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What Exactly is Balneotherapy? Benefits and Side Effects

Balneotherapy is a type of alternative therapy that has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years. In fact, because of its effects on various types of ailments and conditions, it’s being used and recommended by health professionals. So, why is it so popular? And what are the benefits of balneotherapy?

This type of therapy shares some similarities with hydrotherapy, but they’re not the same. This practice usually takes place in spas, using water and mineral salts through immersions, inhalations, and massages for therapeutic purposes. Professionals may also use medicinal mud.

Such has been its acceptance, that, in US alone, about 4.500,000 people follow balneotherapy programs each year. What’s more, several European countries have included this therapy in their public health systems. Today we want to invite you to discover more.

What exactly is balneotherapy?

Balneotherapy refers to a set of alternative treatments that are part of traditional medicine. Although the use of water for therapeutic purposes dates back to Hippocrates, the fame of balneotherapy occurred between the 18th and 19th centuries. This is when the first spas began to appear.

Since then and to this date, experts have discovered that water, mud, stones, and mineral salts can help promote the relief of various diseases. In addition, in general, the application of its various techniques promotes physical and mental well-being.

Popular techniques

In the practice of balneotherapy, various techniques are used for therapeutic purposes. Often, the spas that offer these services have waters rich in minerals such as silica, sulfur, selenium, radium, among others. These, in addition, usually vary in temperature. Also, the use of medicinal mud is frequent, and this particular technique is known as mud therapy.

Hot and cold therapy

This is the most popular technique in all spas. It involves various temperatures, depending on the therapeutic purpose. While the application of cold water improves skin health, relieves muscle spasms and pain; hot water dilates blood vessels, relaxes, and helps the metabolic system.


This technique involves the use of special salts to combat and treat various diseases. Through immersion in water with these salts, cardiovascular and respiratory health can improve. In addition, drinking these minerals supports the elimination of toxins and promotes renal and metabolic functioning.

Marine mineralization

The basis of this technique is the use of highly concentrated marine minerals to support the treatment of cardiovascular problems or skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne.

The Benefits of Balneotherapy

Balneotherapy uses techniques to improve blood flow and the ability to carry oxygen to every part of the body. Therefore, its practice has benefits for both the heart and the brain. Similarly, it helps regulate the nervous system and is beneficial for treating muscle and skin disorders.

At the same time, by using methods such as inhaling mineral water, balneotherapy is advisable to prevent and treat various diseases of the respiratory system. This also improves skin health, since it helps detoxify your tissues while fighting infections and acne. Other benefits of balneotherapy that deserve a mention are the following:

  • Supports the treatment of arthritis: While not a cure for the disease, it can help reduce pain to a certain extent according to research published in the Journal of Rheumatology.
  • Helps fibromyalgia patients: While more studies are necessary to support this benefit, balneotherapy appears to help fibromyalgia patients calm their pain and improve their mood.
  • Soothes back pain: Bathing in water with mineral and sulfurous salts contributes to the relief of back pain, especially in the lumbar area.
  • Improves mood: In general, people who undergo balneotherapy sessions notice an improvement in their mood. All of its techniques help to alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety.


Despite the benefits of balneotherapy that we mentioned above, it’s also important to take into account that there are some cases where this type of treatment is contraindicated. In particular, professionals advise against its use in patients with severe cardiovascular disease or advanced pregnancy.

At the same time, experts warn against its application for people with epilepsy or diseases such as tuberculosis and severe diabetes mellitus. At the same time, it’s important to clarify that you should consider these types of therapies as an aid to other established treatments, but not as a replacement for them.

If in doubt, it’s best to consult a doctor or expert in the field. A professional will be the one who evaluates if it’s a good idea to undergo this type of practice or not.

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