Healing Hans, the celebrities' favourite doctor
Usain Bolt is not the only client of Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt who happens to be getting back on track after seeking treatment for a spinal problem from the Munich medicine man referred to in sporting circles as "Healing Hans". In May last year, Paul Hewson suffered a temporary paralysis which meant he and his band were obliged to withdraw as the headline act at the Glastonbury Festival.
Twelve months on, Bono, as he is better known, and U2 are getting ready to hit the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm. Unlike Bolt, Bono was required to have surgery after Müller-Wohlfahrt discovered he had a "a serious tear and a herniated disc." Still, the fact that the U2 man sought help from the German healer underlined Müller-Wohlfhart's reputation.
The 68-year-old has been visited at his Munich clinic by a stellar cast of characters: Michael Jordan, Boris Becker, Andy Murray, Cristiano Ronaldo, the Brazilian Ronaldo, Jürgen Klinsmann, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Maurice Greene, Michael Ballack, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Linford Christie, Kelly Holmes, Diego Maradona, Katarina Witt... Luciano Pavarotti even.
Müller-Wohlfhart has become a familiar figure – with his lank, dark hair – on the bench whenever Bayern Munich or Germany are in action. He has been Bayern's doctor since Uli Höness and Franz Beckenbauer persuaded him to move from Hertha Berlin in 1977. He has been the German team doctor since 1996.
Müller-Wohlfahrt has forged his name on the unorthodox concoctions he injects into affected areas: calves' blood, extract from the comb of cockerels, honey, plant extracts, goats' blood. Eyebrows have been raised at his methods, which he describes as "homeopathic," but he has enjoyed some spectacular results – most notably Olazabal winning the 1999 Masters after being cured of rheumatoid arthritis.
"When I started as a doctor I wanted to dig deep into the metabolism," Müller-Wohlfahrt says. "A molecular biologist helped me understand what happens to muscle fibres when there's a strain or a tear, and how infiltrations into the injury may help. At the time colleagues thought I was crazy and people attacked me, but I went on and now other doctors try to do the same."
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