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Traditional Chinese Medical Therapy Adds to Austrian Hotel's Popularity

Larimar, a four-star spa hotel sitting atop a small hill in the southern Austrian town of Stegerbach, has been very popular since it started operation more than one year ago.

The hotel does not owe its success to luxury, neither comfort, nor competitive prices, for it can hardly compete with nearby rival five-star hotels, villa spa hotels or the cheaper public spahotels in these regards.

Yet, Larimar has managed to achieve almost daily full booking since September. Its secret, said manager Johann Haberl, lies in introducing traditional Chinese medical therapy to its services.

The hotel invited two kungfu (an ancient Chinese fighting art) masters from China to teach the guests Qigong (a system of deep breathing exercises) and Taiji boxing and perform traditional Chinese medical massage.

Meanwhile, Austrian health professionals on traditional Chinese medicine, Dr. Karin Gruen and Dr. Li Mei, were also invited to perform acupuncture and cupping therapy to guests.

Qigong is a system of healing and energy medicine from China. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy. Taiji, or shadowy boxing, is also a style of Qigong.

The newly introduced traditional Chinese medical therapy has become the most attractive feature for the guests, and offered desirable supplement to the hotel's comfortable environment and good facilities, said Haberl.

He said that about half of the guests have undergone various therapies, and over 90 percent of them reported some effects. In recent weeks, over 360 guests have registered to learn Qigong or Taiji, while another 300 have received acupuncture and massage treatment.

Haberl said these services have made Larimar the first Austrianhigh-grade spa hotel that provides authentic traditional Chinese medical therapy.

Friederike Fikisz from Lower Austria has lived with her husband in Larimar for five days, practicing Qigong with Master Liu from the famous Shaolin Temple and receiving daily acupuncture treatment.

Fikisz who suffered from backache for over two years, said his back improved a lot after a few treatment at the hotel.

The couple was very pleased with the improvement and said they will recommend the traditional Chinese medical therapy to their friends.

Haberl said his next step is to make the service a special feature of the hotel and expand services each year after his initial trial with traditional Chinese medical therapy proved to be a great success.

Haberl said that as China further opens to the outside world, the charm of its traditional culture, with traditional Chinese medical therapy an important part of that culture, will shine and become more popular in Austria.

(Xinhua News Agency November 3, 2008)

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