Dr Liane Weber is a General Physician and an internationally-trained Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor. She is one of the medical Consultants at Grand Park in Austria as well as at the nearby Gastein Healing Caves where she is renowned for her work with rheumatism. At Grand Park Dr Weber offers the popular "Retreat" therapy which combines Tuina massage and low-dose laser acupuncture to restore balance, improve energy and blood flow, strengthen the immune system and promote emotional wellbeing.
Interview with a Chinese Medicine Doctor
What inspired you to become a medical doctor and specialise in complementary medicine?
As a teenager I worked in a hospital and I was really aware of the importance of the relationship between patients and nurses and doctors. It inspired me to think about how I wanted to work in my life. When I was studying to be a doctor, we did not have the option to study complementary medicine so it was not until later, and after my own personal experience with TCM, that I started to study and practise it.
Since my teenage years I have suffered from acne. I went to so many doctors, took a lot of medication and nothing really helped. Finally I went to a homeopathic doctor who told me that my acne comes from a milk protein allergy. I was sceptic, but as I stopped eating dairy my acne went away without medication. That is what sparked my interest in complementary medicine. My goal is to combine the best of both western medicine and the Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat my patients in the best possible way.
What are guests on your Retreat therapy programme looking for?
My focus is rehabilitation so most of my patients come to me with chronic pain, joint and back problems. I also get a lot of patients for which western medicine has offered limited positive results. Thus I have people with asthmatic diseases, decreased immune system, burn-out and chronic fatigue syndrome. I also see guests that want to maintain or improve their health condition. I am a huge advocate for preventive health care so I enjoying working with the patients that come for regular treatment.
Tell us the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been successfully treating people for over 5000 years. The approach is different to Western medicine in that it considers the whole body's condition and then recommends quite a complex treatment - from Tuina massage, acupuncture and herbs to exercise, moxibustion, cupping, nutrition and tips for lifestyle. TCM is especially good for improving chronic diseases and also in preventive medicine. I love that in ancient China people went to the doctor and paid him when they stayed healthy. If they got sick the doctor helped but did not get paid!
The spa's indoor pool and the picture scenery surrounding Grand Park
Another popular programme at Grand Park is the Healing Caves. What are the Gastein Healing Caves and who should visit them?
When they first went looking for gold in the Radhausberg Mountain, the inhabitants of Gastein weren't to know that they would find something far more valuable: naturally occurring low levels of radon gas. This 'Tauern Gold' as it is affectionately known, combined with the caves' perfect humidity and 37-41.5°c temperature, has been scientifically- proven to help restore homeostasis in the body and strengthen the immune system. The gas, taken in through the skin and lungs, helps activate the body at a cellular level. Mild alpha radiation is released, stimulating self-healing of the body.
Scientific research has shown the treatment to be particularly beneficial to patients with musculoskeletal and joint disorders, as well as respiratory and skin diseases. Even after a long day skiing in the Alps, the healing properties of the caves can help alleviate any aches and pains. Devotees of the Gastein Healing Caves report being able to live pain-free for over a year afterwards. Many get their doctors to refer them under medical insurance for regular 'top-up' visits to the Heilstollen to enable them to be less drug- dependent.
What is included in the Grand Park Healing Caves programme and what are the benefits?
The programme includes a medical consultation from a doctor at the beginning and end of programme. Each Grand Park Healing Cavesprogramme is tailored to the individual and changes according to the concern -rheumatism diseases, arthritis or Ankylosing Spondylitis but there are 4 Gastein Cave or Heilstollen treatments and 2 radon thermal baths, 1 Tuina/Acupuncture treatment and a consultation about nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, physical treatments and exercise.
The Gastein Healving Caves
What advice and guidance do you give to your clients during their consultations?
- The most important thing is everybody should try to have a healthy, seasonal, organic diet and take regular exercise, according to your age and condition, every day. It is never too late to start
- A good night's sleep (for approx. 6-8 hours prevents you for diseases and burn-out)
- Self-development - for improving your physical and mental condition. "The Way" is the key of life. The world is full of such interesting things, why not discover it by yourselves. "For never before is the history of the world has the door of opportunity been flung so wide" (Orison Swett Marden, 1850-1924)
- Healthy emotional expression, natural self discipline as well self respect and patience are also the keys for inner happiness and success. If you think about the Bamboo, for the first four years it doesn't appear to grow at all, it just develops roots. In the fifth year it grows eighty feet. Many things in the life are like that. You might not see immediate benefit or change but if you keep trying and stay patient, eventually a tremendous success or harvest will result.
- Do not forget your humour every day. Anger or sadness decreases the power of your immune system