What is Balneotherapy?
Treatment of disease by bathing in mineral springs
Balneotherapy (from Latin: balneum, “bath”), may involve hot or cold water, massage through whirlpool current water, relaxation or stimulation.
The bathing process involves particular types of water and fluids, rich in salts, minerals and other organic compounds, which are believed to have healing properties.
- These include sulphur springs and concentrated salty water, such as found at the Dead Sea (in the middle east).
- Hot springs, which are high in Radon (a radioactive substance) are also said to possess particular healing properties.
Mineral waters are rich in a particular substance that can be absorbed through the skin. Mineral waters are natural solutions, which are formed under specific geologic conditions. Originating in springs, they are bacteriologically pure and have a therapeutic potential.
Balneotherapy is thought to promote healing by:
- Enhance the immune system
- Stimulate circulatory process, including lymph and blood circulation
- Accelerate cell activity
- Dilate tissue and vessels
- Activate the natural self-healing potential of the body
Why are These Types of Minerals Beneficial?
- Sulfur is beneficial for a wide variety of conditions, including skin infections, respiratory problems, and skin inflammations.
- Chlorides (sodium chloride) is beneficial for rheumatic conditions, arthritis, central nervous system conditions, post-traumatic and post-operative disorders, as well as orthopedic and gynecological disease.
- Arsenic in larger doses is toxic in the human body, although small amounts may assist the body with plasma and tissue growth. Foot bathing in mineral waters with a high content of arsenic is used to address fungal conditions of the feet.
- Boron builds muscle mass, increases brain activity and strengthens bones.
- Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation and strengthening bones and nails.
- Potassium aids in the normalization of heart rhythms, assists in reducing high blood pressure, helps to eliminate body toxins and promotes healthy skin. It energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise.
- Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles.
- Sodium and natural salts assist with the alleviation of arthritic symptoms, and may stimulate the body’s lymphatic system when used in baths. It’s important for the lymphatic fluid balance, which has a positive effect on the immune system function.
Proponents claim that Balneotherapy can help treat a number of health conditions, including arthritis, respiratory disorders and high blood pressure, skin conditions and Fibromyalgia.
For centuries the benefits of therapeutic bathing have been recognized for the ability to relieve pain and improve the general well being of the body and the spirit. In fact, Balneotherapy is one of the oldest of medical procedures, well known and widely regarded throughout the world, where people have historically flocked to spas for recreation and treatment.