You’ve probably heard about the European baths and spas. They’re an entire institution, usually situated in resort surroundings—mountains, woods and lakes—and include hotel facilities, gourmet restaurants, casinos, even orchestras in addition to the hot springs, mineral waters, steam baths, mud packs and herbal wraps. People here talk of "taking a cure;" a physical renewal in felicitous surroundings. The "Kurparks" include medical personnel who prescribe a customized therapeutic regime.
It should be realized that doctors here believe much more in homeopathic medicine than in the U.S.—instead of an antibiotic, you are likely to get a vitamin shot. (Pets too, we discovered. Unfortunately, Crumpet, our cat who reached the age of 19½ , won’t be charming the stewardesses during our return. However, no "modern" medicine could have cured her main ailment, old age.)
The potential benefits of a cure are accepted by the health insurance companies, I found out when I asked why I hadn’t recently seen the BFS secretary assigned to the ASIM project. He’s a robust-looking individual whose office features several large photographs of him hang-gliding in the nearby hills. He’s taking a cure, I was told. The standard cure prescription is for 4 weeks and is said to be easily attainable. If at the end of that time one suggests to the doctor that although one is feeling better, perhaps a little longer would complete the process, another 2 weeks is nearly automatic. You can’t do this at will, however—only once every two years! (Visualize the MITRE health plan providing 6 weeks at the Greenbrier every two years; of course only if necessary for medical reasons!)
Although the general philosophy of the cure is accepted, I was told that it wasn’t politically advisable for managers to take advantage of its benefits.
When it seemed that at least 6 weeks had passed, but I still hadn’t seen the secretary, I asked about him. I found out that he was now taking vacation! (Six weeks per year.)