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When you've had a surfeit of la dolce vita, a variety of health cures is available at Italy's many spas (terme). Italy has over 100 spas, attracting millions of visitors each year. Many offer not only treatment for ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, respiratory complaints, skin diseases and obesity, but also 'health care tourism' packages, which include beauty treatments, hydromassage, heliotherapy (sun treatment), inhalatory treatments or just relaxation. Many spas stress the scientific aspect of the treatments they offer, listing the mineral composition of their waters and sometimes the scientific research conducted there. All spas have qualified doctors.

Your family doctor can prescribe treatment at a spa centre and, if you're registered with the national health service, you pay only the cost of the ticket. However, the SSN doesn't pay for board and lodging. Spas can usually be visited on a daily basis for a fee of between ? and ?0. Maximum immersion time is usually around 20 to 30 minutes, followed by a rest period of a similar duration.

This excerpt has been republished with permission from Survival Books. Some of the information may apply to EU citizens only. If you would like to get the inside track on moving to Italy, pick up your copy of this great book by clicking here.


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