History

In the book “Planet Alpen” the historian and Alps researcher Prof. Dr. Hans Haid writes of theKnight Freiherr von Alpenburg, who in 1858 sought, researched and kept notes as he made his way through the mountains and valleys of the Ötz Valley Alps:“His richly detailed and sometimes poetic and romantic, then again precise and realistic description of the land and its people still belongs among the most important written accounts of this countryside. Nowhere else in the homegrown Alpine literature and travel accounts have I uncovered such exceptional insights into glaciers and ice by a natural scientist.”

The Knight Freiherr von alpenburg

An excerpt from the writings of the Knight Freiherr von Alpenburg reads: “For science he builds a hut in the world of eternal ice. He knows that this apparently dead and rigid area contains a hidden secret life force of which one still today knows neither the shape nor the rules . . . now he only has old folktales and newer observataions from guides, shepherds and other people who have contact with the glaciers: As soon as grouchy and mute or taciturn outsiders cross the glaciers and came to the thick ice passages they became cheerful and talkative; indeed, even older people jumped around happily like young boys, . . . As a result of such stories, the habits of some shepherds can be explained that when they feel unwell, they need to stretch out on thick, pure Ferner ice or linger in its ice ravines for a longer period of time in order to “refresh” and become healthy again . . . . ” Alpenburg describes several cases, such as that of Jakob Gallmeier from the year 1837, the doctor Anton Götsch from Tschars in 1848 or the Schnals-born Johann Platter in 1856, who all were unwell and with the help of the “ice cures” were frozen healthy “In this way, the people of Naturns and Sonnenberg gain ever more confidence and some poor shepherd huts put up a patient. . . “

 

Georg Götsch: Observer of glaciers and doctor

In 1864 Götsch wrote: “ever more man wants the full benefits of the glacier. Even if the pure, light air and the fresh springs in the Alps are beneficial for most people, a certain degree of exhaustion sets in during dry, warm weather conditions, as the reduced air pressure leads to a significant amount of evaporation of moisture in the air during the day. When close to a glacier, however, where through the strong evaporation and radiating cooling effects a good amount of freshness and moisture is always maintained, this exhaustion and weariness never takes hold; thus, one’s metabolism and with it ones appetite is always boosted, breathing is easier, movement practically without feeling tired, more longing, dreamless sleep and one’s spirit is free; yes, with the view of the magnificent natural surroundings in a nearly perpetual poetic atmosphere. As soon as the period of acclimatization of the first eight days has passed, not only healthy people feel refreshed when near the glacier in summer and enjoy life completely without fatigue, but rather such a stay on the glacier can also, under certain conditions, contribute to an improvement and perfecting of one’s overall health. It may even be, given my own experience and observations, that for a growth hindered, young individual, for some weaker natures as well as for such people where so-called change in predisposition is reported as necessary that there is no more suitable place, no cheaper asylum or institution can be found than a six to ten week stay near of a glacier, with such light and fresh air, fresh springs and above all with the fat and extremely nourishing goat milk, especially those glaciers which reach down into the valley basins, such as those in Sulden and Pitz Valley. Indeed, external ailments have been quickly healed through the influence of the glacier such as frostbite, stubborn foot sores, rosacea, and many more, by keeping the diseased part either on or in the close vicinity of the glacial ice several times over. It could be that beside the coldness other conditions are at play here, namely the ability of glacial ice to draw out oxygen and through it to de-oxygenate the body; thus, metallic objects in and on the glacier are always found pure, and the bodies of animals turn likewise entirely white in the crevasses of the glacier in a short amount of time.

* Rosacea - Acne rosacea: Chronic skin condition which produces painful sores on the skin of the face only. Usually it begins on the nose and extends to the adjoining areas of the face such as the cheeks and forehead.


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