Balneotherapy is the art of water therapy, and one of aromatherapy’s best friends. There is nothing quite so soothing and relaxing as a leisurely soak in a hot bath. As the warmth of the water cradles your physical body, providing relief from the constant pull of gravity, your psyche is refreshed and restored, the weight of the world momentarily lifted. Add a few drops of well-selected essential oils and you approach nirvana.
Water is nature’s greatest and most effective solvent. It acts as a liquid suspension, carrying a variety of minerals and chemicals, depending on its source. When we immerse our bodies in a warm bath, our skin rapidly begins to absorb chemicals that are suspended in the water. These chemical components can make their way to our bloodstream in as little as 2 to 15 minutes. It will take a normally healthy person from half an hour to three hours to eliminate most of these chemicals through the expired breath and urine. In unhealthy or obese people, this process may take up to 10 hours. That is why adding essential oils to a bath are such an effective aromatherapy treatment.
The premise of balneotherapy is built on this solvency. Just as we absorb the essential oils we intentionally add to the water, we absorb a variety of other chemicals and minerals suspended in our water. No two waters are exactly the same. Spring waters, often thought of as pure, actually contain a variety of minerals. It is the presence of these minerals, from the depths of the earth that makes certain spring waters highly valued for their curative properties.
The amazing virtues of water have been sung throughout the ages. Ancient myths featured countless sea nymphs, mermaids, and water goddesses. It’s no wonder that most ancient gods and goddesses associated with water were believed to be sources of life, fertility, and fecundity. Water is our element. We most likely evolved from aquatic creatures. In any event, our first months of life were spent floating in an amniotic bath. In our dreams water symbolizes the ebb and flow of our emotions. We use water for cleansing, refreshing, and relaxing. Water is the basis for our body’s evaporative cooling system. It flushes out toxic wastes, plumps up our cells, and lubricates our moving parts. Water is crucial to our survival. Without it we would literally dry up and blow away.