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. Although unknown at the time, there was a secondary health benefit effect that resulted from the treatment. More on that farther down.
Through time, the forms of water therapy were further defined and refined. Here are some forms...
- 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 changed 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." Note: There may be another reason for the benefit, the science of which is covered in the next section.
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.
By exposing your body to the earth, you give up electrical ions that are harmful to your health and replace them with healthy ones.Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons. This 2012 Journal of Environmental Health review concluded, "Earthing research, observations, and related theories raise an intriguing possibility about the Earth's surface electrons as an untapped health resource—the Earth as a “global treatment table.” "Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth—whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems—may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease." "The research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation along with sunshine, clean air and water, nutritious food, and physical activity."
This is powerful. This is also cheap. All it will cost you is some time and feeling like a kid again, walking in your bare feet in the grass. Or if you are bold, taking a brief run outside barefoot in the snow.