Despite the water scarcity gripping the center of the country, Tunisia has made a name for itself in water therapy thanks to dozens of world-class facilities.
Thanks to the springs and fountains flowing from north to south, Tunisia has become an internationally recognized tourist attraction in the field of hot water therapy.
Tunisia currently ranks second among the internationally-recognized tourist attractions in terms of number and standard of services offered by health resorts and sea-water therapeutic centers, according to Ruzaiq Oueslati, Director General of the National Bureau for Mineral and Water Treatment.
65 hot springs
Tunisia enjoys a significant amount of mineral water resources, including more than 100 fountains and springs, 30 of which have cold water of less than 25 degrees, in addition to 65 hot water springs of up to 45 degrees. There are four large health complexes in Tunisia, including 50 natural water therapeutic centers, 30 traditional baths, more than 50 sea water health facilities and 50 recuperation centers. Each facility has its own therapeutic specialty, depending on its water composition.
Fifty springs are used as therapeutic centers and public baths. Use of mineral water in Tunisia dates back to the time of the Romans, who built their cities around the hot and cold water springs.
Some of the most famous health enhancement facilities are Hammam Bourguiba in the north west region, which has a health spa and massage parlors; Al-Zariba and Korbous resorts in the Nabeul Governorate in the north, and El-Hamma spa in the south.
The scenic beauty of Korbous on the Mediterranean coast make it a favourite. Thousands of domestic and foreign tourists flock to the city for all kinds of remedies every year.
Thanks to its rich scenic beauty, the sea and the natural hot water springs, Korbous has become a favorite destination for patients suffering from asthma, skeletal, rheumatic and dermal diseases.
Unique hybrid treatment
Omar-al-Faradi, a regular visitor, says he comes for the soothing algae showers. “I have suffered severe back and joint pain, until some doctors advised me to visit Korbous spas, hoping to find there what medicines have failed to provide,” says a satisfied Omar.
The Korbous health resort is unique in the world, according to Ruzaiq Oueslati, director General of the National Bureau for Mineral and Water Treatment, because the resort combines treatment using seawater and hot mineral water.
Korbous town contains many hot water springs. It also has mineral water treatment centers, some of which are traditional, called ‘al-Arraka’ baths, while others are modern and are outfitted with the latest equipment and services. The most famous of Korbous’ hot springs are ‘ Aktar’ and ‘ Atrous’, which are more than 70 degrees and flow into the sea.
One of the most significant methods of treatment at these health resorts is to cover the whole or part of the body with algae, herbals oils or mineral mud. Additional treatments are administered through inhalation, air pressure, by nose, mouth and foot showers.
Many patients stay for several weeks at any of these facilities, especially during the winter season, when rheumatic diseases and breathing problems are widespread, as in the case of Salem bin Abdullah, who suffers breathing problems and chronic allergy.
Abdullah says he had tried all kinds of medicines and visited many clinics, all to no avail. Recently his doctor advised him to try the hot water therapy facility. Abdullah was cynical at first. But his condition has improved since he visited Bourguiba thermal bath, in north-west of Tunis.
Now he is a frequent visitor at the therapeutic facilities and treatment is no longer his sole purpose: The few hours he spends inside the baths and massage rooms make him extremely happy and relieve him of stress and tension, he adds.
Despite the mountainous surrounding terrain and the difficulty in accessing Korbous, thousands of people continue to come for treatment every year on the only road in, a boost to Tunisia’s ailing tourism sector.