For the price of a night in the pub you can luxuriate in a top Alpine spa. Debbie Lawson tries out three in Switzerland and Italy

Scuol, in eastern Switzerland, has been hosting health tourists since the 1830s. Back then, people congregated in “drink halls” built on natural springs, sampling their mineral-rich bounty. Everyone had their own tankard, labelled to avoid the spread of disease. Some waters had such a laxative effect that toilets had to be built at regular intervals along the path back to town.

I found myself naked in mixed company, bubbling jets of mineral water wobbling our bare buttocks

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Local farmers still have the right to bathe their livestock in the thermal waters that supply the spa

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