Elämänmäki hill in Vilppula was the site of doctor E.W. Lybeck’s natural therapies sanatorium in the early 1900s. Some of the ruins of the sanatorium are still visible along the Elämänmäki nature trail, which reaches a height of 189 metres. The treatments at the sanatorium included air baths, sun baths, nutrient baths, clay treatments, swimming and fasting.
E.W. Lybeck was a psychiatrist with a hospital in Helsinki. However, he rejected the teachings of conventional medicine and developed his own treatments at Elämänmäki. His philosophy was that a doctor’s purpose was to make himself and his entire profession unnecessary. The premise for Lybeck’s treatments was that humans are part of nature and the most effective healing elements are the peace and beauty of nature.
The patients of the sanatorium included many famous people, such as F.E. Sillanpää, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, members of the Järnefelt family, Mathilda Wrede, Ilmari Kianto and Juhani Aho. A memorial for Lybeck was built in 1964 on the foundations of the former sanatorium.
Elämänmäki and its nature trails also serve a significant role as a local recreational forest. The top of the hill provides great views of four different lakes.