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Father Sebastian Kneipp
Of all barefoot Nature cures, the most renowned was the one initiated by the Bavarian pastor, Father Sebastian Kneipp, whose influence survives into this age of antibiotics. Father Kneipp had his interest kindled in youth by a chance reading of a hydropathist manual of Hahn. When studying for the priesthood in Munich he found that a fellow candidate with a similar ailment had been refused the health certificate without which a priest could not officiate, on the ground that his days were numbered. In some desperation the two men applied themselves to Hahn's manual and both regained their health. Thereafter in every parish to which he was sent, Father Kneipp practised the water cure, as modified by himself. In 1854 he became known as the 'cholera vicar' as a result of saving many lives in a village epidemic. His growing fame embarrassed his Dominican masters, who made him almoner of a convent at Wörishofen; but soon he was treating not only local peasants but Austrian grand dukes and French noblemen. All were ordered to walk barefoot in the morning dew. In 1890 arrived Baron Nathaniel Rothschild, with a retinue of cook, secretary and two servants. Those who rose early enough were rewarded by the sight of the Baron strolling bareheaded and barefooted in a near-by meadow. Father Kneipp is supposed to have told the Baron, at his first consultation, that a man of his type needed two stomachs.
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Many of the treatments he adopted followed closely those of Priessnitz and were intended to purge the blood of toxins. The pastor was a burly, bushy-browed, sharp-eyed man who, like Priessnitz, had a gift for reading human nature. Though he always hoped to limit the flood of patients, they poured in by every route, even by special excursion trains from Munich having all the features of a pilgramage.  Father Kneipp also had a system of special foot baths: with hay flowers, for wounds and boils; with oatmeal, for corns; and with malt husk, for gout and rheumatism. Though he believed that the race had grown degenerate and effeminate, he was in the main against heroic measures - 'for cleansing the blood, why use a fire engine?'    Smokh
Father Kneipp died in 1897, by which time the barefoot method had spread to many parts of the world. Walking in the dew became a fad even in Central Park, New York. The Kneipp method had a high level of success, as must any system depending on the encouragement of simple diet, open-air exercise and the use of plenty of water within and without. The pastor's cure was practised in dozens of spas and sanatoria in Europe, even in the sophisticated bath-houses of Baden Baden. The nature philosophy tended to attract not only 'fresh-air fiends', 'food faddists' and devotees, but humanitarians, rationalists, socialists, anti-vaccinationists, anti-vivisectionists, herbalists, naturopaths, and osteopaths. It was the magnet for those who thought the health of the race was being undermined by refined foods and developing modern conveniences.