The English were big on salt water bathing as a restorative. Many English novels of the 18th and 19th centuries contain references to people going to Bath to take the waters. They felt it helped many conditions, both physical and mental. They would treat gout, postpartum problems, weakness and numerous vague complaints this way. Later, the focus shifted to mineral springs, especially in Germany, for those who could afford it. Though I doubt bathing cured many of their ailments, it apparently helped. I’m sure it would not have remained as popular as it did for so long if it didn’t have any effect. Having said that, the rest they got, coupled with a respite from day-to-day stressors also played a big part in the beneficial results.