Balneotherapy & Health Tourism
Balneotherapy is an approach to the treatment of disease or physical ailment involving bathing and stimulation of the body by water. The philosophy takes into account the chemical properties of specific sources of water as well as the effects of hot, cold and moving water. The name of the treatment is derived from the Latin word ‘balneum’ meaning ‘bath.’
Balneotherapy can be administered at a variety of locations. However, it’s often pushed commercially by spas which are strategically constructed at natural sources of water that are rich enough in therapeutic elements such as silica, sulfur, selenium, radium, arsenic, lithium, potassium, manganese, bromine and iodine to be beneficial to those who bathe in them.
Due to a surge in popularity of spas, balneotherapy has come to mean almost any treatment that involves water including the consumption of water and the inhalation of vapors from waters rich in constituents deemed beneficial to health. The application of mud and sand to the skin is also often classified as balneotherapy.
Ingredients used to good effect in balneotherapy are not necessarily found naturally in the water, with herbs such as chamomile, thyme, oak bark and walnut leaves commonly added to warm waters to address specific medical conditions.
Balneotherapy is considered an alternative medical practice with little specific scientific evidence to substantiate its benefits. However, there are few conventional doctors that deny the physical and mental health benefits of bathing. As far back as Roman times bathing was recognized for its healing properties and this reputation has ensured that the practice has survived until modern times.
Today the affluent enjoy balneotherapy as a spa treatment while those with circulatory, muscular and skeletal complaints among other ailments benefit from the symptomatic relief it provides.