as you leave the pool.
The Kneipp Museum at the Dominican monastery – tracing the origins of Sebastian Kneipp's philosophy
If you are interested in finding out more about the theories and background behind Sebastian Kneipp's healing philosophy, visit the Kneipp Museum in the east wing of the historic Dominican monastery. As well as Kneipp's original living quarters from the 1890s, the museum is home to over 2,000 items that tell the story of the "water doctor" and his methods. Visitors can also learn about his successes and the five pillars of the Kneipp philosophy.
The monastery garden can be accessed from the museum in the summer and offers five topic areas detailing the individual elements of Kneipp's naturopathy. These provide whole new perspectives on the methods of natural healing, which visitors can also experience themselves in the garden. There is a spring fountain representing the healing power of water, for example, and a small selection of exercise equipment that invites visitors to get active.
Experiencing nature up close on a walk around Bad Wörishofen
Bad Wörishofen also has plenty to offer fans of walking and hiking, and is easy to reach by foot. Along the 24 kilometres of the Kaufbeuren route, nature lovers can walk through lush green meadows, idyllic streams and shady woods. On the way, the market village of Irsee, with its monastery, guesthouses and art galleries is also worthwhile. In Wörthbach, you will find a Kneipp walking pool for healing refreshment on a hot day.