Greece is one leading destination for those seeking high quality holistic or lifestyle-based services that enhance their personal well-being, slow down the effects of ageing and at the same time prevent, relieve, and sometimes even cure a wide range of diseases. Known since antiquity for their healing properties, Greek thermal springs are at the core of wellness tourism. Today, spa and thalassotherapy centres operating around the country have taken wellness to a new level by using high-tech equipment, new-age practices and radical new scientific products that offer guests highly sophisticated, tailor-made wellness services.
Hippocrates, referred to as the “father of modern medicine,” was the first to record his experiences with the healing properties of water. People suffering from ailments like arthritis and rheumatic disorders can feel relief after taking a specialized hydro therapy treatment. However, beneficial properties are much broader and people of all ages can see their skin’s appearance improve, feel relaxed and remain physically, psychologically and spiritually balanced.
Where to go?
Thermal and mineral natural therapeutic springs could be found at some 850 locations around Greece. Their beneficial action offers visitors the opportunity to receive treatment for chronic conditions in a natural way (hydrotherapy), whereas the healing properties of seawater, seaweed, or sea mud help the visitor conquer stress and anxiety, and improve mental performance, revitalizing the spirit.
Visitors can choose among fourteen (14) hydro-therapeutic centres managed by the Greek National Tourist Organisation (G.N.T.O.) with 1,400,000 therapeutic treatments (baths, etc), while dozens of other spas are operated by local authorities and offer modern high-quality services. Additionally, spa centres with state of the art facilities and specialized staff can be found in most five-star hotels, with majestic interiors, soothing lighting and décor carefully designed to enhance the serenity of your surroundings or in outdoor locations where the air is ozone-rich, the sun is bright and the sea embraces the landscape.
The most well-known sites were built during the 20th century, when a wide range of new medical and health treatments were developed, including the healing baths of Aidipsos, Lagadas, Ipati, Loutraki and Kamena Vourla, to mention a few. These historical thermal towns played a significant role in the construction of Greece as a European tourism destination.
Other spas can usually be found in Athens or Thessaloniki. These spas provide visitors with the relaxation, revitalization and beauty services that they request. The use of high-tech equipment, new-age practices and radical new scientific products offer guests highly sophisticated, tailor-made wellness services. Although most of the best spas in Greece today include a considerable range of therapies from other ancient cultures such as India, Japan and China, the enduring reliability of the health principles of Classical Greece, inspired by the likes of the physician Hippocrates and the god of medicine Asclepius, persist as the prevalent foundations for even the most progressive treatments, thus holistically and harmoniously bridging the old with the new.
Thermal Baths of unique beauty
Pozar Thermal Baths in northern Greece
Imagine yourself in a pool amidst precipice rocks, natural waterfalls and wild vegetation. Feel the soothing warmth of the water (37⁰C) taking the strain off your body, and let your eyes wander around the verdant gorge of the water stream of Áyios Nikólaos (Saint Nicolas) locally known as Thermopótamos (meaning “hot river” in Greek). In the springtime, breath in the galore of natural aromas in a feast of green, where even the branches of the trees (mainly planes and willows) are all covered with covetous ivy. In the winter, relish the stimulating sensation of the 37 degrees in the outdoor pool, the stunning turquoise spot that stands out in the white and cold.
Vouliagmeni Lake near Athens
Vouliagmeni Lake, in the heart of the Athenian Riviera, is the hidden treasure of Attica’s nature. Situated on an idyllic landscape, this rare geological phenomenon is waiting to be discovered. The lake’s brackish waters which are continuously replenished both by the sea and the underground thermal springs offer a natural and unique thermal spa experience. Vouliagmeni Lake is ranked by Greece’s Special Committee for the Protection of Natural Thermal Resources among the recognized thermal springs. The healing properties of the natural springs which supply the Lake are the result of the water’s high concentration in salts and minerals and in particular of potassium, sodium, lithium, ammonium, calcium, iron, chlorine and iodine. All this, in combination with the high water temperatures, help relieve afflictions of the musculoskeletal system, promote post-traumatic rehabilitation, and help with gynecological, and dermatological diseases. The Lake’s water gushes from springs 50 to 100 meters deep and have a temperature ranging between 22 to 29 degrees Celsius throughout the year. The Lake flows into the sea as its water level is 50 meters above it sea water. This helps in the continuous renewal of the lake’s water and results in its brackish composition.
Kaiafas Thermal Spa in the Peloponnese
An attraction close to the breathtaking Kaifas lake is Kaifas Thermal Spa! A magnificent and unique ecosystem including the spas, the lake, the pine forest of Strofylia, the historic mountain of Lapitha, as well as the sandy beach of Zacharo. At Kaiafa’s lake one can find the homonymous mineral water Springs and curative baths. The water is considered miraculous as it helps cure several diseases.
Which hydro-therapy to follow?
One can choose between internal and external hydrotherapy or combine both for better results, according to the case.
Internal hydrotherapy includes mineral water drinking therapy and inhalation therapy. Mineral water drinking therapy is indicated for dyskinesia of biliary tract and gallbladder, choleolithiasis, liver ailments, biliary tract ailments. While the inhalation therapy is a treatment based on the conversion of the curative waters into micro droplets and on the use of the gashes that are included in them. Inhalation therapy is indicated for: ailments of the respiratory system.
External hydrotherapy includes: balneotherapy, douches, hydromassages, hydrokinesis therapy, thalasso therapy and clay therapy.
Βalneotherapy (the immersion of the body in an individual tubs or pool and lasts about 20 minutes), indicated for arthritis, rheumatisms, skin ailments, certain peripheral vasculopathies,
Douches: with a suitable water pressure, can be cold, lukewarm, hot or superheated. They are indicated for rheumatisms.
Hydromassages: They are based on the application of pressure to the human body, while it is in the curative water. The temperature of the mineral water is between 34 – 37oC. It is indicated for: post trauma treatments for fractures and injuries, arthritis, lumbago, sciatica, spondyloarthritis.
Hydro kinesis Therapy: it is the combination of balneotherapy and physiotherapy in the water. It is indicated for: rheumatisms and musculoskeletal ailments.
Thalasso- therapy is a form of health treatment, during which, sea water or also other natural resources are used for mainly therapeutic reasons. It is indicated for: ailments of the cardiovascular system, ailments of the respiratory system, skin ailments, musculoskeletal ailments, rheumatisms e.t.c. In recent years, thallaso - therapeutic centres integrated in luxurious hotels, operate in the country. The basic principal of thallaso – therapy is the heating of the sea water until it reaches a temperature of 35 – 37o C. The necessary prerequisite of a thallaso – therapy centre is that the facility is located near the sea and that the water is pumped out from a distance of at least 400 meters from the shore and from a depth of 2, 5 meters.
Clay therapy is a form of therapeutic treatment. It is realised with the use of mature therapeutic clay and it is indicated for: ailments of the musculoskeletal system, gynecological ailments, skin ailments, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis e.t.c.