Spa Treatments and Definition of Balneology

Discover the World of Balneotherapy

On this page you will find all the important information on balneotherapy: its definition, origins, the classic treatment areas and how and where you can enjoy a magnificent healthy holiday with healing balneotherapy treatments.


What is Balneotherapy?

Balneotherapy Definition:

Balneotherapy can be defined as all therapies in which thermal mineral water baths or pools are the main focus. It typically involves bathing in natural thermal lakes or ponds, but can also involve bathing in swimming pools filled with thermal water or with a direct tap to the thermal source. The word balneotherapy is of Greek origin and is composed of "balneo", meaning "bath", and "therapy", meaning "treatment" or "health treatment".

Balneotherapy Origins:

Bathing has been used for millennia as a way of cleaning, soothing and healing the body. Archeologists have found bathing rooms in the palace of Knossos even date back to the 18th century BC and evidence of people bathing in thermal springs and in lakes and seas even as early as the 1st centruy BC. Bathing was very popular amongst the romans and some of their bath houses exist even today.

In the Victorian era, spa towns regained popularity and developed around natural springs in beautiful locations. Doctors explored the beneficial use of spring water for the health and developed our modern day spa and bathing therapies.

Our 8 Most Popular Destinations for Balneotherapy

Balneotherapy in Combination

Since balneotherapy literally means "healing with the help of bathing" we often get the question "is it just bathing" and nothing more? The answer is of course no: today, balneotherapy involves many varied treatments and is often combined with other spa therapies, creating an all-round holistic healing effect.

Balneotherapy and Hydrotherapy:

Balneotherapy is also often combined with hydrotherapy, which is more focused on exercises and muscle regeneration using water (in pools, showers, water jets etc.).

Balneotherapy and Thalassotherapy:

Balneotherapy can also be combined with thalassotherapy. Thalassotherapy refers to a wide range of treatments using products from the sea, such as seawater, seaweed or sea salt, and involves bathing in seawater pools, which is then also a type of balneotherapy.

Balneotherapy and Kneipp Therapy:

Kneipp Therapy is a typical German spa treatment, using alternating hot and cold water baths and other water treatments, and is often combined with balneotherapy treatments.

Balneotherapy and Mineral Drinking Therapy

As you might guess, thermal spring water is not only great for bathing, but also for drinking. This can be in Mineral Water Drinking Therapy: simply drinking the spring water, in specific amounts prescribed by the spa doctor, which is beneficial for digestive or mineral deficiency problems. Or in Inhalation Therapy: when the spring water is breathed in as a steam, which is highly beneficial for lung-related health issues.

Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea

Balneotherapy can also be undertaken at the Dead Sea in Jordan or Israel. This is especially beneficial for those with skin problems, such as psoriasis or vitiligo. Check out our page dedicated to Health Spa Hotels at the Dead Sea here.




Three people of different ages participate in exercise programmes within the framework of balneotherapy
Fill your cup with mineral water



 Woman enjoying a bath

Balneotherapy Benefits

A hot bath is something wonderful. It warms the whole body, relaxes us, softens the muscles, blood vessels expand and we can rest. In addition, with a balneo bath in health water, the medicines dissolved in the water are absorbed through the skin and also through the respiratory tract. Depending on the composition of the healing water, these medicines can induce different effects in the body. For example, they can stimulate metabolism or have a pain-relieving effect. In some cases, the healing water also contains other additives such as essential oils. These are usually selected and customized according to the individual to enhance the positive effect of the bath even more.

Balneotherapy Indications:

Balneotherapy is particularly good for: rheumatoid arthritis, blood circulation, stress relief and rehabilitation after sports injuries as well as general improvement of wellbeing.


Classic Balneotherapy Spa Treatments

What are the classic balneotherapy spa treatments?

  • Spring Water Bathing: due to the different mineral compositions, each type of spring water is suitable for different health issues.
  • Salt Water Bathing: the water is either naturally salty (i.e. from a salt lake or sea) or has added bath salts
  • Sulfur Bathing: spring water with a high sulfur content
  • Mud Bathing: mineral mud that is slightly watered-down with spring water
  • Oil Bathing: spring water with a herbal oil added
  • Exercise/watercourse: swimming in large pools where bodily movement is required, such as with a countercurrent channel.
  • Alternating hot-cold baths: first you will spend some time in a hot pool to warm you up, then a short dip in cold water, then hot water again, followed by cold water (Tip: don't be afraid of the short cold moments, after 5 minutes in warm water it is very beneficial and pleasant).
  • Partial bath: a bath where only some specific parts of the body are bathed

In addition to the baths, there are also the following complimentary balneotherapy treatments:

  • Mineral water drinking therapy: the spring water is used internally (drinkable). However, only a few types of spring water are suitable for this.
  • Inhalations: the health water is evaporated into steam and is taken in through the airways.


 Elderly woman in mud bath
Mud bath
 Man and woman bathe feet
Foot bath

How to Book Your Spa Package with Balneotherapy

Since most of our health spa programmes include balneotherapy anyway, they are titled according to their specific type of therapy offer and you have a really excellent range of programmes to choose from. Keep an eye out for the following offers:

  • Thermal Spa Therapy: Balneotherapy with thermal water
  • Thalassotherapy: Balneotherapy with seawater and other natural remedies from the sea
  • Kneipp Therapy: Special balneotherapy with many alternate hot-cold bath treatments and beneficial bath salts & oils
  • Complex Healing: Balneotherapy with complementary medical treatments
  • Mud Therapy: Balneotherapy with mud baths
  • Fango Therapy: Balneotherapy with thermal water and a special Italian mineral mud (Fango)
  • Radon Therapy: Balneotherapy with radon-containing mineral water
  • Sulfur Therapy: Balneotherapy with sulfur-containing mineral water

You can also choose your balneotherapy based on the mineral water and the other natural remedies unique to the different destinations. For this, have a look at our Spa Towns and Spa Towns in Europe pages.

Balneo Mini-Breaks

You don't always have to take a whole week of healthy holidays. Especially in the area of balneotherapy, there are also excellent offers for balneo weekends or balneo mini holidays. With these programmes, relaxation in the water is the focus and usually there are only a few other therapeutic treatments. Click here to view our Balneo Mini-Breaks.

Ett par njuter av ett bad i poolen

5 Elements of Complex Healing

5 Elements of Complex Healing

Therapy Trinity

Therapy Trinity

The Best Deals for Your Balneotherapy Spa Holiday

Here you will find our balneo bestsellers. Get inspired by these hotel deals and fall in love with your dream hotel! Whether short or long, a holiday with balneotherapy is always a good choice - your health will thank you!

Need More Inspiration for Your Trip? Learn More About Our Fascinating Spa and Travel Topics Below:

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