Soaking in warm waters as a medicinal treatment has been around for thousands of years. Even taking a little dip in beer-filled water is not a new concept, so we were curious why it seems that more and more beer spas are opening in Prague and around the country. While I still haven’t cracked the reason for their increased popularity, I have enjoyed researching this topic.
Below are some of the health benefits promoted by the beer spas we researched. Personally, I think soaking in warm water regardless of the beer probably has the same advantages, but there is no question that enjoying some beer or wine will automatically help you feel more relaxed.
Health Benefits of Beer Spas:Improve mental relaxation
- Increase circulation
- Regenerate and exfoliate hair and skin
- Revitalize nervous system
- Ease muscle tension
- Treatment of back and joint pain
- Improve immunity
One risk you may have heard is that warming beer does release carbon dioxide, a gas 1.6 times heavier than air that could paralyze the airways. No brewer, even in his dreams, would have the idea to soak himself in an open fermented tub. Luckily, this is only a danger if you were in a bath with continuously replenished fresh beer, your head just above the beer level, and tub walls at least a meter high. When you climb into the bath in a beer spa, carbon dioxide is already at very acceptable and safe level.
Researching beer spas was certainly relaxing, and we enjoyed some very interesting experiences along the way. Here are a few of the locations we tried:
Five years ago, we were given a certificate to a beer spa in Poděbrady, a historical spa town in the Central Bohemian Region. We stayed at a nearby hotel and went to our appointment with a completely open mind. The nurse brought us into a room that had two wooden tubs filled with hot water and nice smelling herbs. She claimed there was a few liters of beer in it and told us about the health benefits. We were given about 30 minutes to soak in the waters. The baths each had a tap next to it with a glass and we could drink unlimited amounts of beer. Afterwards, I indulged with a massage, which was also fantastic!
A couple of years later, we checked out the ‘original beer spa’ in Chodová Planá. This experience felt much more like a hospital procedure, with our soaking tubs set in a huge room with curtains to divide the ‘patients.’ The tubs were metal, and we were given a glass of beer which we could refill as many times as we wished from the tap hanging above the tub. The entire bath was filled with beer, topped with a huge head of foam. This time, the smell was strongly of beer, a slight problem as we were told not to shower for 6 hours to get the most benefit!
To my delight, a beer spa recently opened up in our Hradčanská neighborhood in Prague, so it seemed we must try it as a way to support our community (wink, wink). This time we enjoyed a two-person wooden tub for two people in a large room with a fireplace and hay bed just for ourselves for the hour. The beer tap was next to the tub, so once again we could drink as much as we could handle. Given that the bathwater had more herbs and water than beer, we poured a few more glasses in to be sure we got the benefits. And because it was my husband’s birthday, we both got massages. So, while one of us rested on the hay mattress, the other was getting a great rub down. The hay bed was interesting, but a bit pokey on the skin.
Of course, we decided we needed to visit a fourth spa as a comparison for this article, so we headed to Pilsen, home of the famous Czech beer. Again, we enjoyed a two-person wooden bath filled mostly with water and very little beer, as well as the hops, seeds, and all ingredients for beer making, which were said to offer extra exfoliation benefits for our skin. The rooms were semi-private, so while we had our own entrance, the back of the room was open to other beer tubs. They did have a neon sign in the room that counted down our time left, probably making us want to drink more before the timer went off and the tub automatically started draining! Again, we were led to a relaxing room afterward with one other couple. Once they heard I was writing an article, they became quite lively and talkative. Not sure if Michal exaggerated who I wrote for, but it was nice.
There are plenty of beer spas to choose from in Prague and around the country, but my recommendation is to go to one that uses the beer you really like. Also, if you decide to enjoy a massage during your visit, try not to drink too much beer in the bath!
Most of the beer spas we visited offered a variety of experiences for quite reasonable costs. This would be a great idea for a gift certificate for a friend or loved one in the Czech Republic over the holidays or just because. Our local beer spa is also doing a wine spa, which sounds like an interesting “research” topic… stay tuned for the next article!