For an American, the "kur" takes a bit of explaining.
Basically, when a trouble has reached some point in a physical or mental problem....that the doctor thinks a vacation of sorts would help, then he writes a recommendation which flows through the German health insurance system.
There's ample money in the German health insurance system to cover these types of cases....but only to a certain degree. So they review the recommendation. They generally ask for a special doctor to do a second recommendation, and then finally...it's stamped, you go to the "kur".
The kur will typically be a doctor-managed resort of sorts. I don't want it to sound like a fancy resort that Americans are typically used to....because it isn't that type of resort.
The typical kur will be outside of some town....with a scenic background There will be hotel-like atmosphere, but with finely-managed meals. For example....for breakfast, you'd get a croissant or two....some coffee...maybe a hard-boiled egg....and a slice or two of cheese and ham. For lunch, you'd be offered a low-cal plate, a vegetarian plate, or some average plate (nothing greasy or full of calories). The evening meal would be the same way. All free of course, as part of the kur.
The physical side? Well....between hiking, walking, and swimming....there's a continual emphasis on just doing something physical. Toss in some therapy sessions, and some one-on-one counseling ...and your eight-hour day is fairly full. Weekends are generally free, but they still likely run some walking or swimming sessions.
As you in-process there'd be a list of daily events which you have to attend. You can't just lounge around. You have to participate, or you get kicked out. The entire program, is paid via the health insurance deal. Other than what you pay to transport yourself there....the rest is free.
Length? Typically, three weeks is what they prescribe. You arrive, and you don't leave until the final day. It could go up to five weeks, if they thought your case was severe.
The events getting you there? Well....you could go through a bout of cancer, or have a huge episode of depression, or lose a leg via an accident, or say you have massive stress.
How many Germans go through the kur in their lifetime? Well....no one publishes these statistics. Some Germans will admit by age sixty-five....they've never done the kur. Some Germans will admit they've done five or six kurs in their lifetime.
I think most Americans would look at this and say it's not a bad idea and they can think of various cases where it might be a positive thing. The idea of paying for three weeks of 'vacation' would bother them though....via the health insurance program. You can call it a kur, but an American would grin and eventually say it's more of a vacation than anything else.
My humble guess is that out of eighty million Germans....less than sixty thousand do the kur on a yearly basis. Most are likely the three-week crowd and they might only do this once or twice in their entire life.
So when you are standing there in a moment of conversation and some German rattles off that their sister or husband has gone off to the kur....you will grasp what the deal is. And don't do anything stupid by talking and comparing it to a vacation...it'll just get your German associate all upset. It's a therapy-spa deal to help someone recover....from something (yeah, even stress).