Let’s say you’re suffering from some malady. In America, you call your doctor’s office in May and you describe your (possibly urgent) symptoms and the gatekeeper on the other end of the line offers some kind words of support and then informs you that the next available appointment is in early October. In the time it takes you to express your shock at the long wait time, October fills up. In France, when you’re suffering from some malady and you call the doctor, they tell you to go jump in the lake. But not just any lake. Rather, you’re prescribed a few weeks of hydrotherapy, either thermalism or thalasso, with just the right water, steam, and mud. Lauren Collins explains in The New Yorker: Seeking a Cure in France’s Waters. “Let’s say that you suffer from arthritis, arteritis, bronchitis, bursitis, colitis, diverticulitis, endometriosis, laryngitis, osteoporosis, rhinitis, sinusitis, tendinitis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Raynaud’s disease, multiple sclerosis, angina, asthma, sciatica, kidney stones, sore throat, dizziness, spasms, migraines, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, back pain, earaches, vaginal dryness, menstrual cramps, itching, bloating, swelling, constipation, gout, obesity, gum disease, dry mouth, psoriasis, acne, eczema, frostbite, hives, rosacea, scarring, stretch marks, or varicose veins, or that you are depressed, trying to quit smoking, or simply dealing with a lot of stress. You also, crucially, live in France. You go see the doctor. She writes you a prescription for a thermal cure, indicating to which of the country’s hundred and thirteen accredited thermal spas you will be sent. Then you fill out a simple form and submit it, along with the prescription, to the national health-care service. Your application is approved—it almost always is—and you’re off to take the waters.” Being a middle aged Jewish male who at any given time suffers from approximately ninety percent of these ailments, this option should sound good to me. But I don’t like disrobing in public and water irritates my skin.

+ This list of ailments reminds me of the great, old Steve Martin list of side effects of a prescribed drug.

+ And if you missed it on Friday, here’s a look at another version of hydrotherapy: Big Wave Bodysurfing.