Citizens of the city of Hamam al-Alil in Mosul have headed to sulphuric hot springs in order to seek cures from physical ailments.
In the town of Hamam al-Alil, south of Mosul, citizens have returned to its famous mineral spring waters in order to seek cures for skin ailments. “I had a rash and have not benefited from medical treatments. I went to a lot of doctors and underwent more than one treatment and did not recover,” said a resident. “However, I recovered after using this sulphur spring water along with clay after two or three times.”
This type of therapy known as “balneotherapy” is part of many medicinal traditions practised around the world. Balneotherapy is usually coupled with “fangotherapy,” the use of mineral–enriched clays and muds, which promises users many health benefits.
“The presence of mineral water soothes the skin and removes itching because the water of Hamam al-Alil and the sulphur spring in Mosul contains a percentage of sulphur,” said a skin doctor in Mosul. “To date, this sulphur is being used to treat skin conditions and remove itching.”
According to many Iraqi historians, the town of Hamam al-Alil was named after its famous spring waters, as the name roughly translates to “the bath of the ill”. As a result, many people from across the country, and the region have headed to the area’s springs to seek cures for skin diseases including eczema and skin allergies. As a result, the previous governments have constructed spas around the town for those coming to Hamam al-Alil for spa-therapy. “There are people from outside Mosul who come for treatment here. They come from all of the Iraqi provinces,” said a local.
Despite the touristic nature of this area, the town is still in ruins due to ISIS’ control of the areas during their rule. Furthermore, Hamam al-Alil has largely been neglected by both the local and central governments.
“This area is neglected, if it is located in another country, you would have found parks and tourists and attention,” said a resident of the town. Nonetheless, despite the lack of care and attention that this area has received, it continues to welcome visitors seeking treatment from Hamam al-Alil’s mineral springs.