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Balneotherapy: Specific Balneae

Sunday, 21 December 2008

balneotherapy balneaeMineral water is extremely beneficial for people - both when it is used externally and internally. The mighty therapeutic and recovery modality of the mineral waters exist due to sols, carbon dioxide, sulphurated hydrogen, nitrogen and some quickly disintegrating radionuclides (e.g. radon) containing in such waters.

Other factors of importance are: the thermal factor (authentic mineral waters near the spring are usually rather warm) and the mechanical one (the massaging effect of the bubbles).

Balneotherapy (derived from the Latin word balneum - the bath-tub or bathing, and from a Greek word therapia - treatment; which together mean «treatment by bathing») is the use of natural or artificially prepared mineral waters for preventive measures or treatment of different illnesses, including cosmetological and restorative purposes.

Balneotherapy includes:

  • External use of mineral waters (bathing or taking showers);
  • Use of mineral waters for endocavitary procedures (gastric, enteral and vaginal washings and lavage).
  • Drinking mineral waters with healing effect.
  • Mineral water balneae is an effective way to increase the phylactic powers of our organism, to train its abilities to adapt and moreover, mineral waters are of the unequalled help when the complex therapy of illnesses is carried out. Last years are marked by the increased interest of cosmetologists towards balneological treatment.

Indications for taking balneae:

  • Diseases of the cardiovascular system
  • Pathologies of the digestive tract
  • Diseases of the central nervous system or the peripheral nervous system
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Urological and endocrine diseases, «female» diseases
  • Diseases of locomotor apparatus
  • Rehabilitation after different sorts of surgeries
  • Absolute contraindications:
  • Recrudescences or an acute stage of some disease;
  • Contagious disease which are easily caught by other people; parasites
  • Pregnancy
  • Bleedings or aptitude to them
  • Oncological diseases
  • Breast pang, paroxysmal dyspnea, heart-throb rhythm disturbance.

How are the procedures carried out?

These procedures are carried out only under the care of a physician and in specially equipped establishments placed in the maximum proximity to the source of mineral water. Rather often such procedures are combined with the mudtherapy, climatotherapy and diet therapy. The patient gets into the bath tub of into the pool of prepared water, relaxes and takes a balneum for a strictly defined time. Usually the course of treatment includes 10-14 times of balneum taking, but there are other options as well.

In the middle of the treatment course patient often start feeling a slight worsening of their health, which is called «pathological balneotherapy reaction»: the body temperature goes up a bit, the blood values are changed, there may be heart hurry or fluctuations in blood pressure, etc. This is natural and in two or three days all unpleasant effects disappear without any external assistance.

What sorts of balneae should be chosen?

There are lots of different sorts of them - everything depends on the specific purposes of treatment. One factor should be taken into attention: the impact of balneae upon the human organism is so mighty that it can actually cause serious health problems if the prescription was wrong. That's why - be very careful and don't run any risks.

The most common sorts of balneae:

  • Gaseous balneae (with carbon dioxide, sulphurated hydrogen, nitrogen)
  • Sol balneae (with chloride and sodium; with iodide-bromine, chloride and sodium)
  • Radioactive balneae (radon balneae)


Balneotherapeutic treatment has its own wide experience and well-shaped traditions. Surely one should choose a health resort, situated near the springs of mineral water, and preferably having a long history of its usage. Some bath-houses were founded in the days of the Roman Empire and even at those times were used on medical purposes.

Such resorts are in Austria (states of Styria and Salzburg), Hungary, Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz), Italy (Veneto, Liguria, Tuscany), Slovenia (Lower Carniola, Savinja), France (Aquitania, Brittany), Switzerland (Valais, Swiss Riviera).

In addition to the hydrotherapeutic procedures at the balneological resorts you are offered a wide range of special health-improvement programs: massages (including the oriental massage techniques - Thai massage, shiatsu massage, reflexogenic massage), different sorts of gymnastics, teaching the right way of nutrition, Ayurveda. The traditional additions to these procedures are the cosmetic programs for the body, carried out by means of different sorts of equipment. These procedures are: lymph drainage, anticellulite massage and electrical procedures.

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