Balneotherapy - Healing with Water.

This excerp in reprinted from Healing Springs, The Ultmiate Guide to Taking the Waters, by Nathaniel Altman.

One of the most important activities that take place at a traditional spa is balneotherapy, a natural aproach to heal and healing that uses hot spring water, gases, mud, and climatic factors (such as heat) as therapeutic elements.

Simple Solution:

In aditional to bathing, modalities such as hydrotherapy, mud therapy, physical therapy, massage, steam baths, physical exercises, inhalation of water vapor, and drinking mineral water are often used as part of a complex therapy for both health and preservation and treating disease.

Over the past four centuries, the science of balneology has evolved into a medical speciality in Europe and Japan, where special courses in balneotherapy are offeres to both physicians and nurses by major medical schools. Doctor believe that thermal springs facilitate healing in a number of special ways.

Eight way balneotherapy heals:

  • Bathing in hot springs gradualy increases the temperature of the body, thus killing harmful germs and viruses.
  • Thermal bathing increases hydrostatic pressure on the body, thus increasing blod circulation and cell oxygenation. The increase in blood flow also helps dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body.
  • Hot spring bathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, bringing improved nourishment to vital organs and tissues.
  • Bathing in termal water increases body metabolism, including the stimulation of secretions of the intestinal tract and the liver, aiding digestion.
  • Repeated hot springs bathing (specially 3 to 4 week period) can help normalize the function of the endocrinal glands as well as the functioning of the body's automatic nervous system.
  • Trace amount of minerals such as carbon dioxide, sulfur, carbon, magnesium, and lithium are absorbed by the body and provide healing effects to various body organs and system. these healing effects can include stimulation of the inmune system, leading to enhanced immunity; physical and mental relaxation; the production of endorphines; and normalize gland functions.
  • Mineral springs contain high amounts of negative ions, wich can help promote feeling of physycal and psychological well-being.
  • The direct application of mineralized thermal waters (specialy those containing sulfur) can have a therapaeutic effect on diseases of the skin, including psioriasis, dermatitis, and fungal infections. Some mineral waters are also used to help the healing of wounds and other skin injuries.

Indication of balneotherapy

Over the several hundred years during the science of medical balneology has developed, physicians have been able to identify the health conditions that can best be treated by healing springs. The following list of indications for balneotherapy is based on the research of Yuko Agishi, M.D.

CHRONIC DISEASES

Chronic reumatic diseases
Functional recovery of central and peripherial neuroparalysis
Metabolic diseases, especially diabetes, obesity and gout
Chronic gastrointestinal diseases
Chronic mild respiratory diseases
Circulary diseases, specially moderate or mild hypoertension
Peripherial circulatory diseases (affecting the hands and feet)
Chronic skin diseases
Psychosomatic and stress related diseases
Automatic nervous system dysfunction
Vibration disorder (a middle ear disorder afecting balance)
Sequela of (condition resulting from) trauma
Chronc gynecological diseases

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