"The Petriolo Spa Resort" is an excellent example of a paper on a complementary and alternative therapy. The Petriolo Spa Resort is located in Tuscany near the province of Siena in Italy where 3-4% of all tourism is based upon travel to health spas (Weiermair and Ankomah 2006: 159). One of the treatments offered at the spa is a Hyper Saline Thermal Mud pack which is delivered to the client at a temperature of 47 degrees Celsius. The thermal mud-pack is then combined with the use of the therapeutic Petriolo Spring waters which has untreated salt crystals, followed by a toning massage. The advertisement for the treatment suggests that there are beneficial effects to the skin and muscles because of the “ high sulfur content of the thermal waters” which provided for “ a strong draining action, thanks to the high saline concentration” (Petriolo Spa Resort 2011).
The treatment intends to rejuvenate the body by drawing out toxins and purifying their body. According to information on Tuscany Pass. com (2011), the Petriolo Thermal Bath is located near a small town called Monticiano. The thermal baths have been formally in use since 1230 where Roman tombs can be seen along with the four original rooms that were used for the bath. This bath remains as the only existing and visible example of a fortified building that housed such a bath from that period (dated from 1404).
Famous nobility from that period such as the Medicis and the Gonzagas are known to have frequented the baths. According to Tuscany Pass. com (2011) “ The water is salt-sulfate-bicarbonate-alkaline-sulfurous hyperthermal (43 ° C) and contains a very high rate of sulfur and carbon. It is used for baths, mud, inhalations, facial masks very effective in treating skin diseases, respiratory problems, orthopedic and arthrorheumatism” . The advantages to this area are that two types of water exist with the hot thermal spring on one side and a cold water option in the way of the river Farma on the other side.
This makes it a clear solution for those who are suffering from circulatory disorders. The sulfur-rich water comes down through the Farma in waterfalls and pools which are created from carved rock formations. Access to the naturalized waters is free and guests can swim in the therapeutic waters (Tuscany Pass. com 2011). It is believed that the highly sulphuric water is good for bronchial ailments, with the mud having properties that pull impurities from the body through the skin.
It is often a treatment from a physician to be prescribed a week or a month at a health spa with the national health care system paying the bill (Ruchti 2008: 11). The benefits of mud, a product called peloids from the Greek pelos and referred to as pelotherapy, can be seen in increased circulatory benefits, in drawing out the toxins in the body, and in exfoliation of the skin. The type of benefit will be directly associated with the type of mud (Crebbin-Bailey 2005: 20).
The hypersaline mud is reported to have benefits to liver function as the toxins are pulled from the body. Mineral waters have had a long history of reports of ‘ miracle’ cures, but the benefits of the waters are measurable, but not miraculous in the sense of being magical (Hammer 1986: 537). The way that a mud pack works are by covering the skin which needs to breathe. As the skin opens up and tries to get back to the air, the pores widen and the minerals enter into the skin, stimulating the oxygenation of the cells and the activity of the enzymes.
This results in the increased circulation as fresh blood is pulled into the cells while pushing them to get rid of toxins and impurities. The mud dries and pulls these impurities out while exfoliating through sloughing off the dead skin cells (Jacoby, Youngson, and the Marshall Cavendish Corporation 2004: 1273). The process of the Hyper Saline Thermal Mud treatment involves the individual first being treated to a mud pack which warms the body, improving circulation and drawing out the toxins.
It is followed by the client enjoying the benefits of the waters of the Petriolo Spring when the pores are open and receptive to even more of the mineral benefits. Because of the high saline content of the waters, the body experiences a high level of draining of the unwanted toxins that burden the liver and clog up the systems of the body. Drawing out the toxins has a high benefit to the liver, the kidneys, the bowels, and then to all systems that are dragged down by toxic waste in the system (Jacoby, Youngson, and the Marshall Cavendish Corporation 2004: 1273).
The saline helps to further draw out heavy metals and infectious agents (Chamberlain 2008: 125). The Petriolo thermal waters are at a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius and exude gases with significant amounts of sulphurate hydrogen. According to the website for the resort, the gas has the greatest amount of therapeutic effects because of its effects on the respiratory system, on the joints, and the muscular-skeletal system. The water is considered classified as thermal waters and is listed as fulfilling the requirements to be included in the sulphidic, calcium-sulfate-bicarbonate-alkaline-hyperthermal forms of thermal spa waters (Petriolo Spa Resort 2011). The end of the treatment is suggested to include a plunge into the Calidarium, which is a hot water bath that is near the Laconicum, which is a dry heat room.
This treatment is part of the spa experience, the use of hot and cold waters to be included in the stay at the resort as a way of opening up, then closing down the pores to cleanse the body of toxins and to rejuvenate the body through increased circulation. While the medical benefits to spa treatments are constantly considered ‘ alternative medicine’ , the benefits are accepted as part of an overall healthy methodology of taking care of the body.
The waters at the Petriolo Spa Resort have properties that have been used for centuries in curing and healing processes. The Hyper Saline Thermal Mud Treatment uses the best of what the spring has to offer to allow the body to shed the waste and to increase the blood flow towards better health. This treatment has benefits that are definable and indefinable, giving the individual the pleasure of the experience in connection to the benefits of the mud and the waters in increasing the overall health of the body.
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