Thermal Experience - Roman-built baths in the city of Bath, England
Roman-built baths in the city of Bath, England

Mankind's thermal experience lasted for thousands of years
Science gives us more than enough proof of the healing power of hot mineral water

Human thermal experience of mineral springs has lasted since ancient times. The hot mineral water has been used for simple relaxation and healing as well as for spiritual and occult ceremonies.

Numerous ancient civilizations including the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Japanese, Slavs, Norsemen, and Native Americans used hot springs for health benefits that hot mineral water offers. In some parts of the world, the belief in sacred powers of hot spring water was so strong that different classes of society were prohibited from bathing together. For example, peasants, samurai, and traders were not permitted to use the same hot springs. In other parts of the world, some civilizations went as far as to prohibit anyone, but the higher classes to enjoy thermal baths.

Historical and archeological discoveries showed us how our ancestors enjoyed their thermal experience of the naturally hot water. For example, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians constructed a variety of pools and large baths for both private and public use. Greeks actively used small private tubes as a part of personal care. They also designated some hot mineral water sources as sacred since they believed the particular source was blessed by the Gods to provide healing to those bathing in its waters.

Romans, on other hand, really looked at mineral water bathing as a social activity. They constructed huge bathing facilities called Thermae with some of the biggest buildings having a capacity of accepting up to 3 thousand people a day. While bathing for Romans was a whole separate ritual with hot mineral water bathing, steam rooms, massage, and even exercise, the social part of bathing had a high significance too. Roman Thermae was used for important meetings, discussing business deals, hanging out with friends and family, and for other business and social events.

In Japan, mineral hot springs (Onsen in Japanese) have a cultural significance and were used for both relaxation and bathing as well as for illness prevention, disease and trauma healing. Japan has a lot of hot springs and their use is etched in the country’s tradition and culture. When the first Christian missionaries arrived in Japan, they were surprised by the sight of naked Japanese laying in hot mineral pools.

Native Americans actively used hot springs for relaxation, healing and religious purposes. The legend of Ute Natives tells that people of the tribe were once plagued by the disease to which shamans had no cure. However, after drinking and bathing in the mineral water at the source by the San Juan River the tribe folk got healed.

While legends, believes, and tales of the past are very interesting and give us an insight on how our ancestors perceived the hot spring experience, modern science and numerous researches give us more than enough proof of the healing power of mineral water. Evidence was so vast that it lead to the creation of balneology, the science of medicinal effects of hot mineral water bathing on humans.


This content provides general educational information only. It does not intend to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We make no medical claims. Always consult your medical provider for more information.

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