Austrian Spas By Hannelore Leavy

By Hannelore Leavy, Chair, Advisory Board, The Day Spa Association

As any European country, Austria has its share of spas. “Bad” is the first word in many Austrians towns and villages, referring to “bath," meaning bathing and drinking the local mineral waters, which help many ailments and assist in recuperation from illnesses and accidents.

Traditions live on at Austrian spas, even today. The Austrian health care system still believes in the healing powers of the mineral waters, and the two-or-three week “kur” is still be prescribed by family physicians and paid for by health insurance.

Quite a number of Austrian spas have, as early as in the late 1970s, started to implement modern techniques, such as light and color therapy (Schloss Lebenberg in Kitzbuehel, Tyrol), and diet and exercise (Kurhotel in Warmbad Villach, Carinthia), which was unheard at European spas until the turn of the century. Other techniques include specialized fasting cures (Mayr Kur) and bio-farming, now called "organic," was already in place and thriving in the early 1980s in many villages throughout this small Alpine nation. Actually, Austria was, and still is, one of the top destinations for health and pleasure vacations for the active-minded, as well as the health-seeking traveler. Its spas are also a great starting place to consider complementary and alternative medicine, under the supervision of the spa doctor that presides over every spa village.

For more information, contact the Austrian National Tourist Office.