If you're not feeling at your best, your doctor might prescribe a change of location instead of a vitamin tonic. Climatotherapy, as the 'treatment' has been dubbed by its exponents, is the temporary or permanent relocation of a person to a suitable climate in order to treat a disease. Although this might sound a little 'New Age' and unlikely, it has been proven to work in some cases.
So what is climatotherapy and how could it benefit your wellbeing?
Climatotherapy uses the earth's natural conditions; sunlight, air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and naturally occurring radiation to 'treat' many different conditions.
The idea on promoting wellness is actually nothing new. In the past it was commonplace for physicians to prescribe sojourns to the seaside for patients who were a little bit 'under the weather', as the bracing sea air was viewed as a perfect tonic. Spa towns with natural springs were recommended for patients who would go there to 'take the waters' in order to experience the benefits of the minerals they contained. Those suffering from asthmatic conditions or recovering from TB were often sent away from their smoky city homes to recuperate in mountainous areas where the clear air at higher altitudes was found to aid their breathing and speed up recovery.
Climatotherapy and its application for illnesses
Modern climatotherapists recommend sunshine holidays for people suffering from auto-immune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Interestingly, the incidence of MS among those living in the Mediterranean where sunshine is readily available is very low.
Psoriasis is an unpleasant auto-immune disease that causes the skin to flare up in red scaly patches virtually anywhere on the body. On the advice of climatotherapy practitioners, sufferers have visited Safaga, Egypt. This area is surrounded by high mountains, which act as a natural barrier, providing shelter from airborne particles of fine debris that could irritate the skin condition. Safaga's beach is sheltered and the waters are calm. This means that more narrowband UV rays are reflected onto the beaches. This combined with the sea water's high salinity—some 35% higher than other seas—has been proven to aid the treatment of and recovery from psoriasis. Even the beach itself is made up of sand containing uranium, thorium, and potassium40, all of which are beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis.
The latest revelations surrounding climatotherapy have seen something of a boom in wellness tourism. Destinations like Egypt, Mexico and the Middle East are becoming increasingly popular with those seeking an alternative to drug therapy for a variety of chronic medical conditions.
They say that 'what goes around comes around' and that's certainly true when considering climatotherapy. It's reassuring to think that when you're booking your summer holiday this year, your fortnight in an exotic location might be beneficial for your physical well-being, as well as easing your stress levels. Who knows, perhaps one day we might all be prescribed a fortnight in the sun instead of a course of antibiotics, and that's certainly something to look forward to!