I’ve written several blogs about the cultural differences between the U.S., Germany and France, and the habits we can adopt to live happier, healthier lives. However, there is one huge cultural difference I’ve completely forgotten: a recent phone call with my grandmother brought up the topic of the kur.
A German kur is a type of resort therapy meant to recharge and heal the body and mind. It is used both as prevention and remedy for stress, physical pains and mental ailments.
Every several years, health insurance pays for a 4-week spa vacation. However, many Germans go on kur more often than that – doctors may prescribe them for back pain, to aid recovery from surgery, for depression or for digestive or metabolic problems. People then take a break from their everyday lives and focus on healing and rejuvenating the self.
So what happens at a kur? Each resort is different and offers a unique array of healing services. Some are renown for fresh air, beautiful climate and outdoor activities. Others offer massages, mud baths, mineral and thermal springs and acupuncture. Yet others offer delicious, health-conscious diet plans. Regardless of its focus, a kur is a type of self-focused treatment that acknowledges the importance of nurturing a healthy body and mind. It stems from a culture that understands that sometimes, people need time away to focus on themselves and that this healing cannot happen at home.
There is something to be said for this type of treatment, and a culture that accepts taking time for oneself without feeling selfish or ashamed.
Brookhaven Retreat offers a similar philosophy – it is a mental health facility that integrates the best ideas about a healing retreat into a medical facility: it offers detoxification, medication management and a variety of intensive therapies.
To this intense self-treatment it also adds self-care, relaxing nature trails, nutrition planning, daily exercise, delicious meals and a serene environment that allows women to take time away from their lives to focus on their unique needs free from shame or anxiety. Its focus is comprehensive: only by focusing on every aspect of life can women completely heal.
An understanding of the importance of introspection and self-care is fundamental to healing, as otherwise we tend to run until we burn out. Taking time out to listen to our bodies and minds, and respond to our needs however necessary, allows us to live lives of fulfillment and health.
Even when we don’t have time for a full self-care regimen, it is beneficial to take time out to check in on ourselves. What is your body or spirit telling you it needs? Respond by nurturing its request. This kind of attention is a type of self-love that keeps us in the best health possible. All we need to do is listen.