Little ABC for your spa-break questions ...
In their treatment discriptions, wellness hotels often use technical terms, which are hard to understand for potential guests. We have therefore collected and defined the most relevant terms in our small wellness ABC. A tip: Our wellness dictionary also supports word requests. You don't need to know the exact wording.
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Thermal water - What is it exactly?
Water comes to the earth's surface at different temperatures. If water emerges with a temperature of more than 20°, it is called thermal water or a thermal spring. Thermal water is groundwater that is naturally heated under or near the earth's surface. Groundwater forms when precipitation penetrates soil or rock crevices and seeps away until it meets impermeable layers, such as clay or shale. On its way underground, various minerals and salts are dissolved in the water. Thermal water often contains carbonic acid and, in some cases, radioactive components. Depending on the procurement of the subsoil, the water can seep in for several hundred metres. The deeper the water penetrates, the higher the temperature of the water.
Is thermal water also healing water?
One speaks of healing water when even the most minor amounts of dissolved substances in the water lead to a scientifically recognised healing effect. Here, a minimum content of 1 gram of dissolved solid substances per litre of water applies. Thus, thermal water is always also a healing water, whereas not every healing water is also thermal water.
How does thermal water work?
The effect of thermal water varies greatly depending on its composition. Often, thermal water contains many minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, sulphates, iodine, carbon dioxide, or hydrogen sulphide. Depending on the concentration in the thermal water, these substances are beneficial to health and help with many illnesses. When bathing in thermal water, these substances are absorbed through the skin. The effect is felt after only 20 minutes of bathing. It makes more sense to take a break of 15 minutes between baths than to take a long bath. Some examples of the use of thermal water:
- Rheumatic diseases
- Spinal disorders
- Surgical aftercare
- Skin complaints
- Weakness and exhaustion
- Chronic gynaecological complaints
- Chronic joint pain
- Degenerative neuritis
In addition, thermal water has a positive effect on states of stress and exhaustion. This has been proven by scientific studies. A 25-minute bath in thermal water already leads to a significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.
Are there any contraindications?
Bathing in thermal water is not advisable for some illnesses, or a doctor should be consulted beforehand. These include:
- Severe heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Disturbance of the circulatory system
- Venous inflammation
- Vascular diseases
- Open wounds
- Malignant tumours
However, one should note that it depends on the respective composition of the thermal water. Brine baths have almost no side effects. Even thermal water with a high Co2 content usually is harmless. A high sulphur content can cause skin irritations or circulatory problems.
Can I enjoy a bath in thermal water during pregnancy?
In principle, bathing in thermal water is no problem for pregnant women. However, care should be taken that the duration of the bath does not exceed 15 minutes. Especially up to the 12th week of pregnancy, overheating the body should be avoided.
Is it possible to drink thermal water?
In addition to baths, thermal water can also have a health-promoting effect as a drinking cure. A drinking cure with thermal water can be particularly beneficial for gastrointestinal tract diseases, metabolic diseases, or diabetes.
Does thermal water also have positive effects on the skin?
Depending on the ingredients, thermal water has a different effect on the skin. For example, thermal water with a high content of sulphur or saline thermal water has an antibacterial effect and soothes irritated skin. Thermal water rich in carbon dioxide promotes blood circulation and improves the oxygen supply to the skin.
Thermal water not only has positive effects on the skin it also has a soothing effect on the scalp and can reduce itching and dandruff.
Does thermal water come directly from the spring into the pool?
Before the thermal water enters the pools, it must be treated in accordance with the legal regulations for swimming and bathing pool water. Therefore, it can be assumed that thermal water is also chlorinated in small quantities. Brine pools are an exception, as here, the salt takes over the disinfecting effect.
Thermal water and spas - an invention of modern times?
The first rudiments of bathing for cultic purposes can already be found in the Stone Age. The use of baths in ancient Greece blossomed with Hippocratic medicine. Hippocratic medicine expressly turned away from washing for cultic purposes - its primary concern was prophylaxis and therapy. Although stimulation therapy was in the foreground, there is also a precise examination of the effect of natural mineral water in the Hippocratic writings.
In Roman times, bathing became a popular leisure activity for the citizens through the construction of magnificent thermal bathhouses. The thermal baths became even more extensive and more luxurious. In its heyday, 11 aqueducts and over a thousand fountains supplied the various imperial thermal and public baths. In addition to their function as bathing establishments, the thermal baths were genuine wellness temples even in those days. From manicures and pedicures to massages and cosmetic treatments, everything was possible in the Roman thermal baths.