bal·​ne·​ol·​o·​gy ˌbal-nē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce balneology (audio)
: the science of the therapeutic use of baths

Did you know?

Sure, the hot water feels good. Sure, the massage is nice. But it goes beyond that, advocates say. So wrote Ellen Creager in an article published on February 18, 2001 in the Detroit Free Press. The healing powers of mineral baths have long been touted by advocates like those mentioned by Creager. Though we've had the word balneology for just over 120 years, this method of treating aching muscles, joint pain, and skin ailments goes back to ancient times. Proponents of the science of bath therapy created the name "balneology" from the Latin word balneum ("bath") and the combining form "-logy" ("science"). Today, some medical institutes in Europe have departments of balneology. Modern "balneologists" impart their knowledge to, or themselves serve as, "balneotherapists," who apply their "balneotherapy" to grateful clients.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary, from Latin balneum bath — more at bagnio

First Known Use

1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of balneology was in 1852


Dictionary Entries Near balneology

Cite this Entry

“Balneology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


bal·​ne·​ol·​o·​gy ˌbal-nē-ˈäl-ə-jē How to pronounce balneology (audio)
plural balneologies
: the science of the therapeutic use of baths
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