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Therapeutic Hot Mineral Springs Of Therma Ikaria
IKARIA's abundant therapeutic radioenergized spring sources have been identified as amongst the best in the world in terms of healing qualities, radioenergy and water supply. Since the fourth century B.C. Therma, IKARIA has been a known center for hydrotherapy as evidenced by numerous references in historical texts and by the presence of archeological remains of ancient baths and facilities such as the first century B.C. remains of Roman baths in ancient Therma pictured left.
The city of Therma is the principal region on IKARIA for organized hydrotherapy, and its reputation and history date from the Classical Period. "Natural" hydro- therapy is also popular on IKARIA. Along Ikaria's coastline there are many areas where radioenergic hot mineral springs flow into the sea from the shoreline where it is possible for one to bath/swim. The hot mineral spring water pictured right is from a popular natural bath in the area of Levkada.
The essential elements in IKARIA's therapeutic radioenergic
hot mineral springs are saline radium and radonium. The radioenergized mineral
element saline radium and its gaseous form, radonium, have been geologically
diluted in the springs by nature. Ikaria's springs are singular and unique in
the world for their varying degrees of temperature and radioenergy which can
accommodate many different forms/strengths of therapy. The therapeutic effects
of Ikaria's radioenergic hot mineral baths are delivered to the body primarily
through inhalation while bathing(90%) with the remaining ten percent absorbed
through the skin. Eighty percent of the active therapeutic elements are expired
by the lungs after one hour and the remainder within twenty three hours. A small
amount is also expired through the skin.
Visiting Bathers on their way to better health
|Hot Mineral Spring Bath House In Therma with statue of Asclipios son of Apollo and protector of medicine & health.|
NOTE: Baths are not allowed for persons suffering from: acute cases of rheumatism, heart disease or cerebral diseases. The local multi-lingual doctors will approve the spring and therapy duration after a medical examination and consultation. Multilingual physical therapists are also available to provide physical therapy to those in need. Any person considering therapy in Ikaria's radioenergic springs is strongly advised to consult with their personal physician beforehand.
|Chapter Link Index:|
When we speak of CURATIVE SPA THERAPY we mean the application of medicinal waters for the treatment of people. This type of treatment constitutes a part of physiotherapy, that is to say the use of natural means in therapy.
1. HISTORY OF CURATIVE SPA-THERAPY AND OF GREEK CURATIVE SPRINGS.
The history of curative springs begins in ancient Greece. The first observer of these springs with curative properties was the historian Herodotus (484-410 B.C.) He described certain curative springs and, acting like a doctor,recommended spa therapy to be undertaken at particular seasons of the year for 21 days on end.
Hippocrates od Cos (460-375 B.C.),who is considered the founder of medical science and the father of hydrotherapy, paid great attention to the different natural waters which
exist in marches and lakes, which are formed by rain and those which well out of rocks, namely mineral waters. These, he says, gush out and certain iron, copper,silver,gold,sulfur and other mineral elements.
All these doctors accepted the curative influence of certain natural springs. One student in particular of Agathinos in the first century a.d. wrote about the therapeutic properties of curative springs and said that it was not possible to define precisely the manner in which each one of the springs individually develops its therapeutic properties, because that would require many years of observation and experimentation. This has held good until even the present day.
Well known Roman spas remain as historical monuments of architecture throughout Europe and also in Greece.
The chemical analysis of spring water started to be undertaken in liberated Greece from the era of Capodistrias and Otto (1830-1833). The beginning of spa organization occurred at the start of our era. In 1918, for the first time,a special department of curative springs was formed in what was then the Ministry of National Economy. In 1936 the curative springs of our country came under the responsibility of the then Sub-ministry of the Press and Tourism. In 1945 they moved to the General Secretariat of Tourism and from 1950 to the present day have been classified under the responsibilities of the Greek Tourist Organization(EOT),
which was established in that year as a branch of the Ministry of the Presidency of the Republic.
Most mineral waters in Greece appear in coastal terrain along the shoreline. 5/6 of the springs are by the sea. The definitive morphological configuration presented nowadays by Greece is a consequence of the great subsidence which occurred in the whole geographical region. Within the tectonic fissures which also provoked the great subsidences were created the conditions for the formation of most curative mineral springs. These waters, which follow the orientation of tectonic fissures, because of the great depth from which they proceed are,as a rule, hyperthermal with temperatures above 38C. The current towards the surface is swift and for this reason they do not suffer great losses in their egress.
Coastal fissures create mineral springs such as the springs of the Corinth region, the Western Peloponnese, Euboean, Maliakos, Eastern Macedonia, Western Thrace and the Eastern Aegean. Among coastal curative springs which issue from great depths are classified those of Icaria, Lesbos and Samothrace. Moreover, the springs of New Apollonia at Langada are found in fissures which also form the lakes of Langada and Volvi.
Finally, the fissures of Euboean Maliakos on each side form the curative springs of Aedipsos and Kammena Vourla. The springs of
Ypati are not dependent on these fissures but on the volcanicity of the area. Likewise, other mineral springs, like those of Milos and Santorini, owe their existence to the presence of volcanoes which also characterize the area. The volcanicity in the region contributes to the enrichment of the waters and to the increase in their temperature.
True saltwater springs issue from sea water and for this reason are richer in sodium chloride than all the other mineral springs. It is worth noting that, owing to their marine provenance, these waters are an inexhaustible source of bulk water. In their underground passage towards the surface they acquire constituents of rocks and derive their characteristics, such as a) the sulfurous saltwater springs of Methana, b) the ferrous springs of Thermi and c) the radioactive springs of Thermae and Agios Kirikos in Icaria.
SULPHURATED HYDROGEN SPRINGS
They do not present any special enrichment in solid constituents. These springs include simply sodium hydrosulphide and plain hydrogen sulphide and are hyperthermal.
Most sodium chloride springs are coastal and a large percentage of the volume of water which they pour out derives from seawater. Such are the springs of Agios Nicolas at Methana, Vouliagmeni in Attica, Cayafas, Cyllene in the Peloponnese, Cythnos and Loutraki. The calcium and hydrocarbonic acid ion content of the sodium hydrochloride hot mineral springs in relation to seawater is greater.
These originate from rainwater. They appear inland far from the coasts. They can be enriched with plain carbonic acid and then they are also named acid springs. Likewise also even with hydrogen sulphide. The temperature of alkaline springs varies from hypothermal to hyperthermal. Hyperthermal can rise to 55C.
We call radioactive those springs which have been measured and are from 3,5 μ Mach and above, independently of their chemical composition and temperature. They are sub-divided into those of low, medium and high radioactive content. Most springs in Icaria are hyperthermal radioactive saltwater springs of high and medium radioactive content. With low radioactive content are the springs of Lefkada and the Cave spring.
So named because they contain increased quantities of sulfur salt in their composition. They are subdivided according to the type of dominant constituents in solution. So we have
The increased content in the springs of solid substances in solution is due to a great extent to the increased temperature which they possess and to the composition of the lithological subsoil of the area. Their enrichment in salts, in gases, as also in radioactive elements(radium,radon) constitutes, together with the high temperature, factors which add to the water's therapeutic properties,and so they are called "curative."
The springs of Icaria belong to the category of saltwater springs. They derive from waters which issue from tectonic fissures and from a great depth. The radium enriches the waters of the spring since, while proceeding to the surface, they encounter and come into contact with rocks in which exist radioactive minerals, albeit in small quantities
In the region of hot, radioactive mineral springs of Agios Kirykos there are hypothermal mineral-bearing deposits whose creation is connected with the Grandiorite of the village of Xylosyrte. These deposits are lemonites within the marbles of the region of Agios Kirykos and quartz veins with iron and copper pyrites. The possibility is not ruled out that the presence of otunite minerals might exist within the compacted outgrowths of the Graniodiorite of the village of Xylosyrte in the region of the curative springs of Thermae in Icaria.
To the presence of these minerals is due also the radioactivity of the springs of Icaria. The springs of Thermae and Agios Kirykos occupy a special place worldwide amongst the remaining curative springs owing to their important and beneficial action in the constitution of radon.
As the temperature of the spring water increases, the gaseous radon increases simultaneously, while the radium dissolved in the water diminishes. The radon enters the organism by being breathed into the lungs. A smaller percentage does so through swellings and perspiration, and finally this has a benign influence on the human psychism. Moreover with hyperthermal spas there is established an increase in sulfur, in radon, and in trace elements in the blood, in the bone marrow, the arthric cartilage, and the arthric fluid.
Radioactive elements like thorium and actinium, which are found in curative springs, albeit in small
quantity, exercise therapeutic action, chiefly on the lymphatic system, the glands and the blood.
The lifespan of radon is very short. It is quickly expelled from the organism: 80% is expelled in the first hour
after bathing through the lungs and exhalation. The remaining 20% is expelled in 24 hours through perspiration
from the skin pores, as also by dieresis. Because of its rapid excretion from the organism there is no danger of accumulation
in the human body.
Spa therapy for chronic complaints in curative springs, apart from the beneficial effects of radon
and the enriched chemical elements of springs, is based also on the following properties of curative
To have effect, the thermal factor, the temperature of the water has to be 34°C or higher. Most
springs of Icaria are above 38°C.
The mineral waters of Greece are almost all at present also radioactive. It constitutes a rare exception for a
mineral spring not to show weak radioactivity. However, it is not any degree whatsoever of radioactivity
which is enough to characterize a spring as radioactive. The radioactivity must be significant for it
to be characterized as a curative spring. The radioactivity of mineral springs is measured in Mache units. One
Mache unit is equal to 0,364 MμC per kilogram of water.
7. THERAPEUTIC INDICATIONS OF SPA THERAPY IN COMPLAINTS WHICH BENEFIT FROM RADIOACTIVE HOT MINERAL SPRINGS OF IKARIA
The curative spa therapy at the springs of Ikaria is applied to a large number of illnesses of most systems (muscle fabric, skin, respiratory, peptic, circulatory,
Radon has an immediate effect on the nervous system and simultaneously has a sedative and anti-inflammatory effect on complaints like lumbago, sciatica,
omobrachionic neuralgia, triple neuralgia, and neuritis generally. This is due to the special affinity which radon has with the
faulty substances of the nervous system. Moreover, complaints of the nervous system can benefit, such as Parkinson's, chorea, poliomyelitis, etc..
More generally the springs of Ikaria are considered suitable for the treatment of chronic degenerative arthropathy and rheumatological
arthropathy. Warm radioactive spas effect the reduction of swelling and inflammation of the joints, and of the pain which is very often
In complaints like a) adolescent acne, b) eczema, c) itching, d) psoriasis and e) dermatological allergies.
Radon enters the organism chiefly through the lungs and exercises a direct influence on them. Beneficial influence for allergic
disorders of the upper respiratory system and inflammatory complaints like chronic bronchitis, chronic pulmonary emphysema, asthmatic conditions, chronic rhinitis,
pharyngitis and laryngitis are positively effected by the presence of radon. Radioactive waters have good effects in more general
treatment undergone by individuals with respiratory complaints.
This form of arthritis differs from rheumatoid or any other form of arthritis. In this complaint uric acid in the blood count is
high, the joints burn and show gradual arthritic and conjuctional alterations. The radon in the curative springs of Icaria
influences the increase in the metabolism of pourinon with solvent action on the uric acid, with the result that it is eliminated from the
organism through dieresis, which is increased with spas with radioactive waters, as also even through the pores of increased perspiration.
The existence of small quantities of estrogen compounds in the curative springs of the Thermae cave and of Ascepion has a positive
effect on complaints which are due to hormonal disorders like: a) infertility, and b) osteoporosis.
Spa-therapy with warm radioactive waters has good effect on residual pains and stiffness, on fractures, sprains, dislocations,
and raptures of the muscles. Post - surgical cases of the system of muscle fabric can be assisted and enjoy a more rapid and full
recovery through curative spa therapy.
It is scientifically established that curative spas which are also rich in trace elements, salts and other compounds beneficial to the organism play an important role in the revitalization of the constitution, in easing and relaxing it from chronic fatigue.
The trend in the whole of Europe is in favor of curative "Health Spa" centers. Young, working people enjoy the salutary
effects of curative springs. The contemporary working people with their daily duties and tasks recover with the rest-cure treatment
their mental and physical equilibrium and well-being. Such a 10-20 day program with hot spas, steam baths, massage and therapeutic gymnastics
is demonstrated to be able to forestall cardiac complaints, bad circulation in the lower extremities, and complaints of the system of muscle fabric.
To have a salutary effect, radioactive baths should take place in compliance with certain precautionary guidelines. Essential is the doctor's examination and the accurate execution of his instructions. The spring, the temperature and the duration of the bath are determined by the patient's doctor in accordance with the complaint which he has and with the more general state of health of each bather.
In any case, the temperature must not be very high, and the duration of the bath up to 20 minutes.
Special exercises for each complaint and part of the body, should be taken, even in the water, to reduce stiffness of the joints
and to invigorate the muscles. Adult individuals during the bath should place cold compresses on their heads to reduce the hyperemia
in the brain. Spa therapy should not be undergone with a full stomach. It should be one or two hours after breakfast, or a light meal, or four to six
hours after a full midday meal.
The third or fifth day after the beginning of spa therapy produces a disagreeable condition which is called "Spa Reaction." Its intensity and duration differ for each bather. This reaction may bring pains to parts of the body which did not hurt before.
The pains in the affected area can become more intense, as also the arthric oedema(swelling) increases. Exhaustion, discomfort and itching can coincide with symptoms of loss of appetite, headache, and insomnia. When bathers discover any of these symptoms in intense forms, they should take a break from bathing for one day and continue their program afterwards.
Usually it requires a long period of treatment with rest periods between baths. Some patients expect spectacular results from a few visits to curative springs. Patients who suffer from one year of degenerative arthritis (of the hip, knee etc), or from one year of rheumatoid arthritis, should realize that they should not aggravate the affected joint with movement in their everyday activities. Also, they should realize what positions and movements alleviate and affect positively the joint which troubles them.
The combination of daily measures, like pharmacy or physiotherapy, for the treatment of complaints in spa therapy, with the
systematic attempt of the patient to follow prescribed programs of dieting, gymnastics, or any other medical recommendation,
are the factors which conduce to these chronic complaints reaching a satisfactory outcome.
Curative therapy produces contra-indications in patients with serious problems.
Many centers with curative spas function today throughout Europe, and specifically in Germany, France Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Russia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. In the Mediterranean area, apart from Greece, Italy and Spain, curative tourism and health tourism has developed in Israel, Tunisia, Cyprus and Morocco.
In Russia one in three Russians visit curative spa health centers. In Germany, which has 250-300 curative tourism health centers, in the year 1988
a figure of seven million individuals visited these centers. In Italy in the same year, with 200 centers of curative tourism, six million visited them.
In Greece the therapeutic properties of certain springs like those of Ikaria, Aedipsos and others, were known from antiquity. Nowadays the greatest percentage of bathers in Greek spas are in August and September. From estimates it is evident that throughout the whole six-month period of May to October, when usually all the great spas in Greece are in service, an average of 40% of the bathings were carried out in the month of September in the year 1995. For the remainder there were 32% in the month of July, 5% in October, and scarcely 3% in June, while in the month of May the equivalent percentage is low. As far as age and the gender of the bathers is concerned, it is observed that usually they are individuals of manhood age, and women make up the greater percentage(approx.60-65%). The number of people each year who make use of curative springs as therapy for various complaints is equivalent to 1.5% of the population of Greece.
The average stay of visiting summer bathers is around 15-20 days, as long infact as one complete program of spa therapy lasts.
Most curative springs in Greece combine mountain and sea, and a warm climate for most months of the year. For these reasons it is possible
for the visitor to use them both as a means of relaxation, invigoration and renewal, and as a means of treatment, combining simultaneously the need for holidays and therapy.
Mrs. Voula Manolarou
Therma, Ikaria Greece 83300
Tel. (++30) 22750-22433, 22750-22383
Tel. Athens: (++30) 210-664-2441
Fax Athens: (++30) 210-664-2441