The benefits and applications of Kneipp Therapeutics
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An Introduction to Kneipp Therapeutics
Kneipp therapeutics are named for Sebastian Kneipp – considered to be one of the fathers to ‘naturopathy’ for developing a set of holistic treatments that have long been adopted in Europe, particularly in his native Germany and its spa towns. Kneipp’s systems of therapeutic interventions are believed to contribute to improvements in blood circulation, heart rhythms, menopausal and other endocrine related symptoms, sleep regulation, and immune system function.
“Nature is the best pharmacy”
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Affusions: Kneipp Therapeutics
The Five Pillars of Kneipp Therapeutics
- Hydrotherapy (healing through water – warm and cold)
- Phytotherapy (medicinal plants infused in bathing water as well as herbal infusions for drinking, and the application of herbal ointments)
- Exercise – used to enhance the effects of hydrotherapy
- Nutrition – carefully considered, ‘plant-forward’
- Inner Order/Lifestyle regulation – balance and harmonising mind, body and soul
All the interventions can work to support each other, and all are understood to have both preventative and restorative capacities
- Strengthening the body’s natural resources and cardiovascular system
- Giving the blood vessels a good workout
- Boosting metabolism
- Balancing the ‘autonomic’ nervous system as it regulates: heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, digestion.
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Kneipp Hydrotherapeutic Applications
Kneipp’s many hydrotherapies rely on water as a good conductor of thermal effects. The temperature variations are perceived by the skin and translated into the internal systems of the body. The applications sub-divide into ‘Warm’, ‘Cold’, and ‘Contrast’.
37ºC–40ºC: warmth calms and soothes the body, slowing down the activity of internal organs. It is used to soothe and relieve tension in the body.
Stimulates and invigorates the body and increases internal activity. It is used to treat inflammation (hip and knee joints), vein disorders (blood circulation), and as a facial beauty treatment (to improve circulation and firm skin cells)
Alternating warm, lukewarm and/or cold water helps both to reduce stress and to stimulate the body and mind. The contrast is used to invigorate the blood-vessels, nerves, skin, and internal organs and works to stimulate the immune and endocrine system, and to enhance the workings of the heart – the stimulation of the blood vessels is also believed to enhance the condition of the skin and to increase the well-being of the body as a whole.
Contrast applications using the affusion pipe work by applying warm water (a few minutes), then cold water (a few seconds) on either arms or feet.
Can be either (or both) stimulating and calming, depending on the medicinal plants that are added to the bathing water
Cold Arm Bath
A ‘kneipp espresso’ – very refreshing – a ‘pick-me-up’ to aid concentration
Described as an ‘early application’ (between 5am and 6am – when benefits can be gained from relaxed muscle tone). The unclothed body is washed with a linen glove that has been immersed in cold water. Nightwear is then replaced before returning to bed. Nicely wrapped up in bed linen and pj’s, the body warms up immediately, enabling a deeply restorative sleep immediately afterward.
- Balances mental and autonomic system swings (ie heart-rate, breathing, blood flow, digestion)
- Strengthens immune system
- Improves blood circulation for the skin