The history of hot spring use in Japan is old: a Japanese history book written in the 7th century describes the emperor at the time receiving a spa treatment. Today, there are 27,000 hot spring sources in Japan, and many citizens use hot springs for health purposes.
This Society is a medical society with a long history. It was founded in 1934 mainly by researchers in balneology, and also joined and became the 15th academic body in the Japanese Association of Medical Sciences at the same time. It is the only medical society related to hot springs in Japan, and we also work with the Ministry of the Environment, which is the Japanese government organization with jurisdiction over hot springs. We currently have 2,000 members, who are mainly medical doctors who conduct research in balneology. We certify doctors who are members of the Society and who satisfy certain criteria as balneotherapists and balneotherapy specialists. We conduct academic research, hold an annual meeting every year, and periodically publish an academic journal, The Journal of Japanese Society of Balneology, Climatology and Physical Medicine. We also contribute to society, including holding public lectures, etc. to inform the public and disseminate balneology, climatotherapy and physiotherapy; distributing information by publishing books on balneotherapy; and conducting surveys and research projects at the request of the government on the hot spring situation, bathing accidents, etc.
Regarding its international position, our Society is a member of the International Society of Medical Hydrology and Climatology (ISMH), which is a long-established society whose first meeting was held in London in 1921. The 39th annual meeting of ISMH was held in Kyoto, Japan in 2014, the first to be held outside of Europe. Our Society is also an academic society which represents Japan internationally; we have conducted international exchanges with researchers and academic societies of balneology in other countries, including a director of our Society serving on the ISMH Scientific Committee and being appointed as the representative for the Japan/Australia region.
About authorized balneotherapeutic doctor and board-certified balneologist
A hot spring is defined as a place where hot water comes out of the ground, or the hot water itself. It is said that monks began their hot spring bathing habits after the Kamakura period about 1000 years ago. There are more than 3,000 hot spring resorts throughout Japan. Hot springs vary in water quality, but have been used since ancient times to treat injuries and illness, including both mental and physical problems.
The Japanese Society of Balneology, Climatology and Physical Medicine (BCPM) was founded in 1934, was jointed in the fifteenth of academic societies of Japan. The BCPM is also the only scientific society focusing on hot spring therapy and its clinical research. The BCPM collaborates with the Ministry of the Environment, which has jurisdiction over hot springs. The membership of the BCPM currently numbers approximately 2000 doctors. The BCPM offers two levels of credentials for doctors, based on their studies and clinical experience: authorized balneotherapeutic doctor and board-certified balneologist.
The BCPM holds its annual meeting at a famous Japanese hot spring, and publishes the Journal of Balneology, Climatology and Physical Medicine four times per year. It belongs to the International Society of Medical Hydrology and Climatology (ISMH), and hosted the 38th ISMH World Congress in Kyoto in 2014. The BCPM’s social contributions include several public lectures every year about balneology, climatology and physical medicine.
|1976||Certification system for doctors in balneotherapy established in the BCPM|
|1980||Educational workshop initiated for doctors who wish to be certified in balneotherapeutics|
|1982||“Authorized balneotherapeutic doctor” designation established by the BCPM. District workshops initiated.|
|1989||Launch of the “board-certified balneologist” designation|
Authorized balneotherapeutic doctor (n=1003 as of September, 2021) The BCPM offers the “authorized balneotherapeutic doctor” designation for doctors who have completed the full education workshop, and will be able to teach balneology, climatology and physical medicine. Furthermore, the doctor must have belonged to the BCPM for at least 3 years and must hold a Japanese medical license. When a doctor is authorized, he or she is automatically granted membership in the BCPM, and the authorization must be renewed every 5 years.
Board-certified balneologist (n=193 as of September, 2021) The BCPM offers the “board-certified balneologist” designation for doctors who have passed the specialist examination after at least two years of experience as a balneotherapeutic doctor and have been certified as a specialist. The certification must be renewed every 5 years and requires 20 training credits to renew.