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Medical Hidrology, equivalent to French Crenotherapy or German Balneoterapy, deals with the study of mineral-medicinal waters and their potential therapeutic or preventive uses. The mineral-medicinal waters are hardly reproductive solutions that induce peculiar responses on healthy or ill human beings which justify their consideration by the competent authorities of holding public utility.

 Balneotherapy may involve hot or cold watermassage through moving water, relaxation or stimulation.

In any case, the intrinsic water properties, and more precisely its structure and the suspended or solved substances transported in it, explain its crucial role in vital activities and, in our case, its therapeutic or preventive actions.

Chemical effects.

The chemical composition of water used in balneotherapy varies greatly, depending on the source. Sulfur, present in “sulfur waters” as a free or combined ion, is one of the most common chemicals in mineral spa waters. It is known to promote keratolysis, the loosening and shedding of the outer layer of the skin, which can be effective in treating certain skin conditions, such as acne. It also possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties, believed to be the result of sulfur interacting with reactive oxygen molecules in the epidermis to produce an acidic environment that prevents microbe growth.

Other minerals act differently. Magnesium, for example, inhibits the synthesis of polyamines, essential molecules in eukaryotic cells. Polyamines are thought to play a role in the development of psoriasis. When patients with psoriasis soak in water with high magnesium concentrations, they often see an improvement in their conditions.

Thermal effects.

Hot water has several beneficial effects. Heat increases the concentration of beta-endorphin, a natural painkiller. In addition to its analgesic effects, beta-endorphin boosts the immune system, slows the growth of cancer cells and increases relaxation.

Heat also prevents inflammation, probably by increasing the secretion of cortisol and catecholamines, two hormones produced by the adrenal glands. For this reason, doctors often prescribe hot-water baths to treat inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or dermatitis, as well as certain autoimmune diseases.

Mechanical effects.

An immersed body experiences a force applied by the water on all sides. This force is known as hydrostatic pressure and can have many benefits. In the lower legs and feet, which are deeper and feel a greater force, it reduces swelling, decreases blood pooling and helps to return venous blood to the heart. Hydrostatic pressure may also contribute to lower working heart rates while in the water.

Buoyancy, the upward vertical force of water on a submerged body, is another important mechanical effect. Buoyancy counteracts the effects of gravity and reduces compression of the joints. Many people who can’t exercise on land bearing their full weight can exercise vigorously and comfortably in water.

Immunological effects.

Some research suggests that trace elements present in mineral water are absorbed through the skin and affect the immune system. Sulfur water is believed to inhibit proliferation of certain lymphocytes and their ability to produce and release cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help regulate the immune response. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis produce an excess of interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), two important cytokines. By inhibiting IL-1 and TNF-alpha, sulfur water may relieve symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

 

Balneotherapy may be recommended for wide range of health conditions, it  is said to be useful in treating:

 

  • Skin diseases, including psoriasis and eczema
  • Mild respiratory diseases
  • Metabolic diseases, especially gout and diabetes
  • Autonomic nervous system dysfunction
  • Gynecological diseases
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Circulatory diseases, mostly mild to moderate hypertension
  • Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stress-related diseases
  • Low back pain
  • Varicose veins
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

 

 

 

 

 

Physiological Effects of Balneotherapy

 

Thermal Effects

 

Hyperthermia–exogenous elevation of the body temperature, local or systemic–by means of a bath or poultice, has been demonstrated as a beneficial therapeutic measure for centuries.

 

Local Heat Effects

 

  • Reduction of pain
  • Acceleration of collateral blood circulation
  • Elevation of cellular fluids
  • Relaxation of the skeletal musculature
  • Enhanced range of motion, stretching capacity of collagen structures
  • Antiphlogistic (anti-inflammatory) effect
  • Stimulation of the sympathetic nerves
  • Increase in heart rate and stroke volume
  • Overall sedative effect
  • Hormonal stimulation
  • Immunostimulation (mild Hyperthermia)
  • Immunosuppression (extreme Hyperthermia)
  • Adaptation of the vegetative functioning

 

 

 

The Health Benefits of Balneotherapy have been recognized for the ability to:

 

  • Accelerating cell activity
  • Increasing cell oxygenation
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Increasing body metabolism
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Eliminating toxins
  • Nourishing vital organs and tissues
  • Promoting relaxation
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Relieving pain.

 

 

 

 

Our Spring: Burga, Dávila 48ºC

 

Analysis and Composition

 

ORGANOLEPTIC ANALYSIS

Flavour: Insipid

Odour: Mild Sulphured

Colour: Colourless

 

PHYSICOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES

Temperature: 48ºC

pH at spring temperature: 8.0

 

DRY RESIDUE AT 180ºC: 653.6

 

DRY RESIDUE AT 110ºC: 675.6

 

DISSOLVED SUBSTANCES

ANIONS CATIONS
    mg/l   mg/l
  Chlorine 225.9 Sodium 216.4
  Fluorine 10.7 Potassium 6.3
  Carbonic Acid 180.8 Lithium 0.7
  Carbon Trioxide 0.0 Calcium 9.4
  Nitrate 1.9 Magnesium 0.4
  Thiol 0.1 Strontium 0.3
  Sulfate 6.5    
         

 

DISSOLVED GASES

Carbon Dioxide mg/l 0.99
Hydrogen Sulfide mg/l 0.0

 

DERIVED PROPERTIES calcium carbonate

Hardness mg/l Calcium Carbonate 25.1
Alkalinity mg/l Calcium Carbonate 140.0

 

CLASSIFICATION

By its Temperature Hyperthermal
By its Mineralization Medium Mineralization
By its Composition Predominant ions: Chloride, Bicarbonate, Sodium
By its Hardness Very Soft

 

Properties at local level

Antiseptic and bacteriostatic action related with modifications at local tissular conditions. Sedative, emollient and antinflammatory action. Induces desquamation of respiratory mucous membrane, increases local circulation and functional recovery and improves inmunocompetence-related issues.

Techniques:

Thermal Bath (individual), Thermal Massage Jet, Thermal Shower, Thermal Pool, Nasal Shower, Pharyngeal Pulverization, Aerosol.

Indications

Rhinitis, cronic pharyngitis, astma, COPD, rheumatisms, dermatological diseases (eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis…) and relaxing therapies.