Splash of Life

Water is amongst the most valuable resources for human civilization. We all need it to survive and our bodies depend on it entirely. But water is not just for drinking. It can provide us with so much more and hydrotherapy is among them. Iran is a country blessed with a large number of natural springs that provide the perfect condition for health tourism. This documentary takes us through the various attractions of health tourism and hydrotherapy in Iran.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

Narration: It’s a great summer day with a lot of sunshine. Tired of daily work, I visit a beautiful park in central Tehran trying to unwind a bit. Over time we get so used to our surroundings that at times we forget to see all those things around us, how they are there, why they are and what they are good for. The sight of the children drinking from the water fountain and playing makes me start thinking about water. When I look around consciously I get to realize almost everything is in one way or another dependent on water. It’s simply influenced many aspects of our life. We need it to drink, to bathe, to wash, to have fun and indulge ourselves, to have green parks like this, to be able to enjoy breathtaking scenery. Animals can’t do without it either. Our health depends on it too and I know Iran is an ideal country for health tourism. There are numerous health tourism attractions in my country. So let’s set off and visit one of the many regions in Iran where water’s miracles can be seen in many different ways, all of them affecting our life and contributing to our health.

Let’s have some cool water Mother Nature has provided us here without man’s interference. This is Heiran. A road bordering the Azerbaijan republic taking us to northwestern Ardabil province. On One side of the road you have mountains with lush woods and on the other side hills through which Astara River flows. The road is usually covered by fog thanks to its proximity to the Caspian Sea. The province of Ardabilgiven its mild, fresh and invigorating climate as well as varied and delicious cuisines receives a large crowd of visitors from all over the nation throughout the year especially in the summer when many start going places.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “Water constitutes almost 60% of body weight. Water plays a big role in maintaining body health. Regular consumption of water helps regulate body heat, removes the body waste and prevents spread of infection. We can provide our body’s required daily water with a healthy diet.”

Narration: In places like this thanks to varying elevations and temperatures it’s easy to make therapeutical moves in the water. Once in the water, you feel you’ve lost some of your weight. This, doctors say makes it harmless to move in the water. It even strengthens the muscles of the damaged organ.Day spas like this are quite popular, and offer various personal care treatments. The term ‘spa’ was coined in the town of Spa in Belgium in the 16th century when locals drank iron-bearing water from a nearby spring water to cure iron deficiencies. In 1571, the first spa-resort to make use of this spring water was established in Yorkshire, England. By the 19th century, physicians acknowledged the healing properties of bathing in medicinal waters and spas began opening up across Europe.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamid Faraji, Oxygen Club Specialist: “The spa is a place where exhilarating services are offered by hot water springs.”

Narration: The termspais used for towns or resorts offeringhydrotherapywhich can include cold water ormineral watertreatments and hotthermal baths. Athermal bathis a warm body of water. It is often referred to as aspa, which is traditionally referred to a place where the water was believed to have special health-giving properties.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamid Faraji, Oxygen Club Specialist: “There are three kinds of spas: day spa, health spa and hotel spa. Among the benefits of spas one can refer to: improved blood flow and providing skin care and relaxation.”

Narration: The term "balneotherapy" is generally applied to everything relating to spa treatment, including the drinking of waters and the use of hot baths and natural vapor baths, as well as of the various kinds of mud and sand used for hot applications. Balneotherapy refers to the medicinal use of these spas, as opposed to recreational use. Common minerals found in spa waters aresodium,magnesium,calcium, andiron, as well asarsenic,lithium,potassium,manganese,bromine, andiodine.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “The use of mineral water has been prevalent in Iran, Greece, Rome and Ancient China. In the 18th century hydrotherapy came to be applied in medicine. In the 19th century the first hydrotherapy clinic started to operate in Europe. In the 20th century the chemical and physical properties of water and the application of hot and cold water in medicine were proven.”

Narration: The practice of traveling to hot or cold springs in hopes of finding a cure of some ailment dates back to pre-historic times. Archaeological investigations near hot springs in France and the Czech Republic revealedBronze Ageweapons and offerings. In Britain, ancient legend has attributed the discovery of the hot springs in Bath, England to early Celtic kings.

In 16th-centuryEngland, the old Roman ideas of medicinal bathing were revived at towns like Bath in 1596 William Sinsby who had been to the Belgian town of spa discovered a chalybeate spring in Yorkshire.

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Narration: He built an enclosed well at what became known asHarrogate, the first resort in England for drinking medicinal waters.

Many people around the world believed that bathing in particular springs, wells, or rivers resulted in physical and spiritual purification. Forms of ritual purification existed among native Americans,Persians,Babylonians,Egyptians,Greeks, and Romans.

In the 16th century, physicians prescribed that mineral water be taken internally as well as externally. Patients periodically bathed in warm water for up to 10 or 11 hours while drinking glasses of mineral water. The first bath session occurred in the morning, the second in the afternoon. This treatment lasted several days until skin pustules formed and broke resulting in the draining of "poisons" considered to be the source of the disease. Then followed another series of shorter, hotter baths to wash the infection away and close the eruptions.

Sultan Amir Ahmad’s Bathhouse in the Iranian city of Kashan was built in the 16th century. Today the bathhouse serves as a tourist attraction.

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Seyfollah Aminian, Cultural Heritage Org.: “If you look at the corner of the ceiling, you’ll see a gypsum part. see?

They repaired the inside of the bath every few years so these gypsum layers were piled on top of each other. They kept this part as an indicator of the old age of this bathhouse. This bath dates back to the fifth or sixth century of the Seljuq period and it’s still standing today.”

Narration: The bathhouse aimed to promote cleanliness as prescribed in Islam. It also served as a place for relaxation, discussions and even prayers. A prototype of a modern spa center!The bathhouse is decorated with amazing ornamental tiles, some of which being turquoise and gold. It includes an octagonal dressing hall called Sarbineh and the hot bathing hall Garmkhaneh.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Alireza Heidari, Director, Sareyn Water Company: “The hot water springs in Sareyn, with different temperatures and curative properties, flow to the surface from underground and are quite natural. That’s why every year tourists visit Sareyn in the summer and even in the past few years they’ve visited during winter time too.”

Narration: Everybody enjoys taking a dip in the mineral hot water pools. You’ll find people from all age groups enjoying the spa alongside each other.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “Hydrotherapy is divided into three categories. The first one is making use of potable water. By drinking water we can benefit from its properties. The second category is the inactive use of water, that is when the person goes into cold or warm water and benefits from its physical and chemical properties. In this category, mineral waters in our country especially those in Sareyn, Mahallat, Ramsar and elsewhere can be utilized. The physical and chemical properties of the water as well as its temperature can help treat many illnesses.”

Narration: Water supports good health in numerous ways. It means peace and calm. Another health aspect of the essence of life….. the broadest and the most essential use of water that we are all used to: drinking water. Mount Sabalan bestows its surroundings with numerous gifts one of them being super healthy, infection-free natural water that’s replete with minerals essential for the body.

Gor-Gor spring is located Just 7 kilometers away from this mineral water plant.

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Narration: It provides high quality and uncontaminated water for the industrial complex.

These filters are supposed to be replaced or at least cleaned once a year but managers at this plant are proud to tell us that this is not necessary here at all. Given the purity of the spring water piped into the plant. Yet, meticulous tests are conducted in special high-tech laboratories around the clock to ensure the full health of the water produced here. The bottles are germ-free and environment friendly. The water produced here at the foot of mount Sabalan is consumed all over Iran. It’s also exported to a number of neighboring countries.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Golnar Farnoudi, Host of program: “Many patients refer to you. What are the benefits of hydrotherapy that make the patients come to you?”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “Hydrotherapy has numerous benefits. One of them being prevention of muscle atrophy in people who have had their nerves cut or those with spinal cord injuries as well as those with brain injury or brain paralysis. Patients with heart strokes can also be helped in this way.”

Narration: People especially athletes use water as the simplest, easiest and cheapest way for relaxation and recuperation.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Golnar Farnoudi, Host of program:Under what conditions do you prescribe hydrotherapy to your patients?”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “We prescribe hydrotherapy to those patients who are overweight, are unable to stand on their knees or have severe backaches. Once the person stands in the water, his body weight is reduced proportionately to the same volume as the body occupies so he can make move better. They can be more active in the water and their self-confidence is definitely boosted.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Golnar Farnoudi, Host of program:Do you have special pools for this?”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “Yes, there are special pools with special equipment for hydrotherapy. that are used depending on the patients’ condition.”

Narration: Taking a hot water shower after workout or daily chores is what people are used to doing routinely perhaps unaware of its health benefits.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “In the third category of hydrotherapy the person enters the water and makes special moves and exercises in the water that help to strengthen the muscles and keep the body healthy.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

Narration: Perhaps benefiting from water for treatment purposes and relaxation is as old as man’s existence. There are numerous benefits to hydrotherapy including alleviating pain, unwinding and relaxation as well as acquiring tranquility of body and mind.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “As for the indirect effects of hydrotherapy, it can ease motion restrictions and increase the extent of joint movement also it can help prevent osteoporosis and deformity in the spine among those who have motion problems, i.e. it can prevent spinal deviation to the front, back or the sides. It can hold the vertebral column in its natural form. It can augment blood circulation. Better blood flow can prevent sedimentation of minerals in the kidney and ultimately kidney stones. It can also increase respiratory volume and help the lungs’ health.”

Narration: The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Hydrotherapy was used in old times by Iranians, Egyptians, Greeks and the Japanese.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Atef Mohseni, Saryen Governor: “In the four towns within Ardabil province, Sareyn is the smallest but the most brilliant of all. The people of Sareyn, through the investments they’ve made in recent years, have been hosting millions of tourists from various parts of the country and even from other countries. Statistics show that every year 7 million visitors from Iran and around 500 thousand foreign tourists come to Sareyn. There are 11 hot springs in Sareyn. The springs have different healing properties that can be effective and useful for skin diseases, rheumatism and bone problems.

These waters also have these properties. You can find large quantities of ammonia, calcium, sodium, and even sulphur in them. The use of these waters makes man feel relaxed and calm. There are 5 modern hydrotherapy centers here, 2 are under construction and the rest are being run in a traditional way.

The weather in Sareyn is great for relaxation and health tourism. The annual rainfall is 492 millimeters, the temperature in the summer doesn’t go higher than 17 degrees Celsius and the average temperature in winter doesn’t get lower than 8 degrees Celsius.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Dr. Abbas Daghagh Zadeh, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician: “One of the direct effects of hydrotherapy is the fact that paralyzed organs that have no nerve can be moved in the water by other muscles that have nerves given the body’s light weight in the water, thus maintaining their motion range. Another effect is that it increases the blood flow in the paralyzed organ and also causes joy and sprightliness. It reduces spasms and contraction in the muscles as well. The water’s thermal effects can augment blood circulation, cause relaxation and release the muscles.”

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