The once-popular practice of soaking in thermal waters is staging a comeback, as spa-goers rediscover the benefits of “taking the waters.” It’s a tradition that often takes a backseat to weight-loss, beauty, and fitness.
Spa-ing around thermal springs dates as far back as the middle ages, as the population tapped into the idea that thermal waters were therapeutic. Aachen in Western Europe, developed from a Roman settlement and spa, and was popularised by King Charles I as a fashionable bathing/healing place. During the Renaissance era, towns like Spa in Belgium, Baden-Baden in Germany, and Bath in England, grew and flourished around natural thermal waters.
This renewed respect for sanitas per aqua is largely due to the benefits associated with thermal springs. Soaking in these “healing waters” does more than relax…
6 benefits to bathing in thermal water
- Releases endorphins, the hormones that help our wellbeing because they boost the immune system, relieve pain and stress, and can leave us in a euphoric state.
- Reduces stress as the heat gets the body’s natural sedating substances flowing, causing muscles to relax.
- Raises body temperature therefore eliminating germs and viruses. As the heat causes sweating, it eliminates toxins.
- Reinvigorates blood circulation, which also rids the body of toxins, as well as fuels vital organs, tissues, and cells with oxygen and nourishment.
- Relieves aches and pains, including arthritis. The waters act as a stress buster (as well as a massager) to joints, thus increasing mobility and soothing muscles.
- Reopens nasal/breathing passages and cleans out lungs, allowing better ability to breathe.
3 of the best spas where you can take to the water
Hot spots in Europe for taking the waters include Grotta Giusti near Florence, Italy, where guests rejuvenate in a natural underground thermal grotto, as well as revitalise with hydro-massage spa treatments, floatation and an exclusive spa diving experience.
If you want even more of a historical connection, Bagni di Pisa, a favourite with 18th century Tuscan royalty, boasts a stunning natural thermal grotto amidst hand-painted frescoes and marble floors.
Finally, the charming Fonteverde, nestled amongst the Siena Hills, is renowned as a therapeutic retreat surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and natural hot springs.
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