April 7, 2022

Hot springs emerge as favored alternatives in healing practices

City: HawassaHealth

Research claims hot spring water is as effective as conventional medicine.

Avatar: Eyasu Zekariyas
By Eyasu Zekariyas

Eyasu is Addis Zeybe's correspondent in Hawassa.

Hot springs emerge as favored alternatives in healing practices
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Credit: DW

Research conducted by Hawassa University Medical College revealed that hot spring water treatment is emerging as a preferred healing practice being frequented by a growing number of people. 

The research was conducted from 2018 to 2019 focusing on districts in the South and the Sidama Regional State.  

Attending hot spring water treatment is a common practice in some parts of Ethiopia. Patients claim that it is no less effective than the standard medical treatments. 

Muscle cramps, cold sores, back pain, and skin ailments are some of the most common types of diseases treated by hot spring water, according to the study. 

The research takes the growing number of people who use hot spring water as one indicator that it is being recognized for its therapeutic values.     

Dr. Achamyelesh Gebretsadik, a lecturer in the Department of Public Health at Hawassa University Medical College confirms, "During this research period, 80% of the people who visited the hot springs were cured of their illness." 

She adds that the hot spring sites’ capacity to accommodate up to 200-300 patients at once is one advantage they have over conventional health institutions.

According to Dr. Achamyelesh, the major outcome of the study signifies that spring waters, rather than health institutions, are more frequented by patients.

Burkitu Hot Spring (12 km out of Hawassa city), Bersiso spa (Dilla district), Yirgalem (Yirgalem town), and Wondo hot springs (Wondo town)  are among the hot springs included in the survey. All these hot spring sites are confirmed by the research to have healing effects on a number of patients.

The research had around 1,337 volunteer participants. According to the research team leader, questionnaires, physical examination, and laboratory blood tests were used on 1,279 samples to confirm the claims. 

Mulkem Tesfaye, a resident of Gara Riqata, the place where Burkitu hot spring is found, says, “Hundreds of people immerse in Burkitu’s pool of hot water and others just get close and inhale the steam. I have seen people getting better after coming to the hot springs. I, myself, was not able to walk for a long time due to a problem with my knees. I started walking again after using the hot spring’s treatment.”  

According to this new study, hot springs are now becoming popular as they are very effective and less costly. Moreover, they don’t require patients to wait in line for hours. 

Chemists have been involved in the research, studying how hot spring water can cure human disease differently from other types of water. 

According to Dr. Achamyelesh, the chemists confirmed that a high level of sulfur is found in these hot springs, which is especially important for the treatment of skin diseases. She says the chemists recommend that medical institutions should also be involved in such studies as it is important to pay attention to such alternative ways of treatments.