Balneotherapy is a set of cures carried out using natural sources of fresh water. Very often confused with thalassotherapy, this therapy is natural and not only helps prevent or treat certain diseases, but also ensures deep well-being. Balneotherapy has been used for a very long time, even before the Middle Ages and far from the kind of indoor hot tubs for sale that we all know today.
Deep meaning of the term "balneotherapy"
If we stick to its Greek etymology, the term "balneotherapy" comes from "balneo" which means bath, and "therapeuein" referring to therapy. Originally, this term was used to refer to all the medical treatments given in a bath. An evolution has been noted in the meaning of balneotherapy and it was considered in the Middle Ages as all water-based treatments.
Water healing: a very ancient practice among the Greeks
Since time immemorial, the Greeks have used water to treat certain pathologies. Indeed, following the research of archaeologists, several vestiges have been discovered proving that in the past, spaces were dedicated to water care. The very first were found in the Palace of Knossos, dating from 1700 BC. AD, and prove that it was not today that the Greeks began to enjoy the benefits of baths.
Sophistication of balneotherapy by the Romans
Although the Greeks began to practice balneotherapy very early on, it is to the Romans that we owe its sophistication as we know it today. They started to set up small private baths. And afterwards, it was neighborhood baths that were installed before we came to even larger public baths. The researchers discovered, between 206 and 217 BC. AD, traces of an establishment offering the public hot and cold baths spread over more than 15 hectares, with a capacity of 1,600 people. These are the "Baths of Caracalla".
Around 535, balneotherapy was abandoned following the fall of the Roman Empire. But it will resume all its rights during the Renaissance. According to certain writings, Montaigne greatly appreciated the balneotherapy which allowed him to relieve his urinary lithiasis problems.