Nature has endowed Greece with numerous springs whose waters contain vital therapeutic properties. Spas are part of the country’s natural wealth, and their therapeutic properties have been well documented since ancient times.
Geographically, the sites of natural springs correspond with previous tectonic events (as is the case for example for the springs of Kaifa, Kyllini and Langada) or with volcanic activity (eg the springs of Methana, Milos, Lesbos, Samothrace, and Limnos).
The water of these springs is different to common water owing to the presence of rare mineral components. In addition to cold mineral springs, there are also hot springs which are employed therapeutically in spa hydrotherapy (thermalism) treatments. Hydrotherapy is particularly effective in the treatment of conditions such as arthritis and rheumatic diseases, and falls into two categories:
which includes drinking therapy (drinking of natural mineral waters), inhalation therapy (inhalation of fumes or droplets of mineral water) and lavages (oral, nasal, gynaecological)
which includes baths, jet showers (the body is hit by thermal mineral water under high or low pressure for a specific period of time), hydromassaging (the pressure of the water massages the body), hydrokinesotherapy (combination of balneotherapy and kinesotherapy for the period of time the body is inside the water) and fangotherapy (application of mud, which has “ripened”, on those parts of the body that suffer from various disorders).
For the development of spa and health tourism, two centres are already operating on Crete under the special operation sign of the Greek National Tourism Organisation thalassotherapy and two more are under construction.
This category of tourist infrastructure also includes 16 hydro-treatment centres (in Natural Mineral Springs of tourist importance), in which 1,400,000 therapeutic treatments (baths etc) are offered to approximately 100,000 individuals, as well as hydro-treatment centres at 40 springs of local importance.
Natural Spas – Historical Significance
The Greeks have looked to their spas for natural cures since ancient times and the country is speckled with numerous sites where natural springs are found. Each spring has, over time, been accredited with specific benefits for particular ailments and parts of the body. While it’s impossible to verify the substance of these claims, these spas are often situated in areas of great natural beauty. A handful of examples are:
- Eleutheria (Kavala)
- Said to be good for chronic rheumatism and arthritis
- Kaiafa (Ilia)
- Baths and bottled waters that claim to help arthritis, skin problems and liver ailments
- Kamea Vourla (Fthiotid)
- Baths claimed to aid rheumatism and arthritic deformations
- Kythnos (Cyclades islands)
- Spas are said to assist rheumatism, arthritis, gynaecological problems, sciatica, and myalgia
- Lesbos (Aegean islands)
- Numerous hot springs to treat a variety of ailments
- Smokovo (Karditsa)
- Baths and inhalation therapy are offered to assist rheumatism, respiratory problems, skin problems, and gynaecological disorders
- Souroti (Thessaloniki region)
- Bottled waters available to assist many digestive problems. Therma Ikarias On the island of Ikaria. Said to assist with chronic rheumatism, arthritic deformations, gout, and spondyliosis.
- Thermopylae In the Fthiotida region
- Baths to assist rheumatism, gynaecological problems, and peripheral nerve troubles.
- Vouliagmeni (Attica)
- Baths to assist rheumatism, nerve disorders, sciatica, and gynaecological problems