Got a bad back? Go crawl in a haystack.

Hay, water, a large plastic bag and a wooden platform – this the modern way of having a hay bath.

100s of years ago when famers in the Tyrolean Alps had a sore back after a hard day in the fields they would crawl inside a hay stack, lay down and wait for the healing powers of the meadow herbs and the heat generated within the stack, to heal them.

However for those of us without a handy hay stack in the back garden there is an alternative – a hay bath. tried one at the Wiesenhof Hotel in Pertisau in Tyrol, Austria.

You lie on a wooden platform in a large bath. But rather than lying in water, you are actually floating on top of a large plastic bag filled with water – so it’s a watery sensation without the wetness. You are then covered in damp hay, which is considerably less prickly than dry hay. A damp sheet is wrapped around you and a number of towels and blankets keep you warm.

Once you are ready the platform is lowered away and you “float” in the encased water. There is a feeling of weightlessness and the mind and body begin to relax as the water heats up from 38 degrees to around 41 degrees.

For the next 25 minutes you lie floating in a bed of warm hay and meadow herbs. It’s quiet. It’s comforting. It’s relaxed. You’ll probably fall asleep.

The heat encourages you to sweat and the herbs help pull out toxins. The combination causes the muscles to relax and spasms to reduce.

I was quite disappointed when my time was up – I would happily have stayed there for much longer, cocooned in the warmth and breathing in the light scent of cut grass and wild flowers.

Like the majority of treatments at the Wiesenhof, the hay bath uses a local resource. The hay is grown in the mountain meadows and is cut by hand before being dried. Along with mineral salts and Stone Oil it’s a treatment that is unique to the local area and steeped in tradition.
So next time you mow the lawn remember that grass is good for more than just sitting on.

You can hear more about the natural treatments at the Wiesenhof in Tirol, Austria on PASSION for the PLANET radio

About the Author: Chantal Cooke is a professional journalist, travel writer, author and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET radio.

Listen to interviews with Johannes Entner from The Wiesenhof at PASSION for FRESH IDEAS

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