Pari Rapti-Lyras

Representative of President’s office of ACCI
(Athens Chamber of Commerce Industrial)

Apart from the rare landscapes and special natural beauties, nature also endowed Greece with springs with important therapeutic properties. Spas are part of the country’s national wealth, while their therapeutic properties were already known in ancient times.

The year 2000 B.C the Babylonians considered doctors as «those who knew the waters well». In ancient greek mythology the miraculous therapeutic attributes of many springs were often mentioned and during the 5th century (B.C) the trust in therapeutic springs is apparent through their tendency to build infirmaries («Asklipeiio») near thermal springs.

It is still not verified whether the Greeks found out about the therapeutic attributes of water from the Egyptians, the Persians or on their own. Ancient thermal facilities have been discovered in Knosos, in Festus, in Tirintha, in Mycenae, in Nestor’s palace in Pylos (Peloponnese), which indicates that the use of thermal springs was popular even before the Trojan war.

Herodotus was the first observer of thermal waters and often mentions and recommends thermal therapy while Hippocrates determines the diseases for which thermal therapy is indicated.

In the Homeric era the bathing tub was called «asaminthos» and was made of wood or marble. After the bath αλείφονταν with oil (most probably olive oil) which they would aromatize using rose pedals.

During the Roman era, Greek doctors, followers of Hippocrates, take great interest in Hydrotherapy. Many thermal springs are mentioned and described by Stravon, Plutarch and Pausanias. During Byzantine times and until the 6th century (A.C) hydrotherapy is still quite popular. The middle ages effect thermalism greatly as it commences its decline only to revive in the beginning of the 16th century.

The Achaeans passed their love of the thermal waters to the Dorieis. The Spartans were fanatics of cold baths and washed daily in the waters of Eurotas for induration, although the Spartans were those who discovered steam baths, a type of sauna which was called «pyriatyrion». The Romans who copied the patent named the place in which steam baths were performed «Laconicum».

The Macedonians, admirers of the Spartan discipline, disliked thermal baths as they believed it resulted to weakness and softness. King Phillipos depositioned a General of his army because he took warm baths on camp.

When seeing Dareios’ extravagant bath, Alexander the Great wondered «Is it possible a man of such power to show such weakness?»

Athenians had no preference to hot or cold baths just a dislike to those who avoided either. Those who did not bathe and the illiterate were considered barbarians. Bathing was an indication of civilization.

In recent years the Kapodistria government showed interest in thermal springs once again and in 1830, doctors visited the springs of Kythnos. During the reign of Othonas the balneary of Kythnos was created.

The utilization of thermal springs that operate up to this day, commenced in the 30’s.

In the years 1923-1953, Greek chemist Pertesis studied the physicochemical composition of the metallic waters of most springs in Greece.

In 1927 the department of ‘medical hydrologists’ was established and in 1938 a department of hydrotherapy and Medical climatology was also established at the University of Athens. The advancement of thermal springs is linked with the perceptions of medical pathology.

Natural mineral resources are scattered all over the country; while the water of these springs differs from common water, either due to the high temperature or to the presence of rare drastic components. Apart from cold mineral springs, there are also hot springs and these are the ones used in therapeutic treatment: spa hydrotherapy (thermalism). The geographic allocation of the springs is not accidental as most of them are connected either with tectonic events, as is the case for example for the springs of Kaifa, Kyllini and Langada, or with volcanic activities, as in the case of the springs of Methana, Milos, Lesbos, Samothrace, and Limnos.

It is common knowledge that hydrotherapy is particularly important for the treatment of multiple affections such as arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Hydrotherapy falls into two categories:

-internal therapy, which includes drinking therapy (drinking of natural mineral waters), inhalation therapy (inhalation of fumes or droplets of mineral water) and lavages (oral, nasal, gynaecological)

-external therapy, which includes baths, jet showers (the body is hit by thermal mineral water under high or low pressure for a specific period of time), hydromassaging (the pressure of the water massages the body), hydrokinesotherapy (combination of balneotherapy and kinesotherapy for the period of time the body is inside the water) and fangotherapy (application of mud, which has «ripened», on those parts of the body that suffer from various disorders).

The above therapeutic approaches are provided at various springs throughout Greece. The springs are either owned by G.N.T.O., or by municipalities & communities and some by civilians.

For the development of spa tourism and, in general, of health tourism, two thalassotherapy centres are already operating in Crete under the special operation sign of the Greek National Tourism Organisation and two more are under construction. This category of tourist infrastructure also includes 16 hydro-treatment centres (in Natural Mineral Springs of tourist importance), in which 1,400,000 therapeutic treatments (baths etc) are offered to approximately 100,000 individuals, as well as hydro-treatment centres at 40 springs of local importance (source: National Statistical Service of Greece). One more hydro-treatment centre is under construction.

Below you will find a list of just few of the most important and well known springs in Greece:

Mineral Springs οwned by G.N.T.O. — Spa’s.

• Health resort: Loutraki (prefecture of Corinth — Peloponnese).
Loutraki resort is situated on the north shore of the gulf of Corinth and is widely known, in particular for the excellent quality of its water which is highly recommended for drinking therapy. Therapeutic properties of drinking therapy: uric acid disposition, kidney stones and gravel, gallstones, minor hepatitic deficiency, hyposthenic Indigestion. Therapeutic properties of balneotherapy: chronic rheumatic disorders, pain in muscles and joints, chronic rheumatoid arthritis, skin inflammation, gynecological disorders.

• Health resort: Kaiafas (prefecture of Ilia — Peloponnese).
At a small distance from the prefecture’s capital Pyrgos, the mineral springs of Kaiafas are known for their therapeutic properties since antiquity. According to an ancient Greek myth, in these springs the centaur Nessos washed his wound when he was hit by an arrow from the mythical hero Hercules. Therapeutic properties: arthritis, skin and gynecological disorders, gallstones, hepatitis, disorders of the digestive system, hypotonic indigestion, atonic constipation due to biliary failure.

• Health resort: Kyllini (prefecture of Ilia — Peloponnese).
Seaside resort with beautiful sand beaches, 43 km. north of the prefecture’s capital Pyrgos. Because of the special characteristics of the area, one can easily combine therapeutic with seaside tourism. Therapeutic properties: disorders of the respiratory system, asthma, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, laryngitis and skin disorders.

• Health resort: Methana (prefecture of Attica)
The springs of the area are well known ever since the 3rd century A.D., when historians mention an eruption of the volcano. Therapeutic properties: skin, arthritic and gynecological disorders, as well as disorders of the peripheral nerves.

• Health resort: Edipsos (prefecture of Evia)
The warm mineral springs of Edipsos are well known since antiquity. When visiting the town’s archaeological collection, visitors will have the opportunity to see significant exhibits pertaining to the history of the area and its springs, which date back to the hellenistic and roman period. In Edipsos a large hydrotherapy centre is operating, offering therapeutic baths, hydromassage and whirlpools. It also boasts an outdoor olympic-size swimming pool filled with a mixture of mineral and sea water, as well as two indoor pools with pure mineral water. No hotel is attached to the hydrotherapy centre, so patients stay at the many hotels that operate in the resort.

Therapeutic properties: chronic rheumatism and hypoacute deformative rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, neuritis, sciatica, lumbago, posttraumatic deformities and ankylosis, gynecological disorders (salpingitis, endometritis, ovarian deficiencies, leucorrhea, and certain forms of sterility).

• Health resort: Thermopyles (prefecture of Ftiotida — Central Greece).
The springs of Thermopyles are known since antiquity and are located at a distance of 15 km. to the south of the prefecture’s capital Lamia. Large quantities of water form one of the rare mineral waterfalls. Therapeutic properties: rheumatoid, arthritic, gynecological and neurological disorders. Afflictions of the respiratory system, asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema.

• Health resort: Kamena Vourla (prefecture of Ftiotida — Central Greece).
The resort of Kamena Vourla is located at a distance of 178 km. to the north of Athens and is one of the most famous resorts of Greece, as its therapeutic properties have been well known for many centuries. Therapeutic properties: chronic rheumatism, deformative arthritis, gout, ankylosing spondylitis, neuritis, sciatica, lumbago, disorders of the endocrinic glands.

• Health resort: Ypati (prefecture of Ftiotida — Central Greece).
Peaceful resort in lush green surroundings, 18 km west of Lamia, on the road to Karpenissi. Easy access and good roads. Therapeutic properties: vascular disorders and syndromes, arterial hypertension, coronary artery diseases, endartiritis of the lower extremities, phlebitis, cardiac diseases, diseases of the heart valves, minor cardiac disorders, disorders of the cardiac nervous system, palpitations, arrhythmia, skin disorders, eczema, dermatitis, disorders of the peripheral nerves and muscles, paralysis, muscle atrophy, various forms of arthritism.

• Health resort: Platystomo (prefecture of Ftiotida — Central Greece).
It is located in lush green surroundings 6 km. north of Makrakomi in the prefecture of Ftiotida. At a small distance from the resort are the remains of ancient Fthia. Therapeutic properties: nutritional disorders, arthritism, uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney gravel (water not suitable for calcium phosphate kidney gravel), obesity, diabetes mellitus, liver and gall-bladder diseases, gallstones, gall-bladder infection, minor liver deficiencies, diseases of the urinary tract, nephrolithiasis, chronic pelvic and bladder infections, disorders of the digestive system, indigestion, hyperchloridia, constipation due to biliary deficiency, chronic colitis. Both balneotherapy and systematic drinking therapy are available.

• Health resort: Smokovo (prefecture of Karditsa — Thessaly).
It is located 450 m. above sea level in the mountain range of Agrafa, in lush green surroundings at a distance of 25 km. southeast of the prefecture’s capital Karditsa. Therapeutic Properties: arthritic and rheumatoid disorders, chronic rheumatism, arthritis, lumbago, sciatica, neuralgia, myalgia, disorders of the respiratory system. Apart from balneotherapy, systematic inhalation therapy is also available.

• Health Resort: Langadas (prefecture of Thessalonica — Macedonia)
Located at the northeast extremity of lake Langada, 19 km east of the city of Thessalonica. Therapeutic properties: rheumatoid and arthritic disorders, disorders of the peripheral nerves.

• Health resort: Nigrita (prefecture of Serres — Eastern Macedonia)
Therapeutic properties: drinking therapy for nutritional disorders, many forms of arthritis, disorders of urinary and digestive tracts.

• Health resort: Eleftheres (prefecture of Kavala — Eastern Macedonia).
Located in beautiful, lush green natural surroundings 45 km. west of the prefecture’s capital Kavala. Therapeutic properties: chronic rheumatism and hypoacute arthritic disorders.

• Health resort: Kythnos (prefecture of the Cyclades).
Therapeutic properties: chronic rheumatism, deformative arthritis, sciatica, myalgia, ankylosing spondylitis, salpingitis, endometritis, etc.

• Other Mineral Springs.
Apart from the above-mentioned mineral springs and spa’s owned by G.N.T.O., there are scores of other mineral springs all over the country that are operated by local authorities (municipalities et al.). For more information regarding their exact locations, the quality of the water, their therapeutic properties, other facilities and telephone numbers, click here (

Назад| Оглавление | Далее