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Christina Haubrich and Dr Armin Dörr got together for a talk at a particularly "productive" location: the WALA medicinal herb garden.
Photo: Christine Joos
First of all, I have to say I'm really enthusiastic about the WALA medicinal herb garden. It typifies mindfulness and working in harmony with nature.
Most people associate Kneipp with water. That's seeing things too narrowly – every element is important. Kneipp is a philosophy for a very modern and good way of life: exercise, healthy eating, hardening to strengthen the immune system, but also a certain regulative therapy. What does people good? In reality, a modern health philosophy.
Absolutely. Our remedies are also targeted at this impulse towards self-healing.
The topic of powers of self-healing is so important. On the other hand, though, we shouldn't believe that we've done something wrong if we become ill. Illnesses are part of life. But particularly in the case of illnesses caused by environmental factors such as a lot of stress, too little sleep or an unhealthy and unbalanced diet, we can do a lot ourselves to get healthy again and also to remain healthy.
The pandemic has shown us that our health system has limits, and here I see a lot of potential in promoting preventive measures so that people and their immune systems are strong enough for them to cope with what's coming.
One of the catastrophes at the beginning of the COVID pandemic was that sports clubs were closed down so quickly, and outdoor sports as well. Especially for children, where obesity is on the rise. Seen in the long term that's a real health problem. Which brings us to the next topic – healthy nutrition.
I see everything getting more expensive at the moment, which is a big problem for families. In percentage terms we spend too little on food, but as long as housing is so expensive how are families supposed to cope?
Good nutrition starts in nursery, which is why we have our programme for nurseries. There are now over 400 day care centres recognised by the Kneipp Association that introduce children to a healthy lifestyle through play.
Nursing is also a disseminator for both of our issues. When I look at the hospitals, the appropriate remedies, for example in pain therapy, have almost always come in through nursing. Perhaps because this profession is closer to the patient. This requires time and patience though, which unfortunately is rare these days. Application is care.
A very good example is the Clinic for Naturopathy in Harlaching, one of the leading integrative medicine hospitals in Germany. They work with essential oils, wraps, etc.
That's what people want, and that's often overlooked when criticism is made.
Two who have a lot in common.
Photo: Christine Joos
What would be your most important issue if you were to become the Federal Minister of Health?
The most important topic for me would be prevention, no question about that. That can be seen simply from a financial point of view. If people don't get sick in the first place, I also save the most money. I can't fathom why more emphasis isn't placed on that. So much can be done by simple means.
We have so many other important issues in the health sector. Climate change and health for example. If we don't treat our planet well we'll get many more viruses like the current one. It all centres on how we treat each other and how we treat the environment, and we as humans are part of that. In that respect, I'm now increasingly in combat mode.
I also find it incredibly arrogant when people say that integrative medicine is no good when two thirds think it does them good. It's something that simply can't be ignored.
That's also our demand to the politicians. The need is there, but much more research is needed. We as a company can't do it alone. And it's why we're so pleased here in Baden-Württemberg that the state government, as in Bavaria, wants to set up professorships to conduct research.
It also needs multimodal therapy concepts. It's never just the remedy alone, but the combination with care, with the application. Supporting this scientifically and evaluating the benefits of these therapy concepts is what we need and what we are committed to.
In the hospitals, though, there's unfortunately a massive focus on which therapies are profitable. That takes us back to the fundamental question: is health an economic system? Which of course opens up an even wider debate.
WALA is also special in this respect as a foundation-owned company. We're very fortunate that the WALA Foundation not only allows us, but even dictates, that we carry this idea into the future.
It's high time for a fundamental reform of our health system. We need a health system that's clearly aligned to the needs of people. The concept of prevention must be placed much more in the centre in order to get to grips with all our civilisation-related diseases.
Together with the Kneipp Association, we have produced an excellent video, also set in our medicinal herb garden, about the power of medicinal herbs.
TEXT: Corinna Maliske