Balneotherapy, from the Latin word meaning bath, has made a resurgence in the alternative health care field.
The water cure is historically from ancient Greek traditional medicine.
The original water cure involved a number of related therapies, all using the healing powers of water, salt and minerals. The water was used artistically in various ways to accomplish healing.
The forms of water therapy were further defined and refined.
- Hydrotherapy: Therapeutic bathing using heat, cold, bubbles and flowing water.
- Thalassotherapy: or the therapeutic use of ocean water for bathing.
- Balneotherapy: which is therapeutic bathing in mineral and thermal springs.
Balneotherapy did not die with antiquity. Around the world are spas, resorts and mineral springs where you can go to soak in hot mineral baths. The minerals soak into the skin and help the healing process. These are in particular, a spa treatment for disease.
Mineral water has become a key aspect of Sebastian Kneipp's natural therapeutics, the foundation of what we currently call Naturopathy.
In Europe, hot springs and spa resorts that feature balneotherapy are considered a sub-specialty of medicine. There is even peer reviewed research with the findings of effectiveness in using this treatment.
A review of the studies up till 2009 suggested that while balneotherapy may help in many diseases including arthritis, skin disorders and fibromyalgia, there still is not sufficient research to draw a definitive conclusion.
Then a 2015 study change everything.Effect of 12-day Balneotherapy on Pain, Mood, Sleep, and Depression in Healthy Elderly People. It concluded, "...a 12-day balneotherapy program has a positive effect on pain, mood, sleep quality, and depression in healthy older people."
If you want an even greater benefit from the hot springs, use the water cures protocol at least one hour before taking the plunge. Drink about 10 percent your body weight in ounces of water. Also use about 1/8th teaspoon of salt for every 16 ounces of water you drink.