Kneipp bath products are staple in my bathroom. Usually, it’s the eucalyptus or pine version of either bubble bath, oil, or salts. Whatever version it is, there’s nothing better to clear up a stuffy head when you have a cold or flu. And for years, I stocked up on them during trips to Germany. But once I found Kneipp available here in the U.S., I’ve expanded my bathroom inventory by several scents, and lightened the suitcase by several pounds.
If you ever visit a German spa, you may come across a Kneippbecken (Kneipp pool). It’s usually a wading pool filled with ice-cold water and, sometimes, hand-held shower heads. I’ve often wondered how to use them. However, after once dipping a toe into the icy waters, I no longer felt the urge to find out. I instead headed for a geyser pool or steam room.
Researching Kneipp’s history, offerings and philosophy, however, I must say that perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to try some of Sebastian Kneipp’s hydrotherapy methods at home. (After a trip to the hardware store, since oftentimes, these require a handheld shower head)
The Founder: Sebastian Kneipp
The story starts with Sebastian Kneipp, born in 1821, son of a weaver in Bavaria. His ultimate goal in life was to become a Catholic priest. Sponsored by a distant relative, he eventually completed his education, despite the fact that, in 1846, he contracted tuberculosis. In those days, largely a death sentence or life-long affliction.
In 1849, he started his theology lessons, but still suffered from tuberculosis. By chance, he read a book about water therapy and decided to give it a try. Kneipp took a quick dip in the cold Danube river, followed by a short sprint, and felt invigorated. He continued the brief baths in the river, supplementing them with half-baths and affusions. By the time he completed his studies in 1852, he was completely cured of tuberculosis.
For the rest of his life, Kneipp used his water therapy to cure people of various illnesses. He even healed a woman suffering from cholera. And in 1855, he successfully applied his methods to a herd of cattle infected with hoof and mouth disease.
The fact that he helped anyone, rich or poor, drew the ire of real doctors of the time. They unsuccessfully took him to court for what they considered quackery. Fortunately for the common people, they failed. And while largely forgotten for a long time, Kneipp’s water therapy methods eventually picked up in popularity again. Nowadays they are an approved therapy method, and were even awarded cultural heritage status by the UNESCO.
Eventually, Kneipp developed a holistic health concept known as Kneipp’s Five Pillars for body and mind: Hydrotherapy, Exercise, Phytotherapy (plant-based medication), Diet, and Balance. Which brings us to the Kneipp offerings of bath products.
It stands to reason that bubble bath and shower foam are part of the balance pillar. Although, there are plenty of therapeutic benefits attributed to baths, from helping you breathe easier to improving immunity. But why import German bath products, when every American drugstore has an entire aisle devoted to them?
As always, it really comes down to personal preference. For one, Kneipp products are cruelty free, plant-based, Paraben-free, and vegan. They also contain no paraffin, silicone or mineral oils. Secondly, Kneipp products are quite concentrated, which means you don’t need to pour half a bottle into the tub to be able to truly experience their scent. That isn’t always the case with cheap drugstore products. Which brings those who do prefer Kneipp to the question of how to best get it.
How to Order Kneipp
Most of us living in the U.S. have an Amazon account and can order Kneipp products there. Kneipp sells some of their 17.63 ounce bottles of bath salts, and 3.4 ounce bottles of essential bath oils there, at a hefty price of $20 a piece. Regular bubble bath, 13.52 ounces, sells for $15.
But beware of the seller. Plenty of independent sellers offer Kneipp products on Amazon. However, that often means they aren’t labeled in English, and can have vastly different prices and shipping times. And if they are shipped by a private seller from overseas, returns might be difficult.
Of course, if you have a Prime account, you won’t pay shipping and in most cases your order arrives the next day. A major selling point when you feel a cold or flu coming and want some instant relief.
However, if you like to plan ahead and stock up on your aromatherapy, you’re better off ordering directly from Kneipp’s U.S. website. Their base price is exactly the same as on Amazon. However, the Kneipp site has a Family Program offering a 5% discount on any order. Additionally, Kneipp frequently alerts customers to special sales. Those additional discounts can be combined with the family discount. There’s also a student discount program administered via Student Beans.
But this wouldn’t be a USA Euros article if we simply left it at that. Let’s take a look at availability and pricing.
While understandable, it’s also unfortunate that many Kneipp bath products sold in Europe are not available on either Amazon or Kneipp.com. Of course, that only matters if you have specific favorites. In that case, you may want to stick to the tried and true method of asking grandma in Europe to head to the drugstore and send you a care package.
Some Tips on How To Shop for Kneipp
But why bother grandma? Instead, try a European Amazon. Particularly the German Amazon site has a large offering of Kneipp products. And, unlike some other European Amazon sites, it’s available in English. There, you will find that the same size bath salts sold in the U.S. for $20 actually only cost a little under 5 Euros. (Amazon U.K. charges more than 8 Euros for the same product.)
Amazon.de ships a lot of items directly to the U.S., although some Kneipp bath products are marked as not deliverable to America. There seems to be no clear pattern as to why. Some of these items are available on Kneipp U.S. While bath salts and bubble bath come in plastic bottles, bath oil comes only in glass bottles, and are probably best ordered on US Amazon or Kneipp.
How to Beat Postage Rates
But what about postage? True, you’re not going to see any savings ordering a 5-Euro bottle of bath salt, paying $25 in postage. However, as long as you place an order that includes only product sold by Kneipp as the seller, the more you order, the more economical this process becomes. So time to find a few friends and pool an order.
For example: Ten bottles of bath crystals ordered via Amazon or Kneipp U.S. would come to a total of $200 (assuming free shipping), a net cost of $20 per bottle. The same 10 bottles ordered on Amazon.de would cost a total of $52 (with the current exchange rate), plus $55 shipping, which brings the net cost to $10.70.
One product not yet mentioned are individual packs of bath salt, sold at a rate of $4/piece (unless there’s a sale, of course) in the U.S. Twenty of those would come to $80 ordered in the U.S. Ordered on Amazon.de, the total price is $18 for the product, and $31 for shipping, bringing the per-piece cost down to $2.45.
Of course, if you prefer the quick and easy route, your best bet is to order off the U.S. site at Kneipp.com. Sign up for their family account and wait for the next 20% off sale (which they run quite frequently). And hope that at some point, Kneipp will expand on their product variety here in the U.S.
If you just want to get some ideas for hydrotherapy applications, you’ll find quite a bit of free information on the Kneipp site under Kneipp Magazine. If the somewhat questionable English translations are too confusing, you can try a number of other languages at Kneipp.com