July 23 2010
I first came across Kneipp when I received a boxed set of herbal bath oils one Christmas. It contained five small (15ml) bottles designed to alleviate specific symptoms – for example, Juniper for easing tired muscles, Rosemary to invigorate, and Melissa to relax. One of my favourites was Orange & Linden Blossom, which I found particularly soothing, both physically and mentally. I’ve subsequently bought larger 100ml bottles of this blend and also the highly potent Lavender which acts, I find, as a de-stressor and sleep enhancer. In winter, I use Eucalyptus when I have a fluey cold and find that it helps to clear my head.
I’ve now discovered the back-story to Kneipp, a company co-founded by a priest, Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), who combined his researches into the healing power of water and medicinal plants with his own belief in the holistic power of exercise, diet and a balanced lifestyle to achieve optimum well-being. His systematic teaching – Kneipp therapy – forms the core of natural, holistic medicine, and I hear that if you visit the spa village of Bad Wörishofen in the Bavarian Alps (in whose monastery Kneipp carried out his research) every hotel and guesthouse offers the Kneipp cure.
Fortunately there’s no need to travel that far because the company, which is based in Würzburg, Germany, exports its products internationally. Apart from herbal bath oils, there are bath salts, shower and bath gels, cleansers and skincare. Kneipp’s website has a list of international distributors whom you may need to contact if you can’t track down the products locally. Happily I found mine in a local independent chemist and return frequently to stock up.
Set of five bath oils, around £12.