If only I could go to a Czech spa right now!

Mariánské Lázně1
Mariánské Lázně in Czech Republic

In my husband’s home country of Czech Republic, if you are a bit under the weather or recuperating from a major illness, your doctor may prescribe a two to three week in-patient treatment at a spa (or lázně in Czech), which is covered by health insurance. There, patients are evaluated by a doctor specializing in balneotherapy (treating disease by baths) or physical therapy, who assembles an individual plan of procedures and treatments. Those range from drinking (the mineral waters!), bathing (not only in the mineral waters, but also in waters infused with herbs, fruit, salts, hops, malt extract, and others), wraps, massages, exercise, special diet, etc. 

Throughout centuries, European spas have been very popular not only for their healing power, but also for the “extras,” and that is the social and cultural life. Local folks, as well as many famous figures like Beethoven, Peter the Great, Goethe, King Edward VII., were regulars at Karlovy Vary (or Carlsbad in English), whereas Mark Twain, Henry Kissinger, Edison, and Freud apparently preferred the less opulent Mariánské Lázně. Both of these towns are located in idyllic surroundings of western Bohemia and are known for a wide variety of mineral springs, intricate colonnades, bucolic parks and fascinating architecture.

Today, most of the modern European spas are luxury resorts at breathtaking locations, but the ones in the Czech Republic retained their old-world charm and affordability. If your taste is more Évian, overlooking Lake Geneva, you’ll return home without your arm and a leg. If you opt for Jeseník or Jáchymov, spa towns hidden among the undulating hills and deep forests of Bohemia, your three week stay will cost you about half of what you’d pay for three days at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts. Speaking of which, I’m still waiting for a response from Aetna, as to what my copay would be if spa treatments were covered under my current or the soon-to-be-enacted tremendously spectacular healthcare law. I’m sure I would be buried in bills afterwards.



Different spas in Czech Republic have mineral waters with various health benefits

Well, back to reality and my feeling unwell.  I could really go for several weeks of pampering, hot spring pools, healing wraps, walks in the park, massages, and a string quartet in the evening at one of the Czech lázně specializing in mental health convalescence. I hear that English should not be a problem, for most of the doctors, nurses and therapists speak several languages to accommodate the scores of visitors from all over the world. With or without doctor’s orders, they all come in search of the salubrious waters and immersive (pun intended) relaxation and revitalization. I can only imagine the perplexed expression on my psychiatrist’s face if I asked him for a spa prescription.


I’ve been feeling depressed for a while and have hardly been able to leave my home. Even leaving my bedroom takes extreme effort. During this rough time, I’ve been seeing my therapist weekly, but I yearn for a type of “retreat” where certain aspects of life could be made easier and other aspects enhanced through various motivational means. When I get depressed beyond what a weekly therapist and regular psychiatrist can handle, the usual “prescription” in my area in New Jersey is the psychiatric hospital, or at least an Intensive Outpatient Day Program (IOP). These do include a lot of talk therapy, coping skills classes, and maybe art or music therapy, along with doctor consultations, but nothing beyond except maybe meals (depending on the option). Again, no idyllic environment in the options I can afford. And speaking of affording, the costs even with my health insurance are pretty steep. So much so, I usually don’t want to even go there unless it’s the very last resort. And by “resort,” I mean “last possible option,” nothing fancy or appealing. I simply wish I had similar benefits as do people in Czech Republic. The U.S. is a rich country, isn’t it? 

Post written with the loving help of my Czech (Bohemian) husband


15 thoughts on “If only I could go to a Czech spa right now!

  1. Irene July 12, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    Oh I wish that was the way we did things here….. It sounds heavenly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 12, 2017 / 6:40 pm

      I know. It is possible, however, that some day I’ll be able to go. We’ll see.


    • updownflight July 26, 2017 / 6:47 pm

      Hi diyingmachine. I’m sorry I’m only responding to your comment now. Your comment ended up in my spam folder accidentally on 07/12/17 and I only checked it now. I do hope you get a chance to have a spa day soon.


  2. Intentergy July 12, 2017 / 7:15 pm

    A prescription for the Czech spa would be greatly appreciated from me too. The fact that such TLC is a commonly prescribe practice in other countries is interesting to me. Our health care system is so bogged down with bureaucracy and greed that those who could benefit from kind and simple treatments (such as the spas) are left hurting. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you a positive and healthy day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 12, 2017 / 7:42 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Intentergy. I hope you can get some TLC soon. It’s really true that sometimes we just need such a retreat. It’s a shame that it is often so expensive in some countries.

      Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 12, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Yes. I hope I can someday make it there. I’m afraid not now, though, even though I really need it.


  3. richardjalba July 13, 2017 / 4:25 pm

    I’ve never been to Czech, but I have been to an incredible spa in Germany. I believe it was called Therme Erding. It was an incredible day and I felt rejuvenated for the following days. It’s a shame that we don’t have the same spa healthcare customs in the US (as far as I know).

    The closest thing I’ve come to that German Spa was a place called Glen Ivy somewhere in California. It can’t compare to the Therme sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 13, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you for sharing about the German spa. I think since most of them are so old they have some lovely surroundings, and the custom is retained in many cases. I hope we both get to go to one in the near future.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sally July 22, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    My local psychiatric hospital (that I have visited several times) has shared bedrooms, a/c blasting whatever the weather, and inedible food. The ‘rules’ are to wear hospital scrubs, only sit on the bed because there are no chairs, and sit on the floor in a line for medications. The day-room is open for three hours a day with no TV. There is only a bible to read, patients have to ask for a key to the bathroom and are not allowed to use a pen or pencil, only crayons. Privileged patients are allowed out of the locked ward for twenty minutes every other day with a nurse, and the phone can be used on a roster.

    All this luxury is available for the meager sum of $700 (including legal fees). Commitment is 99% and the stay is between 10 to 14 days.

    The last time I was in hospital in Britain (in 1986) there were no locked doors, plenty of freedom even to the extent that I went to work every day and went ‘home’ by choice every night and ate their better-than-average food.

    But, wow, how I wish I lived in the Czech Republic for those times when things get totally out of control. This care shouldn’t be a dream here, it should be a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight July 22, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      I agree, Sally.

      Please let me clarify that the Czech spas I refer to are not the same as psychiatric hospitals. They would be a place you could be able/recommended to go before you became THAT ill. I do know, however, that the psychiatric hospital that a relative of mine went to in Prague wasn’t that bad at all, but not a spa. The one you mention first for $700 dollars sounds awful. Mine in my area of the U.S. weren’t nearly as bad as you describe. Mine were private, not state hospitals. Mine were expensive even with good insurance. In Czech Republic costs for hospitalizations are about nill and the quality is good. They have universal coverage in that country.


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