Ikaria's abundant therapeutic radioenergized springs have been identified as amongst the best in the world in terms of healing qualities, radioenergy & temperature variance & water supply, and are particularly effective in treating a multitude of ailments and skin diseases because they can accommodate many different forms/strengths of therapy. Since the 1st 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 Roman baths in ancient Therma. Today, Therma is still the principal region on Ikaria for organized hydrotherapy with numerous hotels/guesthouses, restaurants and three active bath/spa facilities: Cave, Apollon and Kratsas springs.
Outdoor natural hydro- therapy
is also popular on Ikaria. Along Ikaria's coastline there are several areas where
radioenergic hot mineral springs flow into the sea from the shoreline where it
is possible for one to bath & swim. These springs are perfect for those seeking relaxation and milder forms of unprescribed spa treatment. Lefkada near Agios Kirikos, Leumakia (near Therma) and Agia Kuriaki (near the airport) are some examples.
Ikaria's Thermal Springs & Spas:
Hydrotherapy in Ikaria's radioenergized hot mineral springs can have beneficial effects on the following diseases, disorders, and conditions:
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.
2. GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION - ORIGIN OF CURATIVE MINERAL SPRINGS
FROM TECTONIC FISSURES IN THE REGION AND FROM ITS VOLCANICITY. 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 IKARIA, 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.
3. CATEGORIES OF CURATIVE SPRINGS
SALTWATER SPRINGS 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 IKARIA.
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.
SODIUM CHLORIDE SPRINGS 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.
ALKALINE SPRINGS 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.
RADIOACTIVE SPRINGS 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 IKARIA are hyperthermal radioactive saltwater springs of high and medium radioactive content. With low radioactive content are the springs of Lefkada and the Cave spring.
SIMPLE ACID SPRINGS
Mineral waters of the class of acid springs have an appreciable sourish taste. These springs consist of plain carbon dioxide and salts in solution.
SULFUR SPRINGS 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
a) sulfurous saltwater springs
b) hydrosulphoride springs and,
c) alkaline sulfur springs.
4. CHARACTERISTICS AND PROPERTIES OF THE CURATIVE RADIOACTIVE SPRINGS OF IKARIA
It is well known that man from ancient times applied spa therapy for curative purposes to waters whose temperature and chemical composition differed from ordinary waters.
The characteristics of the curative springs of IKARIA are as follows:
a. The increased temperature of the water.
b. Their much greater content of solid constituents in solution.
c. Their considerable content of rare or even pharmacologically efficacious constituents, such as radium, sulfur, sodium chloride etc.
Among the constituents which enrich the springs are also included gases such as:
b. carbon dioxide
c. hydrogen sulphide
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 IKARIA 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 IKARIA.
To the presence of these minerals is due also the radioactivity of the springs of IKARIA. 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.
5. THE INFLUENCE OF THE THERMAL AND SUBCONSCIOUS FACTOR IN SPRINGS
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 water.
1. The thermal factor
2. The subconscious stimulant.
To have effect, the thermal factor, the temperature of the water has to be 34°C or higher. Most springs of IKARIA are above 38°C.
The thermal factor acts in many ways: Namely, the straining of vessels,hyperemia, local perspiration relaxation of the muscles, improvement in the exchange of nutritious substances, and analgesia. At temperatures above 40°C there is absorption of fluid in the joints and penetration of mineral and radioactive elements which are beneficial in the treatment of various complaints.
As for the subconscious factor, its action is based on the laws of Archimedes which refer to elevation and to hydrostatic pressure. In water the human body becomes lighter, movements easier, muscle relaxation sets in, absorption of swellings and perspiration, and finally this has a benign influence on the human psychism.
6. UNITS OF MEASUREMENT OF THE RADIOACTIVE SPRINGS OF IKARIA
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.
In the links below appear the units of measurement of the different constituent elements in springs which are used for curative treatment.
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, and kidney).