Mineral spas restoring health and spirit
In the old days visits to a thermal spring or mineral spas was for treatments of illnesses the Romans sang praises for the benefits of mineral waters and hot springs properties. As time went by Italian spa evolved from being treatment centers into spa holiday resorts and for executives seeking to rejuvenate from their stressful jobs.
Mineral spas are still center for healing and nourishing mind, body and spirit with a little twist that people do not go there just for the healing properties of thermal water but also for beauty treatments. This has given rise to a new business concept called 'Health Care Tourism'.
Here are a list of the most common treatments provided at Mineral Spas:
1. MINERAL WATER DRINKING.
This is considered one of the most important form of thermal spa treatment where you drink a healthy dosage of mineral water with oligomineral and bicarbonate to treat problems connected to liver, intestines and digestive system. Thermal water consumed encourages and stimulate metabolic balance and the regenerate the body which is often run down by stress of modern living.
In many cases mineral water drinking treatments are combined with other thermal treatments such as hydrofango-balneotherapy (mud-immersion) where the mud treatments focuses on the liver.
2. THERMAL STEAM CAVES
The term anthrotherapy refers to all therapeutic uses of water vapor released inside natural geological caves or at time in artificial man-made environments. The caves are grouped into either hot or cold caves depending on the internal temperature. There are humid-hot caves also known as thermal caves or dry-hot caves called steam caves. With the steam caves the steam is released through cracks found along the walls or from the floor.
A particular micro-climate is found inside these caves due to water temperature, chemical compositions, humidity level, composition of any thermal gases, rock composition and level of ionization in the air.
This type of treatment is for the whole body and treatment is administer by observing the patient tolerance to the environmental conditions he/she is exposed to, in particular 'thermal pressure'. Anthrotherapy is suitable for treatment of rheumatic and articular problems. It is also beneficial for people who suffers from respiratory disorders such as myself I am extremely sensitive to pollen in the air. You guess it, my favorite excursion is to visit thermal caves all around Piedmont Italy.
3. IRRIGATION AND JET SHOWER TREATMENTS
Irrigation and internal jet showers are thermal treatments which allows mineral water and thermal gases to come into contact with the body open cavities (rectal, vaginal and nose). Mineral water is collected in special containers called irrigators, it is brought to the right temperature and density required for the desired treatments. In all cases special probes are used for perfusion of the membranes, stillicidum (drop by drop) irrigation allows the thermal water to be properly absorbed. Jet shower is used to spray micronised shower onto treatment areas an is particularly suitable for treating endotympanic disorders.
It is believed this irrigation treatment of the female genital organs is able to regulate healthy menstrual cycles as well as healthy ovaries as the water contains salt, iodine and bromide.
More common treatment is oro-rhino-pharyngel cavity it uses a micronized nasal showers which ensure deep level penetration of the thermal water therapeutical properties. Personally I tried this and found it to help with my allergy but it's quite expensive to keep taking the treatments.
Irrigatory methods are also used to treat intestinal disorders for which three types are the the most common treatments - rectal shower, proctoclysis and micro-enema. These are taken to treat cronic colon disorders and to normalize constipation problems.
This means the introduction of mineral waters or its gaseous components into the respiratory tract using special equipment that atomizes the water into very small particles. It comes in two forms - humid inhalations or dry inhalations depending on whether the thermal water atomization is carried out with water vapor or pressurized air. The main types of inhalation treatments are nebulization therapy, inhalation, aerosol therapy, humages and insufflation. This treatment can either be administer on one-to-one basis or in a group where everyone is sits in a special room built for this purpose.
This is the partial immersion of the body in thermal water. It is one of the main spa treatments offered and performed by all spas. Due to the curative properties of the thermal water during balneotherapy the thermal water acts through certain stimuli - heat action, mechanical stress, physical-chemical and chemical actions.
There are three types of baths - low mineralization, medium mineralization and high mineralization. It is made up of temperature of the water and saline concentration of the mineral water used. Salt concentration in the water helps to combat the different therapeutic needs of our bodies. It increases our caloric action which is a direct relationship between the specific weight and the heat and heat retention capacity. It strengthens hydromechanical actions and finally stimulate our nerves system by altering our osmotic currents which cause the internal stress of our bodies. Results from taking a bath in this type of water are clearly different from us taking a hot bath at home using normal tap water.
Immersion in thermal water can also be combined with hydromassage spa treatments.
Thermal mud is a special mixture formed of claylike solid component, thermal water and organic components that forms during a maturation period. According to their special needs structure, thermal muds act in a curative manner through specific stimuli - heat action, mechanical stress, physical-chemical and chemical action.
No other substance is quite like mud which has the physical and physical-chemical properties needed to generate heat, then slowly release it. Mud packs using thermal mud are particularly suitable for the treatments of dermatological, arthro-rheumatic and locomotion problems, gout and also gynaecological complaints are also treatable by applying mud directly on the pelvis areas.
7. SAND BATHS
Sand baths uses sea sand with its distinctive saline components. The salts and organic components found in the sand come from self-filtration process results from movement of the waves. Sand therapy often forms part of a more complex spa treatment where it is combined with seawater balneotherapy and other specific thermal treatments. These sort of treatments are usually found only at Italian spa located near the sea.
This spa treatment is highly recommended for rheumatic and osteoarthritic conditions. It can also be good for treating skin problems such as psoriasis.
OTHER SPA TREATMENTS
Of course you will always find massage therapy and pressotherapy at spas. These days many Italian spas offers oriental/Asian massages such as Thai massages and reflexology as well. Regular massages is considered very beneficial to a managing stress in releases pressured points as well as encourages blood-circulation which in turn improve our body digestive system. Apart from body treatments there are also many facial treatments to choose from.
The significant difference between spas in Asia and Italy is that Italy spa are very old some dating back as far as 5000 years old and are established in natural surroundings while those in Asia are normally man-made.
In Japan, the Japanese swears by thermal spring baths (Onsen). Infant, children and adults from young to the old visit public bath houses regularly. Perhaps this is one of the secret why mortality rates in Japan is high. Food for thoughts.
VISIT ITALY SPAS
If you live nearby or is planning to visit Italy on your holiday make a point to visit an aged-old Italian spa especially one that offers natural thermal cave treatments. We guarantee you will have lots to talk about with friends back home after. Read our Italian spa destinations next to give you some ideas of where you should consider giving yourself a treat. Feel the difference between an ancient Italy mineral spa and a modern spa for yourself.
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