Dr Müller-Wohlfahrt – Healing Hans
“My problem is I work really hard and all day long, from early morning to night.”— Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt
Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller Wohlfahrt (known as MW) is the most famous medical doctor in Germany. He is the doctor for sports superstars, and not only does he include numerous celebrities among his clients, but he has become one himself—a star of sports medicine.
For almost 40 years, he has been responsible for the leading German soccer team—and one of the best clubs in Europe: Bayern Munich. The accolades he gained at this club, his main employer, brought him the job of staff doctor of the German National team for over 20 years. Many consider this side to have been the strongest National soccer team of the era, one that won the World Cup twice in the period.
His client list reads like a “Who’s Who” of sports stars and includes those from beyond this world. He has treated the elite of global pro soccer players. He has treated other celebrities from various sports, among them such superstars as Usain Bolt, Boris Becker and Katarina Witt. Even musical celebrities such as Bono of U2, Eric Clapton and Luciano Pavarotti have been his patients.[i]
Yet, there is a lesser-known side of MW. A character trait that brought him not only trouble with his closest friends, but also saw his personal financial situation crash.
While he might find glory, fame and recognition from his peers worldwide, he experienced personal failure and something close to financial ruin caused by an area over which he had neither interest nor control. Money.
Upbringing and Career
The doctor was born as Hans-Wilhelm Müller on August 12th, 1942, in Leerhafe, today part of Wittmund, East Frisia. He is the son of a pastor and a housewife. During his high school days, he showed an interest in sports. He trained as an athlete and developed his personal sports and diet regime that he would refine and retain into his later years. Many who have seen him throughout his life believe he looks much younger than his age. Even today, at 76, he looks 20 years younger than a typical 76-year-old.
In 1963, he studied medicine in Kiel, Germany, a small city in the north of the country. Being interested in sports and general fitness, he specialized in orthopedic and sports medicine. With stints in Innsbruck, Austria, he completed his doctorate in Berlin, Germany, in 1971.
In 1975, after some low-level jobs, MW kick-started his career at Hertha Berlin, a moderately successful soccer team in Germany. He remained there until 1977, when he got a call from the best soccer club in the country: FC Bayern Munich, which is based in the nation’s second city, further to the south. The best-known and most successful club in German soccer history needed a young staff doctor with energy and talent, and MW fit the bill.
Bayern Munich is a giant in soccer not only in Germany, but the whole of Europe. It was a glorious time for the club; they were the continent’s pre-eminent team at the time, having won the European Cup for three consecutive seasons between 1974 and 1976, a feat accomplished only by one other club—Spain’s Real Madrid.
No question, for MW it was his great chance, his big break. At that time, although he was still relatively inexperienced, MW excelled under the pressure that came from being at the top. He quickly made a name for himself among his patients, who recovered more quickly than expected when under his care, and top management, who saw their assets back on the field, performing as soon as possible after injury (and often, it seemed, sooner than that).
Then, in 1990, he received the ultimate accolade. The soon-to-be World Champions, Germany, needed a team doctor, and MW earned the position. Despite his sometimes controversial treatment methods, what he offered worked, and the world’s strongest soccer team wanted those skills to keep their players fit and ready to play.
A Special Doctor
Today, he is a world-renowned expert for sports injuries, especially in knee problems and tendon damage. His treatment methods have always been based on the simple and the natural. As he himself noted several times in interviews, “God has given me a gift,” he sees and heals with his hands. No high-powered machine can diagnose a sports injury more precisely than the touch of MW. Though conventionally trained in medicine and orthopedics, his practice employs a unique mixture of homeopathic medicine (treatment with natural substances) and acupuncture.
The lifeblood of his treatments is what Müller-Wohlfahrt calls “infiltrations.” These are homeopathic preparations and other substances that are injected into the injury site: exotic stuff like Actovegin, an amino acid preparation derived from calves’ blood, and lubricating substances containing purified hyaluronic acid and antioxidants.
A Growing Number of Famous Patients
MW isn’t an ordinary doctor. For many in the industry, he ranks as the greatest healer since Hippocrates. He gained the nickname “Healing Hans,” a pun affectionately used by his patients when referring to him.
Over the years, he has gained an A-list of believers who have included Boris Becker, the German tennis ace, the soccer player Ronaldo, the late Italian opera singer and tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, the great German defender Franz Beckenbauer and, it seems, just about every major German soccer player since.
His early success brought him in touch with Dr. Richard Steadman, founder of the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado, a leading sports orthopedic group. Their mutual respect for each other’s work developed into a very successful partnership and personal friendship that has lasted for three decades. Dr. Steadman and MW share and refer high-profile patients back and forth across the Atlantic. They work together to provide both surgical and non-surgical treatment.
Through this connection, MW’s reputation spread beyond Europe to the U.S. and the rest of the world. Sprinters Tyson Gay and Maurice Greene, as well as bad-boy skier Bode Miller, soon numbered among his clients.
For example, on one recent spring day, the patients MW treated included as diverse a mix as:
A world-famous lion tamer;
The editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine in Germany;
The CEO of Bayern Munich;
A couple of World famous Olympic athletes;
Oh, and a feisty 92-year-old woman!
And a combination of his training, experience, unique skills and bedside manner not only brought professional adulation, but financial benefits as well.[i]
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[i] Fish, Mike, “The doctor they call ‘Healing,” ESPN, accessed September, 2018,Hans’http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7324261/germany-dr-hans-wilhelm-muller-wohlfahrta-great-healer-quack-hyperactive-syringe