What is Balneotherapy?


At home, bathing in cold or lukewarm water is the daily routine. How frequently does the average person visit a mineral spring for a bath? The answer is rarely.

However, people should use mineral springs more often for bathing, especially since some doctors prescribe that bathing in mineral springs could help treat diseases. The Romans actually built baths close to mineral springs and took hot baths regularly and believed it kept them free of diseases. These baths were privately owned but open to the public in the sense that people could go there for a fee, much like you would visit a spa today.

The Dead Sea has long been a popular spot for a dip. Now, with the spread of balneotherapy, the practice of taking baths in mineral springs to treat diseases, the therapy has become more popular. In addition, today you do not actually have to go to a spring to have a mineral water bath. You could travel to spas that offer balneotherapy sessions. They may be just as effective in the treatment of diseases as mineral water from a spring is.

Today’s situation does not allow you to visit spas. Can you still experience balneotherapy at home? Answer is yes. But before discussing how you can have balneotherapy at home, you should know how it helps your body improve and what the risks are if you do it too much.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • Relief lower back pain- In a 2009 study, the experimental group of people was given balneotherapy and the control group of people was made to bathe in heated tap water. The temperature of the water was maintained at 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit in both groups. There was a significant change in the score of pain from the experimental group. Not only had this but in the questionnaire given to the experimental group, the patients in it felt more confident with their day to day activity.
  • Relief stress- it was proven that balneotherapy was able to reduce significantly both stress and pain. Balneotherapy also helped to improve mood and cognitive function in those with stress. It also had a positive impact on heart and respiratory function, reducing blood pressure levels and improving the heart rates and respiratory rates.

Balneotherapy contains minerals that might be harmful to your body if you are exposed for too long. Here are some of its risks:

  • The water may contain sulfur compounds that could become an irritant for the skin.
  • Other toxic metals like arsenic are also present in certain springs.
  • Sometimes the minerals present in spring water could exacerbate conditions such as psoriasis.
  • Thermal injury can happen in a spring bath. So one needs to measure the temperature of the water and make sure it is at a safe level.
  • Thermal injuries caused by the spring water can further make the person susceptible to infections through the broken skin from organisms present in the water itself.

And lastly, here is how to make a balneotherapy at home:

  1. Prepare water in a tub and make sure the temperature is between 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit and 107 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to stimulate your body or treat mild fatigue, a bath at a temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. If you would like to soothe your muscles and joints after an intense workout, the preferred temperature would be higher at 107 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. The minerals that can be easily used at home for balneotherapy are Epsom salt and sea salt. The recommended amount is 1-2 cups in a standard-sized tub of water.
  3. Soak yourself for about 15 to 20 minutes to reap the benefits of this therapy. Make sure that you are soaked all the way up to the neck. If you have respiratory or heart problems, make sure to consult a doctor before opting for balneotherapy.
  4. Make sure to rinse with lukewarm water after taking the bath so it can wash away the excess minerals that might harm your skin.
  5. Do not stress yourself immediately after the bath. When you are done bathing, slip into a robe and lie down for about 10 to 20 minutes until you feel relaxed and comfortable to resume your daily routine. You could even sit up and meditate for a while if you prefer not to lie down.