"A poor father suffered severe pain in his limbs. He did not know whether it was due to gout or to some other disease; he only felt excruciating pain that made him unable to work. It was just in the hay-making period. I advised him to go up to his hay barn, in which the hay was fermenting, to dig a kind of pit in the hot hay, and to cover himself up so that only his head would emerge. He did it and in a quarter of an hour he was sweating so much that his whole body was completely wet as if in water. The farmer had such a hay bath six times in ten days and it completely cured him."
This is what pastor Sebastian Kneipp wrote in his "water cure" from 1891, a standard work of naturopathy that has developed from popular medicine. It did not happen in South Tyrol, but knowledge of the healing power of hay flowers and the beneficial power of hay, which is warmed up by natural fermentation, has been widespread for a long time. The fact that today the area of the Dolomites - especially Völs am Schlern - is known for this form of thermal spa treatment can probably be explained by the long tradition of this healing method. And of course, also thanks to the special healing power of the herbs and grasses that only grow here - on the calcareous soils at high altitudes in the Dolomites - where they develop a comparatively high concentration of active ingredients.
In the brochure "The history of the Völs hay bath" you can read about the development of the hay bath as a home remedy for mountain farmers to modern therapy (refers to historical sources), and about the development of a simple farm to a specialized hotel, our Heubad Hotel.