When did you last exclaim, ‘I need a holiday’? It’s a refrain often uttered at our most stressed and exhausted, and we’re usually crying out for a rest. But a holiday can do more than just give you a break: some holidays offer to heal your ailments, too.
Icelandic air: If your lungs need a break from debilitating allergens – pollen, pollution and dust mites – then head to Iceland where the number of asthma cases number half that of the UK. The oodles of unpolluted, fresh air and unpopularity of carpets makes Reykjavik unwelcoming to the house dust mite, but this quality of air, together with incredible lunar scenery, a buzzing culture scene and some pretty spectacular spas make it most attractive to the tourist. Don’t just take our word for it: the National Asthma Campaign says, ‘while cold air can be a trigger for some people, those whose asthma is triggered by house dust mite, pollen or air pollution will find a visit to Iceland a relief.’
Italian mud: If you visit your doctor in Italy complaining of chronic back pain, joint problems or arthritis, you may be prescribed a Fango mud treatment. Taken from the base of thermal springs in the Abano region, the mud is jam-packed with minerals. Thermalia Travel explain that this enriched thermal mud ‘produces glycolipid substances of considerable anti-inflammatory properties with no side effects’. Whether it is the doing of the mud or the heat, the results are encouraging: after three weeks of daily mud wraps, most patients report an improvement in pain and inflammation. So if that joint pain has been getting you down, why not head to the Euganean Hills for the therapeutic waters of the largest thermal spa in Europe – and take your pick of prestigious hotels that promise comfort, excellent service and a bit of healing on the side.
Welsh sea water: We’ve all heard of the potential healing qualities of the Dead Sea, but if you don’t want to venture that far, how about the St David’s Hotel Marine Spa overlooking Cardiff Bay? Specialising in hydrotherapy, it uses the benefits of seaweed, salts and trace minerals to restore its guests’ wellbeing.
If the salt gets too much, this 5-star stylish and contemporary hotel offers plenty more relaxation with fine dining and fantastic views over the bay.
Greek hot springs: What did Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribe? A long soak in a mineral water bath.Peloponnese is abundant with natural mineral springs that locals claim have extraordinary healing qualities. For gallstones and minor liver disorders, head to the famous therapeutic resort of Loutraki. For gastric and intestinal disorders, plunge into the hot springs of Kaiafas where, legend has it, the centaur Nesos washed the wound caused by Hercules’ arrow. Skin or gynaecological conditions? Methana is your place. Respiratory disorders? Take yourself to Killini. If you can’t find a spring to suit your needs, simply taking in the peninsula’s history and natural beauty will likely have a restorative effect.