We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Balneology?

By Erica Stratton
Updated Jan 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Balneology is the practice of bathing as a way to stimulate health and cure some disorders. Evidence has been found of human beings using hot springs since the Bronze Age. The practice of bathing for health is still part of some cultures, but in others, it has been rejected because of claims that it is a sham. Most often, the water in which the bathing takes place has been imbued with some kind of mineral, though simply cold or hot water has also been used to massage the body.

The study of balneology began with the discovery of hot springs. These naturally steaming waters are often imbued with minerals which are beneficial to the skin. Historically, public bathhouses were offered in many countries, such as Italy, to promote everyone's health and well-being. During the Roman empire, heated baths were open to the public. Bath attendants, who doubled as doctors, took care of the facilities and recommended which types of soaks would be the most helpful to each person.

Compounds such as sulfur, iron, bicarbonate, and boron are often found in hot springs. Bicarbonate helps open peripheral blood vessels. Sulfur can help with some kinds of skin conditions, and inhaling the fumes can improve respiratory problems. Sodium chloride can be beneficial in that it helps with arthritis. When used in small doses, boron can strengthen the muscles.

Besides the heath benefits of certain kinds of minerals, simply bathing in very hot water is said to encourage circulation and relaxation. The constant bubbling of hot springs or the pressure of water jets in modern bathtubs can provide a soothing massage, while the heat encourages stressed muscles to loosen up. Some disorders balneology may alleviate include arthritis, sports injuries, poor circulation, and skin conditions. Some hot springs even make the claim that they can help with infertility.

Balneology remains a common practice in Asia and Europe. Many of the spa facilities are government-funded. In Asia, some hot springs are famous worldwide. Tourists travel from all over the world to bathe in the hot springs found in Japan. Some hot springs are used by snow monkeys in the wild for the same reasons humans take advantage of them.

In the United States, the use of balneology as a medical treatment reached its peak in the 1940s. Soon after, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disavowed many health spas for making fraudulent claims about the water's effects. Since then, balneology has not been considered a major medical treatment in the United States.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.