The Mud Spa Gmös
) in the vicinity of the town of Laakirchen
(situated on the edge of the Salzkammergut
) is one of the few moor land
areas in the Alpine foothills
of Upper Austria
. The moor dates back to the Mindel glaciation
and was created by a "dead ice-hole". In 1987 the local authorities of Upper Austria declared the Area of 3.4 ha
of the Gmöser Moor
a natural preserve
. A path around the area has since then given the visitor the opportunity of observing rare flora and fauna species. In 2002 the spa was chosen as background scenery for the TV-production "Schloßhotel Orth
About the area
The mud spa was formed on a Moraine of the Mindel glaciation and forms one of the few moors in the Alpine foothills on the east side of the Traun River. Up to the time that humans began to interfere with nature, a moor landscape with its variety of flora and fauna was able to develop. Due to cultivation of the moor landscape by man (drainage, peat-working, litter-harvesting etc.) the 3,4 ha Gmöser Moor can today be designated as a moor land forest or as a lower moor land which the original forms of flora and fauna have survived.
This was the reason that the Gmöser Moor was declared to be a natural preserve.
Due to the number of animals - of which some are severely endangered and all under protection - the Gmöser Moor
represents a unique refuse and environment in form of a biotope
for the region.
For example, you can find Amphibians
such as Yellow-bellied toads
) - decidedly water inhabitants - and Reptiles
such as the Grass Snake
) which live in damp forests, swamp and moor lands.
A great number of Bird species find the best conditions for breeding and have been observed for a number of years.
The Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris ) is to be found her with the only breeding colony of the whole area.
The Marsh warbler (Acrocephalus palustris ) is not solely bound to reed landscapeds, but is mainly to be found in bushy areas. It is a summer guest for us and spends the winter in Africa.
The Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra ) can be found in the surrounding meadows, as it is a typical meadow bird, which breeds on the ground. In the surroundings of the Gmöser Moor this bird could only be observed one or two times when breeding. The Whinchat is also a summer guest in Austria and spends the winter in Africa
The Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea ) remains with us all year round. It breeds in caves and draws the observer's attention to itself by being able to crawl headfirst down trees.
The Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus ) only visits us as a summer guest at the end of April on its return journey from Africa. It only breeds irregularly in Gmös, whereby its nest is strictly obscured high up in the trees. The male bird can be easily recognized by its bright yellow and black feathers.
The Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus ) can be observed over all open areas with flattering wings spread over a certain area and then pouncing down with closed wings on its prey of mice or other small mammals.
Other observed Bird species:
hatching bird species
), Grey Partridge
), Wood Pigeon
), Great Spotted Woodpecker
), Black Redstart
), Song Thrush
), Garden Warbler
), Willow Warbler
), Spotted Flycatcher
), Marsh Tit
), Blue Tit
(Parus caeruleus), Great Tit
), Coal Tit
), Short-toed Treecreeper
), Eurasian Jay
), European Magpie
), Carrion Crow
), Tree Sparrow
), House Sparrow
) und Reed Bunting
migrants, former breeding birds and guests
), White Stork
), Tufted Duck
), Red Kite
), Hen Harrier
), Eurasian Sparrowhawk
), Honey Buzzard
), Green Sandpiper
), Eurasian Woodcock
), Common Snipe
), Collared Dove
), Long-eared Owl
), Tawny Owl
), Common Swift
), Grey-headed Woodpecker
), Green Woodpecker
), Barn Swallow
), House Martin
), Tree Pipit
), Mistle Thrush
), Sedge Warbler
), Aquatic Warbler
), Reed Warbler
), Icterine Warbler
), Lesser Whitethroat
), Wood Warbler
), Pied Flycatcher
), Collared Flycatcher
), Crested Tit
), Long-tailed Tit
), Red-backed Shrike
), Common Raven
), Common Rosefinch
) and Common Crossbill
The manifold biotope structures and the special climate features which are prevalent in a moor landscape result in an extremely diverse insect world, which serves as a food source for the birds of the area.
In the area where peat is dug, one can observe the most different sorts of Dragonflies and a great number of Mosquitos (Culicidadae).
The vegetation of the moor landscape is dominated mainly by moor land forests dominated by moor birch trees. Here one can observe the remnants of a great number of plants which are typical for moor land areas. Among these are the Downy birch (Betula pubescens), European heather (Calluna vulgaris), Milk Parsley (Peucedanum palustre), Blanket Mire (Eriophorum vaginatum) and Common sedge (Carex nigra).
Peat diggings can be found both in the centre and on the edges of the moor. The older sites are covered with marsh moss, whereas others can be identified by their duckweed, marsh cinquefoil and sparganium growth.
Peat Moss (Sphagnum sp.) is an excellent water store. They die off at the point where they stand in water and continue growing above this point. The underlying dead particles are continually compressed downwards by the new growth from above. Thus, over a period of several ten thousands of centuries, provided that the climate and environmental conditions are in order, smaller or larger layers of peat are create. The moor layer in Gmös is, however, not exceptionally thick, as the peat mosses could not compete with the pressure applied and could therefore not turn into an ombrothopfic moor.
On the pond within the moor landscape a wide-spread reed-cultivation has developed.
The Mud Spa
History of the Mud Spa in Gmös
Around 1900 Johann Vizithum - a farmer in the neighbouring village of Rahstorf - used to dig peat in order to obtain fuel to run his threshing machine. He had suffered over years from severe Arthritis and realised, that whenever he trod barefoot in the mud, he experienced a definite improvement of his ailments. This was the reason that the peat pulp bath Gmös was founded in 1907. Since that time peat has been manually dug and prepared on a daily basis. Following the applications the peat is returned to the moor.
100 years ago – in time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
, when the Emperor of Austria had spent his summer holidays at the spas of Karlovy Vary
, Františkovy Lázně
and Mariánské Lázně
in the Czech Republic
– even a small Upper-Austrian village got its first mud spa. 1907 the first owner named the spa after his wife Cäcilia and people from all over the country came not only because of the established guest house but also because of the new bath house.
Comparing the pictures of that time and of today you would hardly recognize it. Cäcilienbad
has been renamed into Moorbad Gmös, the infrastructure has been adapted to the contemporary requirements and even the methods of treatment have been improved and expanded in order to guarantee the patient’s recovery.
The 100th anniversary was July 7, 2007. Accompanied by art and music performances one will be able to visit the bath and guest rooms of the spa, watch the way of the mud – from nature into the mud packs – and walk through the preserve mud area. Free massages and a rich culinary choice round off the celebrations.
On August 11th an event of the Gmundner Festival is guest in Gmös for the first time. Peter Raab reads Thomas Bernhard's „Wut und Komik" in a Matinee
The Cure in the Bath House
The traditional cure
in Gmös is a combination of mud baths, mud packs and massages. This results in a synergetic effect, which in turn positively enforces the healing and soothing processes. The mud bath
and the mud packs especially cleanse the muscles and the body.
Individually specified massages
are essential for improving the muscular
function and serve to improve all the muscular movements apparatus. Foot- and ear-reflex zone massage and special forms of traditional massage are used as supportive measures. Thus any tension and over acidification of the muscles, which often lead to pain and loss of mobility, can be treated.
The mud-bath is prepared directly from peat taken from the moor together with moor water which is rich in content. In order to increase the typical thermal factor the water is mixed with peat.
The parts if the body to be treated are covered with permeable fleece packs containing peat. According to requirement either the whole or parts of the body are then wrapped and subjected to a 50 Min cleansing procedure.
The cure helps with rheumatism
, all wear symptoms of the joints
and the spine
, chronic arthritis
, the symptoms following broken bones
and all over-tension
of the muscles
The Guest House
The guest house is in the direct vicinity of the Bath-House, in order to offer those guests who do not live near the possibility of being treated. Both the Guest House and the Spa are family businesses, which with their maximum capacity of 16 guests, offer everybody individual treatment.
Following suggestions of our guests, the building of the Chapel
Gmös began in 1982. After a construction period of 3 months the consecration
ceremony could be carried out in the form of mass
conducted by the abbot
- Mr. Siebenhütter - of the monastery in Lambach
. The musical accompaniment was by the "Laakirchner Stubenmusi" and the MGV Steyrermühl. A number of honorary guests were present and in their speeches thanked the Forstinger family for their leading role in the construction of the chapel. The efforts of the "Committee for the construction of a chapel in Gmös" which was set up by guests of long-standing were crowned by renowned success. The idea of building a chapel was based on the need of the guests to find peace, contemplation, reflection, meditation
all within the bounds of a moor land area. The 75th
jubilee of the spa itself was enriched by the construction of this beautiful building. Since then the spa in Gmös has contributed with its treatment with peat and massages not only to the beauty and stillness of the surrounding nature and rustic life but also to the positive effect of spiritual influences on both body and spirit.