Thermal therapies in Ancient Greece
Hippocrates (460- 375 B.C.), who is considered to be the father of medical science and hydrotherapy classifies the waters in three categories: drinking water, saline water and sea water. By the term “saline water” he meant the curative waters. In his works he highlighted the effect of the climate his beliefs about the climate and the therapeutic properties of the waters, the basis on which the science of climatotherapy and hydrotherapy formed. Greece today operates fully functional the same baths and springs Hippocrates studied under its unique climate and Mediterranean diet.
Thermal therapies in Ancient Greece
Health-Wellness Tourism Services. Enjoy the experience of a spa, hydrotherapy, massage and more.
- Depending on the health of the person concerned and the requested service, an attractive program is formed. high quality selection of the right hot springs for the needs of visitors and on the other hand the natural environment and tourist infrastructure.
- The training of the health-tourism product, which is addressed to the patient and his / her companions, taking into account his cultural backgrounds.
Hydrotherapy is the use of curative water of special composition in the treatment of different conditions, including arthritis and related rheumatic complaints. Hydrotherapy differs from swimming because it involves special exercises that you do in a warm-water pool. The water temperature is usually 33–36ºC, which is warmer than a typical swimming pool. According to proponents of hydrotherapy, cold water causes superficial blood vessels to constrict, moving blood flow away from the surface of the body to organs. Hot water causes superficial blood vessels to dilate, activating sweat glands, and removing waste from body tissues.
Alternating hot and cold water is thought to decrease inflammation and stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage.
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Thalasso- therapy is a form of health treatment, during which, sea water or also other natural resources are used for mainly therapeutic reasons. It is indicated for:
- Ailments of the cardiovascular system
- Ailments of the respiratory system
- Skin ailments
- Musculoskeletal ailments
- Rheumatisms e.t.c.
In recent years, thallaso – therapeutic centres integrated in luxurious hotels, operate in the country. The basic principal of thallaso – therapy is the heating of the sea water until it reaches a temperature of 35 – 37o C. The necessary prerequisite of a thallaso – therapy centre is that the facility is located near the sea and that the water is pumped out from a distance of at least 400 meters from the shore and from a depth of 2, 5 meters. Under no circumstances, is it possible to apply thallaso – therapy in centres that are not located near the sea!
Clay therapy is a form of therapeutic treatment. It is realised with the use of mature therapeutic clay and it is indicated for:
- Ailments of the musculoskeletal system
- Gynecological ailments
- Skin ailments
- Psoriasis e.t.c.
The application of clay on the human body is whole or partial either with the immersion of the body in it or with local application. The treatment can include 10 to 15 applications, with an in-between break of 1-2 days and its duration is 20 minutes. The temperature of the clay must be around 44oC. The place where clay therapy is applied must fulfill the cleaning and ventilation conditions.
It is a fact that the climate affects human health more than any other ecological element. In our country, there are no officially acknowledged places where climatotherapy is applied, for the treatment of the cure of human health. However, climatotherapy is applied indirectly in many areas of curative springs and visitors remain in the baths because of the healthy climate. For instance, in Therma Ikarias, in Kamena Vourla, in Samothrace, in Loutraki and elsewhere, visitors can feel the beneficial effect of the climate. In our country, we have yet to acknowledge “places or thermalistic environments for climatotherapy”. Setting the necessary conditions of acknowledgment of places of recovery – climatotherapy, is in the essence a recognision of what is already being done. Thus, new dimensions of thermalism are highlighted and especially in our country, which is known for its diversity in climate. Climatotherapy, as an autonomous treatment, is applied in special centres, mainly in central Europe. Climatotherapy in general and sea climate in particular are especially indicated for:
- Ailments of the respiratory system
- Ailments of the nervous system
- Metabolic disorders e.t.c.
Mountainous climate is indicated for:
- Ailments of the respiratory system
- Ailments of the vasculature e.t.c.
Elements that concern climatotherapy are for example the height of an area above sea level, the barometric pressure, the air temperature, rainfalls, humidity, the direction and the intensity of the wind, clouds and the intensity of sun radiation e.t.c. The singularity of the place, the result of the ground radiation and other similar factors plays a major role, in its application. Our country has a lot of places for bioclimatotherapy.
Top Thermal Springs in Greece
In Greece there are more than 200 thermal springs and baths, 70 of witch were accredited to become spa facilities by the Greek Tourism Ministry.
Α list of few selected units due to their unique features:
In the northernmost village of the prefecture of Serres, in Agistro, and 8km away from the Greek-Bulgarian borders, is the oldest Turkish bathhouse.
The sources of Agistro are considered among the best in Europe, they have a temperature of 39-41° C and the waters are ideal for:
- Diseases of the circulatory and nervous system
- Dermatologically diseases
The springs are open the whole year round, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Therapeutic Indications: Rheumatisms, arthritis
Visitors can enjoy their bath in the byzantine tub, which built around 950 A.D. Three big hydrants supply the historic group tub with an abundant flow of hot water. Five individual tubs also operate. It is open the whole year round, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Edipsos is the most popular spa town in Greece. The town is situated in Northern Evia
Thermal waters have been rising through the rocks from a depth of 3000 meters. The mineral springs of Edipsos have healing properties and are well-known since the 4th century B.C. mentioned in scripts of Plutarch, Aristotle and Strabon, as the “Herculian Thermae”.
The bath facilities are the largest and most modern in the country, including indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpool baths and hydro-massage.
The area has more than 60 important springs with various temperatures ranging from 34 to 71.2 degrees Celsius, all rich in valuable minerals and microelements best suited for the following conditions:
- Chronic or sub-acute rheumatisms
- Deforming arthritis, spinal arthritis, etc.
- Ischialgia, lower-back morbidity, etc.
- Post-traumatic ankylosis and deformities
- Chronic gynecological conditions
- Skin diseases
- Respiratory diseases
Located 6 km away to the famous Gera Bay, NW of the city of Mytilene. The thermal water is channeled through a subterranean duct into two paved communal pool tanks. The thermal spring of Gera Bay is compared to the physicochemical properties of the famous German thermal springs and Loutraki.
The temperature of the water of the spring is 39.7oC and it is characterized Hot Cl- Na- Ca- Li- Br- B hypotonic, slightly radioactive curative water of the municipality of Lesvos.
The Gera Gulf thermal springs are appropriate to the following diseases:
- Νeurological ailments
- Chronic injuries
The hydrotherapy centre has two group pools. The baths are open all year round.
The Kaiafas thermal springs are situated south of the Ilia prefecture, at the feet of Lapitha mountain, in a wonderful area covering about 550 hectares, with a coast of 3.5 km, on the Kaiafas lake, at Loutra, which is just 25 km away from the archaeological site of Olympia.
Renowned since antiquity include two springs, Anigrides Nymphes and Geranio or Atlantides Nymphes.
The property includes the Kaiafas forest which has been designated as a landscape of natural beauty and is listed in the National NATURA 2000 directory.
The Anigrides Nymphes spring has a sodium hydrochloride composition with free hydrogen sulphide in large quantities. The cave (spring) is divided in two parts, the large and the small one. At the large one the temperature ranges from 32ο to 35ο C, while at the small one, from 29ο to 34ο C. The water springs from the ground, at some points hot and at other points cold, it is mixed creating a natural hammam, and is recommended for the following conditions:
- Conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system (lower-back morbidity,ischialgia, osteoarthritis,rheumatoid arthritis,cervical syndrome,spondyloarthritis, psoriatic rheumatism)
- skin diseases,
- liver and gallbladder diseases
At a distance of about 200 m is the Gerani thermal spring, the waters of which are ideal for positherapy (water drinking therapy).
The facilities provided are:
Hydrotherapy centre (1 outdoor swimming pool with thermal spring water for kinesiotherapy treatments, 13 private bathtubs, doctor’s room, waiting areas)
Operates from the beginning of June until the end of October.
The Hotel Olympia, 2*, Rooms: 18 (36 beds), the rooms are equipped with air-condition, refrigerator, television, and offer views to the Kaiafas lake. Their private baths are equipped with showers.The hotels are built on the lake’s islet, on an oblong strip of land 1,300 m long and 100 m wide, connected with the dry land by a narrow stone bridge, 85 m long. Near the hotels there are coffee shops and restaurants.
On the islet there are also outdoor wooden structures for sports activities organized in the lake.
The Mud Bath of Krinides is located 171km from Thessaloniki, 17km from Kavala, 19km from Drama and 3)km from the village of Krinides.
Operating Period: June 1 – September 30
The mechanism of action of the clay is based on the use of “mature” clay. Application of the clay may be total or partial, by immersion of the body in it or by applying clay on it. The unique place works as a “sustainable laboratory of nature” providing clay for tens of thousands of years ago up to today. In the past, geological, ecological, biological, chemical conditions and complex physical mechanisms were favorable in the creation of the right environment by and in which therapeutic clay was created and aged naturally. The therapeutic effect of clay is twofold: it performs topical effect (on the surface of skin) and general effect (in various functions, thanks to substances that penetrate into the body.
Limnos thermal spa
At the foothills of Mount Profitis Ilias, between Myrina and Kornos, the curative properties of water have been used since antiquity. Its temperature is 35-45oC beneficial for rheumatism and arthritis diseases, osteoporosis. The baths are open throughout the year and is of high quality and design offering hydrotherapy, mud therapy, massages as well as health and beauty services.
Loutra Pozar famous for the healing properties of the Aridea springs in northern Greece are located at the foot of the Kaimaktsalan Mountain outside the city of Edessa just an hour and a half from Thessaloniki,
The warm water that gushes from the springs at a constant temperature of 37 °C (98.6 °F) all year round. The springs sit at an altitude of 390 meters above sea level and are created by rainwater that penetrates into the ground and reaches great depths, where it is heated and enriched with minerals and other components. The water has therapeutic properties and is recommended for rheumatism, skin conditions, respiratory and circulatory problems. Key minerals present in the waters include Potassium, Sodium, Lithium, Manganese, Magnesium, Silicon, Fluorine, and Iron.
The thermal springs complex features an Olympic-size outdoor pool, 8 individual baths, 6 indoor pools, the outdoor pool (12x25m) hamams, jacuzzi and spa. The open pool is naturally shaped in the bank of the hot river. It also has two amazing waterfalls: the first one is at 37 °C and the other, which is mixed with cold water, is at 30 °C.
Cosmopolitan Loutraki lies 80 km from Athens, on the side of the Corinthian Gulf, at the foot of Gerania. His reputation on healing and table water are of unparalleled quality has reached the end of the world. Loutraki is a modern thermal city resort.
The temperature of the water is 30oC and the temperature in the spring that gushes the table natural mineral water is 19,5oC.The characterisation of the water is Tepid Cl- Na- Mg- K- Br hypotonic, moderately radioactive curative water of the municipality of Loutraki – Perachora – Agioi Theodoroi.
The hydrotherapy is indicated for the following conditions:
- Chronic rheumatisms
- Chronic rheumatoid arthritis
- Infections of the skin
- Allergic skin ailments
The mineral water drinking therapy is indicated for the following conditions:
- Heart ailments
- Digestive ailments
- Disorders of the circulatory system
- Liver failure
- Kidney stones
Loutraki Thermal Spa comprised of 5.000 m2 has 3 indoor pools with curative water at different temperatures (31o C, 34o C, 25o C), a big outdoor pool, 10 individual tubs, 2 places for douches with the curative water, 2 places for mud therapy, 2 places for thin rain shower and other places for special treatments.
The thermal springs are located seven kilometers west from the city of Sidirokastro, opposite of the mountain Beles and the river Strymona.
Sidirokastro area is the extensive geothermal field which, apart from the large amounts of heat it yields, has healing properties.
The temperature of the water is 43, 7- 55oC and it is characterized as superheated Na- Ca- K- HCO3- F-B hypotonic curative water
The thermal springs are suitable for the following diseases:
- Spilled disc
- Joint ailments
- Gynecological ailments
The mineral water drinking therapy is indicated for treatment of the liver, kidneys, bile, digestive, circulatory and urinary system, chronic colitis, gastritis, cholecystitis, ulcers, gallstones and nephrolithiasis.
A byzantine bath, 3 jacuzzi pools and 12 individual tubs operate in the hydrotherapy centre of the baths, while aromatherapy, chocolate therapy and clay therapy is provided. The temperature of the water in the facilities is 40-42oC. The baths remain open during the whole year, seven days a week and 24 hours a day. In the area, there is a hotel with a restaurant and other facilities for the care of the visitors.
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