We say goodbye to José Manuel García-Verdugo, head physician at our fasting clinic in Marbella.
Other than our founder, Dr. Otto Buchinger, he had the strongest influence on medicine in our Spanish clinic. Dr. García-Verdugo was with us for 40 years and even worked with Maria Buchinger and Helmut Wilhelmi – in other words, he “imbibed knowledge directly from the source”, as he says. Dr. García-Verdugo experienced first-hand how the Buchinger Wilhelmi clinic in Marbella transformed from a small retreat for German guests to an internationally leading health and fasting oasis on the Costa del Sol.
Katharina Roher-Zaiser and Victor Wilhelmi from the clinic’s management in Marbella bid farewell to Dr. José Manuel García-Verdugo
Over the years, Dr. García-Verdugo took care of about 50,000 patients. And yet it was always very important to him to treat each and every one of his patients as individuals and build a personal relationship with them. Patients particularly value his outstanding grasp of human nature and his highly individual recommendations. It is this human touch that makes a stay at Buchinger Wilhelmi so very special. Dr. García-Verdugo has forged friendships with many patients over the years. Those who have known him for a long time say, “You can talk equally well to him about medicine as philosophise about travel, culture and architecture”. From the very first day to the last, he felt as if he was part of a large family – thanks to the team spirit, the willingness to help and the convictions shared by employees at Buchinger Wilhelmi.
Health school for the body and soul
Dr. García-Verdugo describes Buchinger Wilhelmi as a “health school”, where people come to heal their body and soul. He sees therapeutic fasting as something that everyone should try out at least once. During his time here, Dr. García-Verdugo often observed dramatic changes in the condition and health of patients who fast, and also experienced them directly himself. The first time he fasted was straight after he arrived here in January 1981. At the time, the concept of therapeutic fasting was almost totally unknown, especially in Spain, and was even considered dangerous. Looking back, he realizes how much this first fasting experience boosted his empathy. Because if you don’t know what people who are fasting are going through and what changes are taking place in their body and soul, you cannot really offer them appropriate care. Guests who have fasted many times and were already regular guests back then set an important example for Dr. García-Verdugo – he learned a lot from them, especially in the early days.
Buchinger Wilhelmi in flux
Dr. García-Verdugo has profoundly shaped the evolution of our fasting clinic in Marbella at both a personal and a professional level. He largely advocated the introduction of special diets for people with diabetes and stomach problems, and also encouraged varying the diet in accordance with guests’ wishes during the refeeding phase. In addition, he brought Christa Luckhardt, our first nutritionist, into the Buchinger Wilhelmi family.
How does he think patients’ needs have changed since the early days, when the clinic only had room for 50 to 60 guests, compared to today? According to García-Verdugo, many people nowadays are very isolated so that money and status are often more important than family or leading a fulfilled life. Guests are frequently in search of greater discipline – and this discipline, a conscious abstention, is what they slowly relearn at Buchinger Wilhelmi. Other things have remained the same: “Fasting, art and nature still go together well”, says Dr. García-Verdugo. Many guests discover their creativity during their stay through playing with colours or regain contact with nature on hikes through the forests.
Patients are friends, colleagues are family
Dr. García-Verdugo is looking forward to the future with great anticipation. He deliberately chose the moment to retire: “You should withdraw at a time when you feel good, so that you leave behind positive memories”, is his opinion. Nevertheless, he is also a little wistful about saying farewell. Dr. García-Verdugo is convinced that his life would have been completely different if he had not found his place in the Buchinger Wilhelmi family. The Buchinger Wilhelmi therapeutic fasting method is the best therapy in the world, in his eyes – on the one hand it is very easy to do, but often difficult to manage alone. In our clinics, we try to guide each guest through this special experience so that they feel as safe as possible and in good hands.
We would like to thank Dr. García-Verdugo from the bottom of our hearts for his exceptional service and wish him the very best for the next phase in his life!