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A generational change at the Buchinger Wilhelmi fasting clinic

The entire Buchinger Wilhelmi family joined the celebration.
The entire Buchinger Wilhelmi family joined the celebration. / G. Berner
  • The clinic recently held an event to pay tribute to its former and future leaders

The Clínica Buchinger-Wilhelmi is certainly the best known and most successful German company not only in Marbella but on the entire Costa the Sol.

The fasting clinic which follows the methodology of Dr Otto Buchinger, who set up the Buchinger Klinik in Überlingen on Lake Constance, was founded in 1973 by his daughter Maria Buchinger and her husband Helmut Wilhelmi. Since then it has welcomed innumerable guests from all over the world, among them many illustrious personalities such as Max Frisch, Sean Connery, Christina Onassis or Mario Vargas Llosa.

The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature comes to Marbella every year for the clinic's fasting programme. At the age of 78 when he was awarded honorary citizenship of Marbella in 2014, he explained: "I owe the fact that I'm still alive to literature, my wife Patricia and the Buchinger Clinic." What publicity!

Like the world-famous Peruvian writer, many guests repeat their experiences every year. Some have already been to this this extraordinary health centre (where everything revolves around bringing body, mind and soul into balance and harmony) in excess of 40 times.

Holistic healthcare

From 1982, when the Buchingers' granddaughter Jutta and her husband Claus Rohrer moved to Marbella, they gradually provided respite for the 'Grande Dame of Fasting' (as Maria Buchinger was always called by patients, friends and admirers) from the increasing management tasks and slowly started changing the clinic, in a decisive and sustainable way, though never straying from Otto Buchinger's original concept.

A new spa area was created, all guest rooms were thoroughly refurbished, and the west end of the park-like complex was completed by Villa María, a new guesthouse and exhibition centre. Founder of the clinic, Maria Buchinger, who, like all members of the family, lived according to the philosophy of her father, lived in the villa until her death in 2010 at the age of 93, surrounded by family.

Fourth generation

"Jutta and Claus have been running this business for 35 years now, while they had three children and eight dogs at home. They didn't leave us a disused barge, but a functioning boat," said Victor Wilhelmi, with a nod to his great-grandfather, who had been a naval doctor in imperial times, but due to a severe rheumatoid arthritis, had to quit service. Only a long fasting cure with a friendly physician brought him back his health and also changed his whole life.

Victor is the son of Jutta's brother Raimund Wilhelmi and Dr Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo who run the Buchinger Clinic in Überlingen. He and his cousin Katharina, Jutta and Klaus' daughter, have taken over at the helm.

Evidently proud of the confidence that has been placed in them, both assured that they felt perfectly prepared to continue the life's work of their great-grandfather, grandparents, and parents. This impression was also shared by about 150 friends of the family, who had gladly accepted the invitation to the event.

On a beautiful summer evening not only the generational change at Buchinger Wilhelmi was celebrated, but also the official inauguration of Antares, the 'Casa de la Inspiración', as the former villa of a German artist is now called after its complete transformation . Here, the third pillar of the Buchinger method, which is based on fasting, integrative medicine and inspiration, has now found its visible and tangible expression.

This house, filled with silence, peace and perfect harmony, marks the last stage of an exemplary successful career for Jutta and Claus Rohrer while, for their successors, it is the first major milestone on their way to a bright future. It was a wonderful, loving celebration which was crowned with compositions by Debussy, interpreted by well-known British pianist Lucy Parham, a guest of the clinic and dear friend for many years now.