There is a relaxed atmosphere in the swimming pool. In a small pool are children with colorful pool noodles. Jacob is one of them. He is five years old – and seems deeply relaxed, while lying almost weightless in the water. His head and feet are held by two osteopaths. Because therapy is going on here. Jacob has DiGeorge syndrome, a little known but not uncommon genetic defect. For Jakob, this means that he is severely delayed in his development.
A facility that is unique in Germany
He came to Oberfranken with his mother Anja Pohl to calm down, recharge their batteries and also to receive compact osteopathic treatments. The first osteopathic children’s center opened here in Bad Alexandersbad last year. A facility not found anywhere else in the country. Jakob’s therapy plan is designed for four days. This includes not only water therapy, but also, for example, sound, forest and animal therapy.
“It’s very exhausting for both of us, but it’s just wonderful. The therapists are so warm, they’re not afraid of contact. It’s great togetherness – and I think it helps Jakob, too.” Anja Pohl
treatment of seriously ill children
The center is called “Filumi”. The name consists of the French word “Filou”, which means something like little rogue, and “me”, the English word for “I”. The name also stands for a treatment with a wink, says Georg Schöner. The children must be in focus, the treatments are adapted to their needs and do not follow a strict therapy plan. “But siblings and parents are also important to us, they should also find peace here,” says Schöner. As early as 2002, he and Markus Walberer dreamed of establishing an osteopathic center only for seriously ill children. Last year, they were able to open on the premises of the old Kurhaus. Children with Down syndrome, severe neurological diseases and cancer are treated several weekends a year.
Lots of time for treatments
All children are accompanied by the same therapists throughout the stay. Currently, there are two per child. The osteopaths come from Germany, Switzerland and Austria and close their own practice to support “Filumi”. The four compressed days have clear benefits, says the independent osteopath Nina Vollet, while she never takes her eyes off her little patient Jakob. “You can respond much better to individual moods. If you can not do it in the morning, you still have a chance in the afternoon.”
Further expansion planned
Up to ten children can currently be treated at the same time over a long weekend. The premises are currently being further expanded so that even more children can be accommodated in the future. “Even children with obesity,” says Schöner. He thinks he is very overweight. A bistro is currently being set up, which will provide extra space for parents and siblings to exchange ideas. “You talk to each other, get to know each other and know that you have similar problems and start the conversation in a completely different way,” says Anja Pohl.
Osteopathy not recognized by the state
The families have to bear most of the expenses for the time in Bad Alexandersbad. Osteopathy is not officially recognized in Germany. Statutory health insurance companies therefore pay little or nothing. A big wish from Anja Pohl: “That the health insurance companies and associations simply realize how important such a thing is. You want to prevent and perhaps improve something.”
hope for the family
After the water therapy and a rest break, Jakob continues with the sound therapy. Osteopath Alexander Zenk strikes a tuning fork against his own knee and then holds it against Jacob’s head. So he can feel the vibrations. After a skeptical look at first, Jacob begins to smile. “It’s a glimmer of hope that things will get better,” his mother says, smiling as well.