That bathing has beneficial effects on the body is something which has been known to us since ancient times. It was employed by the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians and the peoples of the Middle East. In Ancient Greece, special centres of healing were established in locations close to springs. They were run by priests and were known as ‘temples of health’. There, the sick could avail themselves of therapeutic treatments and massages, as well as receiving a special diet. Pythagoras enjoined the Greeks to bathe not only in order to maintain cleanliness, but also for their health. The Egyptians used bathing for religious reasons and the Romans erected a statue “To the physician Antonius Musa, who had cured [Caesar Augustus] of a dangerous illness (…)”; Musa treated two “dangerous fits of sickness” in the emperor solely with the use of bathing. In Ancient Rome, any number of baths were set up at thermal springs and the custom of building bathhouses in private homes was a well-known one.
Treatments involving bathing come under the category of water-based procedures; in other words, hydrotherapy, the oldest branch of physiotherapy. Nowadays, it comprises around one hundred and twenty therapeutic, rehabilitative and preventive treatments in which water from the public supply is used in different states of matter. In these treatments, water constitutes the medium for both physical and chemical stimuli.