Balneotherapy: what are its benefits and how does a session take place?

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Whether salty or sweet, water is recognized for its many benefits. And for good reason, its therapeutic virtues have been used to heal, relax muscles and relieve certain pains since Antiquity. This practice was popular with the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians who frequently went to the thermal baths. Today, the best water treatments for self-healing are thalassotherapy and hydrotherapy. Among these cures, we also find balneotherapy.

What is balneotherapy?

The term “balneotherapy” means “care by the bath”. Balneotherapy thus corresponds to all the care and therapeutic treatments which are carried out in water baths heated between 30 and 34 degrees. But be careful, not just any water: the one used is fresh water. However, there is no need to go to a center to enjoy the benefits of this water. This therapy can be carried out in a thalassotherapy, hydrotherapy or balneotherapy center, in a spa but also at home in a balneotherapy bath.

This technique can be practiced for therapeutic purposes but also to relax. Although anyone can use it, this therapy is particularly recommended for patients suffering from rheumatism, osteoarthritis or sequelae linked to osteo-articular trauma. The goal of this method? Reduce the stresses exerted on the joints and muscles in the open air thanks to the Archimedes thrust, a thrust that a body undergoes immersed in a fluid. This phenomenon also allows the patient to perform exercises efficiently and smoothly.

Balneotherapy is based on the technical benefits of the devices used. This therapy encompasses different methods:

  • Hot tubs, where the whole body is immersed
  • Hydromassage baths, which work with water jets
  • The walk-in bath: these are corridors in which people walk in the opposite direction of the current
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What are the benefits of balneotherapy?

The virtues of balneotherapy are numerous. The heat of the water allows you to let go, relax and thus fight against stress. This technique is also known to relieve lower back pain, joint pain associated with chronic rheumatism and facilitate healing thanks to the heat of the water. Indeed, water heated to about 34 degrees stimulates blood circulation and relaxes muscles. Another virtue: the water jets can promote the elimination of cellulite and tone the skin. Balneotherapy also helps reduce muscle contractures and soothe the feeling of heavy legs. This method also eliminates toxins from the body because, thanks to the hot water, the pores of the skin dilate.

How does a balneotherapy session take place?

Balneotherapy sessions last on average between 30 minutes and an hour. During the first visit, the physiotherapist conducts an interview with the patient to identify the pain from which he is suffering and define the objectives of the sessions. Once this step is over, the patient can change. He then plunges into a pool heated to about 34 degrees. The session begins with a gradual warm-up. The patient then continues with a series of exercises aimed at re-educating the painful areas. Intensity and movements vary depending on the patient’s age and pain. The session ends with stretching. Balneotherapy sessions can be paid for by Health Insurance if they are prescribed by a doctor or specialist.

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Balneotherapy: what are the contraindications?

Balneotherapy is not suitable for everyone. It is not recommended in case of:

  • Hypertension
  • Phlebitis
  • Skin disorders (eczema)
  • Open wounds
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Angina
  • Otitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Pharyngite
  • Contagious diseases

Balneotherapy, thalassotherapy, hydrotherapy: what are the differences?

The difference between these three therapies is the water used in the baths. Balneotherapy is practiced in fresh water baths while thalassotherapy uses sea water. Hydrotherapy uses spring water.

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