Physiotherapy in the form of spa and health resort treatments has an extraordinarily long tradition. In sundry legends and traditional tales, we come across information about animals instinctively submerging an ailing part of their bodies in healing waters. Primaeval humans, modelling their behaviour on that of animals, also made for the waters in their quest for medication for the diseases which racked them.
Spa treatment methods are the subject of scholarly works by such famous doctors from ancient times as Hippocrates (460-380 BC) and Asclepiades of Bithynia (120-56 BC). Excavations in West Poland on sites dating from the period of the Biskupin culture (circa 720 BC) have confirmed that the Slavs made use of spring-water therapy.
We have known of the healing properties of salt since ancient times. Its most frequent use was in saline and brine baths. However, it was in Poland that the first halotherapy facility, where the treatments took the form of inhalation and utilised a dry salt aerosol, was established. It was set up in the town of Wieliczka, just outside Krakow and credit for that original initiative is due to one Feliks Boczkowski, who is acknowledged as the father of modern halotherapy. On the basis of his research and analyses, he concluded that, despite their harsh working conditions, the miners enjoyed long lives. Wieliczka Salt Mine is the oldest mining company in the world and the fourteenth oldest company overall to have remained active without pause from the moment of its founding.