Recuperation available throughout the year
By Ludmila Svetlova
Before too long, our thoughts will turn to summer and how to spend our holidays. It’s common knowledge that ever more Belarusians are choosing to holiday in our countryside resorts.
Places for local holidaymakers
Many Belarusians complain that it’s far from easy to gain a booking at a local spa — especially in summer, as the Russians tend to book so far in advance. In fact, the quality of service at many of our health resorts long ago captured the attention of our foreign neighbours. Some from CIS states book their places up to six months in advance.
The Belarusian Federation of Trade Unions has booked 10,000 places for its members in advance for the last few years, in order to make sure spa trips can be assured. Of course, our spas are just as lovely outside of the summer season. The Director of the Republican Centre for Recuperation and Sanatorium-Resort Treatment, Nikolay Mazur, tells us, “Ten percent of Belarusian citizens visited a spa last year. The number of those choosing to holiday at home rather than abroad has risen by 15,000.”
Searching for eternal youth
Our Belarusian spas offer 150-200 types of treatment each year, including traditional mud cures, balneo-, phyto-, magneto- and laser treatments and aromatherapy. At Priozerny, Sosny, Belorusochka, and Krinitsa spas, you can try leeches and, at Pridneprovsky, Belaya Rus, and Rassvet-Luban, bee sting treatments are available.
Since ancient times, people have known the benefits of contrast bathing in cold and hot water, making use of ice and snow in winter. “Today, we can achieve the same effect more conveniently with a cryo-sauna,” explains Mr. Mazur. Patients enter one cabin — where a dry cold mixture of ozone and air is given at a temperature of 130-140 degrees below zero. The ‘stress’ of the cold stimulates the inner organs, strengthening immunity and lifting your mood, due to the activity of ‘happiness’ hormones: endorphins. The process also stimulates circulation and thereby vitalises the skin, battling signs of aging. It can even help with weight loss; unsurprisingly, cryo-saunas are proving popular with female guests.
Some Belarusian spas rival the most famous worldwide in having unique natural landscapes and treatments. Radon (with its five medium concentration of radioactive radon wells) is like Georgian Tskaltubo while the mineral water of Porechie is similar to that of Lithuanian Druskininkai. We have our own Truskavets at Rassvet, whose mineral waters are used to treat genitourinary problems.
“We’re now hopeful of promoting the Braslav District,” admits Mr. Mazur. “Scientists found brome bitterns and sulphide mud there recently; some of its spring waters support the motor system and cure skin ailments. Such treatment courses are offered at balneomud resort Marcial Waters in Sochi. Although this kind of treatment isn’t yet available to most Belarusians the analogue to Marcial Waters will soon appear in our country.
Naturally, investments are needed to bring such plans to fruition and services need to be exported to foreign tourists to generate revenue. At present, such visitors bring in around $100m annually and the figure could rise significantly.