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Less stress in hotspots around the world

AAP logoAAP 24/07/2016

The southern Spanish province of Jaen has only one of the 130 listed spa resorts in the country, but there was a time when it received 40 per cent of visitors in the region of Andalusia, with personalities such as Roberto Valentino, Charlie Chaplin and Spanish guitarist Joaquin Sabina passing through to make use of its waters.

In the late 19th century antibiotics had yet to revolutionise medical science and so hundreds of people flocked to spas in search of relief from a wide range of ailments; from skin, respiratory and venereal disease to premature ejaculation and "hysteria", according to historical documents.

Back then the province of Jaen had eight official spa resorts, but Spain's Civil War sparked their decline - although one spa, Marmolejo, continued to bottle its water for Queen Elizabeth II, who had it prescribed as a child.

These days a hot spa is still recommended for kidney, gastric, cardiovascular, respiratory and dermatological diseases as well as stress.

The only spa currently in operation in Jaen is San Andres, in Canena, which has run nonstop since the end of the 19th century.

Its bathing facilities could date back to the Romans, spa director, Juan Manuel Lorite, told Agencia EFE.

The resort is a few kilometres away from the World Heritage cities of Ubeda and Baeza, and also has an outdoor garden area and pool.

Here are other places around the world where you can de-stress with mineral goodness:

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

There are 118 springs in Budapest, providing more than 70 million litres of thermal water a day. And the city provides some delightful places to enjoy them in saunas, steam baths and hot tubs. Choose from the Art Nouveau surroundings of the Hotel Gellert in Buda, Veli Bej's Turkish-style baths or Szechenyi Medicinal Bath, Europe's largest medicinal bath with water temperatures between 74C - 77C. You can even party at historic Lukacs Bath almost every Saturday, winter or summer.

BATH, UK

The historic city of Bath in England's west country was founded on hot springs, with the Roman Baths constructed around 70AD. Today steam continues to rise from the baths, which are one of the best preserved Roman remains in the world. More than one million litres of steaming spring water still fill the bathing site every day. While the Romans believed this was the mystical work of the gods, we now know this water fell as rain water around 10,000BC. In the 21st century spa-goers can make the most of Thermae Bath Spa's facilities with a beautiful rooftop mineral-rich pool overlooking the city.

PRE-SAINT-DIDIER, ITALY

The waters of Pre-Saint-Didier's QC Terme in northern Italy's Aosta Valley are rich in iron and perfect for nourishing the skin and aiding in blood circulation. While the waters boost your body, your eyes can feast on the stunning contrast between the hot thermal waters and the falling winter snows.

AIX-LES-BAINS, FRANCE

Aix-les-Bains is a thermal spa town in eastern France by Lake Bourget, the largest and deepest natural lake in the country. Not only is there a healing, mineral-rich hot springs bathing complex, there are beaches on the lake, and a variety of watersports.

HAKONE, JAPAN

Hakone is one of Japan's most popular hot springs resorts, with more than a dozen springs providing hot water to the area's many bath houses. Visitors will be spoilt for choice when it comes to baths and beautiful scenery as the town boasts views of Mount Fuji.

CALISTOGA, US

At the top of Napa valley, Calistoga is full of relaxing hot springs, mud baths (a local speciality in volcanic hot ash), world-class restaurants and the amazing Napa Valley wines. Nearby attractions include an artificial geothermal geyser known as the "Old Faithful of California" or "Little Old Faithful". The geyser erupts from the casing of a well drilled in the late 19th century.

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