Skip navigation

Medicinal waters

Medicinal waters are natural mineral waters with proven therapeutical effect. Their therapeutical application in treating certain diseases has been identified using strict medical tests  and thus officially these waters are allowed to be called ’medicinal waters’.

When using medicinal waters externally as bathing water, they have to meet the general criteria of mineral waters when used externally and, their dissolved mineral content and chemical characteristics should not contain substances which could have a harmful effect on health. (

The testing of medicinal waters in Hungary is done by the National Medical Office, General Directorate for Spas and Medicinal Baths.  The first step - following a series of chemical analyses - is to acknowledge the water in question as mineral water. Then the medicinal effect is being tested with the so-called ’double blind test’. In the testing process 10 patients have baths in the chosen thermal water, while another group of 10 patients have baths in heated tap water. Neither participant knows which group he or she belongs to. The results of the test enable the Office to present a suggestion for the acknowledgement of the water in question as medicinal water. (

When used as bathing water it should be noted that the water temperature and the appropriate water treatment technology should be selected carefully not to damage the biologically active components of the water.

In most cases – but not always – medicinal waters are hot, that is they are thermal waters.  It is not typical in Hungary, but in other countries the medicinal waters are common with a temperature below 20 °C. The temperature of these waters need to be raised in order to make them suitable for bathing.

Medicinal baths are usually opened in the vicinity of hot springs, driver wells and mineral springs. It is in these establishments that a full range of physiotherapy treatments is offered to patients while utilizing the beneficial effects of medicinal waters, medicinal clay, or other natural substances.  In many cases swimming pools, steam baths, pleasure baths and hotels are also parts of the medicinal complex.

When used internally medicinal waters should meet mineral water criteria and they should be suitable for drinking and/or inhaling and they should have a medically proven beneficial effect on health. (

When medicinal waters are used for the purpose of drinking cures the medically proven indications and counter indications as well as suggestions for consumption need to be noted on the label.  When used externally as bathing water information should be given near the pool area for patients on what diseases and symptoms the water has beneficial effect and in what conditions it is not recommended for use. These are called indications and counter (contra) indications. If patients do not have a referral given by their doctor, they should carefully study the components and the therapeutic effects of the water and the list of indications and counter indications.

For further details see: