Hay baths: relax in Alta Pusteria

Not only hiking, climbing and walking ... even relaxation in the Pusteria Valley is serious! In South Tyrol it is customary to say that for every pain there is a natural remedy. One of these is certainly a source of well-being that is difficult to forget. The hay baths in Alta Pusteria are also a cultural heritage. In the past, South Tyrolean farmers used to rest after long labors in the fields on freshly cut hay: its properties are beneficial and soothing, reinvigorating tired muscles and strengthening the body.

The history of hay baths in Alta Pusteria goes back 200 years. Already the famous naturopath parish priest Sebastian Kneipp in 1896 describes the beneficial effects of hay from high altitude meadows, and it is precisely this notion of naturalistic medicine that has led to the rediscovery of the ancient tradition of hay baths. The hay bath is prepared with a mixture of natural herbs which are immersed in the slowly heated water to release the essential oils.

In the Pusteria Valley, the presence of all alpine pastures guarantees guests of the valley a particularly good hay, which comes from uncut fertilized meadows in South Tyrol, exclusively at altitudes above 1800 meters. In fact, only high mountain hay contains a natural mixture of precious herbs, flowers and various medicinal herbs (between 50 and 128 different species). When the grass and aromatic plants are at their maximum flowering, the meadows are mowed, the grass is dried, then brought downstream and stored there.

The hay, an hour before the treatment, is moistened to improve the beneficial action of the medicinal herbs on the body. Then it is distributed on a waterproof sheet stretched over the tub. An additional layer of wet and hot hay serves to cover the guest, in turn protected by a towel, before lowering it into the tub filled with hot water. Then it remains closed in this cocoon for about 25 minutes.

The scent of hay and the heat of the bath are a cure-all against tiredness and stress, eliminate toxins in the body and relieve pain in the limbs and back. In the peasant tradition, this practice was used to combat respiratory ailments, colds and rheumatic problems.

Being a must in this area, it will be easy to find specialized centers once arrived in Val Pusteria, many already active for this treatment since the 19th century, which will guarantee an unmissable experience without difficulty.