The Slovenia Times

Book honours Rikli's contribution to Bled health tourism


Rikli (1823-1906) was a well-known healer who established baths, walking paths, accommodation facilities and his own hospital at Bled. Despite that, he was at the time often accused of being a quack due to the disagreements with traditional doctors and his reputation of being a misfit.

The gradual acceptance and progress of alternative medicine restored his reputation and ensured his efforts are nowadays admired all over the world.

"Retracing the Footsteps of Arnold Rikli" by Vojko Zavodnik portrays Rikli as a true pioneer of alternative medicine and of Bled health tourism in particular.

It is intended for natural healing researchers, historians, tourist workers, and everybody else who would like to take a peek into the life of the Bled tourism trailblazer.

Zavodnik's 360-page long monograph on Rikli retraces his life - from his younger days and his healing tourism beginnings at Bled to the success of his venture and his death.

It also focuses on his legacy, the concept of well-being, known as 'Riklianism', and proposes ways of marketing that to reintroduce upscale tourism to Bled.

Zavodnik based the book on primary sources, such as diaries, family accounts and letters, and uncovered many new, possibly revolutionary findings which could change the way Rikli's life is seen.

Despite the stories about him being an eccentric person and keeping to himself, Rikli was actually more successful in his treatments than trained doctors of that era.

Modern medicine agrees with his methods of prevention, but warns that his sun-air-water therapy should serve only as an addition to conventional medicine, said the head of the Bled medical centre Leopold Zornik.

The book's publication was supported by the Bled culture institute, the organiser of the Rikli's Walk, which commemorates his legacy through reviving his various treatment methods, such as barefoot exercising, healthy vegetarian meals, hiking the hills above Bled, and swimming in Bled Lake.

There is also Rikli's room at the castle Bled, dedicated to his life and work.


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