Balneotherapy in Medicine

List of clinical trials from PubMed

Bathing in water (balneotherapy or spa therapy) has been frequently and widely used in classical medicine as a cure for diseases.

The major dermatologic and musculoskeletal diseases that are frequently treated by balneotherapy with a remarkable rate of success are atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis and low back pain.

Moreover, the effects of spa therapy on several metabolic conditions are discussed. The mechanisms by which broad spectrums of diseases respond to spa therapy probably incorporate chemical, thermal and mechanical effects.

The importance of balneotherapy either alone or as complement to other therapies should be considered after, or accompanying, orthodox medical treatments.


List of related clinical trials on Balneotherapy:

  1. Routh HB, Bhowmik KR, Parish LC, Witkowski JA. Balneology, mineral water, and spas in historical perspective. Clin Dermatol. 1996; 14: 551–554.
  2. Matz H, Orion E, Wolf R. Balneotherapy in dermatology. Dermatol Ther. 2003; 16: 132–140. [PubMed]
  3. O’Hare JP, Heywood A, Summerhayes C, Lunn G, Evans JM, Walters G, Corrall RJ, Dieppe PA. Observations on the effect of immersion in bath spa water. BMJ. 1985; 291: 1747–1751. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  4. Adler E. Some clinical experience with the springs at Zohar on the shore of the Dead sea. Isr J Med Sci. 1961; 20: 304–308. [PubMed]
  5. Smith JB, Knowlton RP, Agarwal SS. Human lymphocyte responses are enhanced by culture at 40°C. J Immunol. 1978; 121: 691–694. [PubMed]
  6. Inoue T, Inoue S, Kubota K. Bactericidal activity of manganese and iodide ions against Staphylococcus aureus: a possible treatment for acute atopic dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol. 1999: 79: 360–362. [PubMed]
  7. Svejgaard E. The role of microorganisms in atopic dermatitis. Semin Dermatol. 1990; 9: 255–261. [PubMed]
  8. Kubota K, Machida I, Tamura K, Take H, Kurabayashi H, Akiba T, Tamura J. Treatment of refractory cases of atopic dermatitis with acidic hot spring. Acta Derm Venereol. (Stockh) 1997; 77: 452–454. [PubMed]
  9. Shani J, Seidl V, Hristakieva E, Stanimirovic A, Burdo A, Harari M. Indications, contraindications and possible side-effects of climatotherapy at the Dead sea. Int J Dermatol. 1997; 36: 481–492. [PubMed]
  10. Giryes H, Friger M, Sarov B. Treatment of atopic dermatitis in the Dead sea area: biology and therapy of inflammatory skin diseases. Presented at: International Symposium at the Dead Sea; November 2–6, 1997; Dead Sea, Isreal.
  11. Halvey S, Giryes H, Friger M, Sukenik S. Dead sea bath salt for the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris: a double-blind controlled study. J Eur Acad Dermatol. 1997; 9: 237–242.
  12. Leaute-labreze C, Saillour F, Chene G, Cazenave C, Luxey-Bellocq ML, Sanciaume C, Toussaint JF, Taieb A. Saline spa water or combined water and UV-B for psoriasis vs conventional UV-B. Arch Dermatol. 2001; 137: 1035–1039. [PubMed]
  13. Hjorth N. Traditional topical treatment of acne. Acta Derm Venereol. (Stockh) 1980; 89: 53–55. [PubMed]
  14. Schempp CM, Dittmar HC, Hummler D. Magnesium ions inhibit the antigen-presenting function of human epidermal Langerhans cells in vivo and in vitro. Involvement of ATPase, HLA-DR, B7 molecules, and cytokines. J Invest Dermatol. 2000: 115: 680–686. [PubMed]
  15. Hartmann BR, Bassenge E, Pittler M. Effect of carbon dioxide-enriched water and fresh water on the cutancous microcirculation and oxygen tension in the skin of the foot. Angiology, 1997; 48: 337–343. [PubMed]
  16. Danesino V. Balneotherapy with arsenical-ferruginous water in chronic cervico-vaginitis. A case-control study. Minerva Ginecol. 2001; 53: 63–69 (Article in Italian) [PubMed]
  17. Dupuy P, Casse M, Andre F, Dhivert-Donnadieu H, Pinton J, Hernandez-Pion C. Low-salt water reduces intestinal permeability in atopic patients. Dermatology 1999; 198: 153–155. [PubMed]
  18. Pinton J, Friden H, Kettaneh-Wold N, Wold S. Clinical and biological effects of balneotherapy with selenium-rich spa water in patients with psoriasis vulgaris. Br J Dermatol. 1995; 133: 344–347. [PubMed]
  19. Sukenik S, Buskila D, Neumann L, Kleiner-Baumgarten A, Zimlichman RS, Horowitz J. Sulfur bath and mud pack treatment for rheumatoid arthritis at the Dead sea area. Ann Rheum Dis. 1990; 49: 99–102. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  20. Elkayam O, Wigler I, Tishler M. Effect of spa therapy in Tiberias on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol. 1991; 18: 1799–1803. [PubMed]
  21. Sukenik S, Neumann L, Flusser D. Balneotherapy for rheumatoid arthritis at the Dead sea. Isr J Med Sci. 1995; 31: 210–214. [PubMed]
  22. Kolarz G. Critical approach to spa treatment in rheumatic diseases. Rheumatol Eur. 1995; 24: 144–146.
  23. Franke A, Reiner L, Pratzel HG, Franke T, Resch KL. Longterm efficacy of radon spa therapy in rheumatoid arthritis—a randomized, sham-controlled study and follow-up. Rheumatology. 2000; 39: 894–902. [PubMed]
  24. Tubergen A, Landewe R, Heijde D, Hidding A, Wolter N, Asscher M, Falkenbach A, Ekkehard G, Goei The H, Linden S. Combined spa-exercise therapy is effective in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Care Res. 2001: 45: 430–438. [PubMed]
  25. Tishler M, Brostovski Y, Yaron M. Effects of spa therapy in Tiberias on patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Clin Rheumatol. 1995; 14: 21–25. [PubMed]
  26. Tubergen A, Boonen A, Landewe R, Rutten-Van Molken M, Heijde D, Hidding A, Linden S. Cost effectiveness of combined spa-exercise therapy in ankylosing spondylitis: a randomized controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2002; 47: 459–467. [PubMed]
  27. Buskila D, Abu-Shakra M, Neumann L, Odes L, Shneider E, Flusser D, Sukenik S. Balneotherapy for fibromyalgia at the Dead sea. Rheumatol Int. 2001; 20: 105–108. [PubMed]
  28. Nguyen M, Revel M, Dougados M. Prolonged effects of 3 week therapy in a spa resort on lumbar spine, knee and hip osteoarthritis: follow-up after 6 months: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Rheumatol. 1997; 36: 77–81. [PubMed]
  29. Kovacs I, Bender T. The therapeutic effects of Cserkeszolo thermal water in osteoarthritis of the knee: a double blind, controlled, follow-up study. Rheumatol Int. 2002; 21: 281–221. [PubMed]
  30. Green J, Mckenna F, Redfern EJ, Chamberlain MA. Home exercises are as effective as outpatient hydrotherapy for osteoarthritis of the hip. Br J Rheumatol. 1993; 32: 812–815. [PubMed]
  31. Wigler I, Elkayam O, Paran D. Spa therapy for gonarthrosis: a prospective study. Rheumatol Int. 1995; 15: 65–68. [PubMed]
  32. Guillemin F, Constant F, Collin JF, Boulange M. Short and long-term effect of spa therapy in chronic low-back pain. Br J Rheumatol. 1994; 33: 148–151. [PubMed]
  33. Constant F, Collin JF, Guillemin F, Boulange M. Effectiveness of spa therapy in chronic low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Rheumatol. 1995; 22: 1315–1320. [PubMed]
  34. Konard K, Tatrai T, Hunka A. Controlled trial of balneotherapy in treatment of low back pain. Ann Rheum Dis. 1992; 51: 820–822. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  35. Strauss-Blasche G, Ekmekcioglu C, Leibetseder V, Melchart H, Marktl W. Seasonal variation in effect of spa therapy on chronic pain. Chronobiol Int. 2002; 19: 483–495. [PubMed]
  36. Becker BE. The biologic aspects of hydrotherapy. J Back Musculoskeletal Rehabil. 1994; 4: 255–264.
  37. (37) Golland A. Basic hydrotherapy. Physiotherapy. 1981; 67: 258–262. [PubMed]
  38. (38) Ohtsuka Y, Yabunaka N, Fujisawa H, Watanabe I, Agishi Y. Effect of thermal stress on glutathione metabolism in human erythrocytes. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1994; 68: 87–91. [PubMed]
  39. (39) Shirakura T, Kubota K. Balneotherapy in hematology and immunology. Jpn J Biometeor. 1992; 29: 15–23. (Article in Japanese).
  40. Kurabayashi H, Kubota K, Tamura J, Shirakura T. A glass of water at midnight for possible prevention of cerebral infarction. Stroke. 1991; 22: 1326–1327. [PubMed]
  41. Muruganandam A, Drouillard C, Thibert RJ, Cheung RM-C, Draisey TF, Mutus B. Glutathione metabolic enzyme activities in diabetic platelets as a function of glycemic control. Thromb Res. 1992; 67: 385–397. [PubMed]
  42. Buczynski A, Wachowicz B, Kedziora-Kornatowska K, Tkaczewski W, Kedziora J. Changes in antioxidant enzyme activities, aggregability and malonyldialdehyde concentration in blood platelets from patients with coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis. 1993; 100: 223–228. [PubMed]
  43. Ohtsuka Y, Yabunaka N, Watanabe I, Noro H, Agishi Y. Balneotherapy and platelet glutathione metabolism in type II diabetic patients. Int J Biometerol. 1996; 39: 156–159. [PubMed]
  44. Ohtsuka Y, Yabunaka N, Watanabe I. Noro H, Tujisawa H, Agishi Y. Thermal stress and diabetic complications. Int J Biometeorol. 1995; 38: 57–59. [PubMed]
  45. Take H, Kubota K, Tamura K, Kurabayashi H, Shirakura T, Miyawaki S, Kobayashi I. Activation of circulating platelets by hyperthermal stress. Eur J Med Res. 1996; 1: 562–564. [PubMed]
  46. Nomura E, Kohriyama T, Yamaguchi S, Kajikawa H, Nakamura S. Significance of the coagulation and fibrinolytic parameters as predictors for carotid atherosclerosis. Rinsho Shinkeigaku [Clinical Neurology] 1996; 36: 741–745. (Article in Japanese) [PubMed]
  47. Tamura K, Kubota K, Kurabayashi H, Shirakura T. Effects of hyperthermal stress on the fibrinolytic system. Int J Hyperthermia. 1996; 12: 31–36. [PubMed]
  48. Ay A, Yurtkuran M. Evaluation of hormonal response and ultrasonic changes in the heel bone by aquatic exercise in sedentary postmenopausal women. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2003; 82: 942–949. [PubMed]
  49. Strauss-Blasche G, Ekmekeioglu C, Leibetseder V, Marktl W. Seasonal variation of lipid-lowering effects of complex spa therapy. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2003; 10: 78–84. [PubMed]
  50. Kuczera M, Kokot F. The influence of spa therapy on the endocrine system. II. Erythropoietin. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 1996; 95: 21–28. (Article in Polish) [PubMed]
  51. Kuczera M, Kokot F. Effects of spa therapy on the endocrine system. I. Stress reaction hormones. Pol. Arch Med Wewn. 1996; 95: 11–20. (Article in Polish) [PubMed]
  52. Leibetseder V, Strauss-Blasche G, Holzer F, Marktl W, Ekmekeioglu C. Improving homocysteine levels through balneotherapy: effects of sulphur baths. Clin Chim Acta. 2004: 343: 105–111. [PubMed]
  53. Ozkan Y, Ozkan B, Simsek B. Plasma total homocysteine and cysteine levels as cardiovascular risk factors in coronary heart disease. Int J Cardiol. 2002; 82: 269–277. [PubMed]
  54. Okada M, Hasebe N, Aizawa Y, Izawa K, Kawabe J, Kikuchi K. Thermal treatment attenuates neointimal thickening with enhanced expression of heat-shock protein 72 and suppression of oxidative stress. Circulation. 2004; 109: 1763–1768. [PubMed]
  55. Yamashita N, Hoshida S, Taniguchi N, Kuzuya T, Hori M. Whole-body hyperthermia provides biphasic cardioprotection against ischemia/reperfusion injury in the rat. Circulation. 1998; 98: 1414–1421. [PubMed]
  56. Benjamin IJ, McMillan DR. Stress (heat shock) proteins molecular chaperones in cardiovascular biology and disease, Circ Res. 1998; 83: 117–132. [PubMed]
  57. Latchman DS. Heat shock proteins and cardiac protection. Cardiovasc Res. 2001; 51: 637–646. [PubMed]
  58. Kamioka Y, Okada S, Mutoh Y, Yazaki T. Effectiveness of comprehensive education combining hot spa bathing and lifestyle exercise education. J Jpn Assoc Phys Med Balneol Climatol. 2003; 66: 239–248 (Article in Japanese)
  59. Kamioka H, Nakamura Y, Yazaki T, Uebaba K, Mutoh Y, Okada S, Takahashi M. Effectiveness of comprehensive hot spa bathing and lifestyle education in middle-aged and elderly women: randomized controlled trial of three- and six month interventions. J Jpn Assoc Phys Med Balneol Climatol. 2004; 67: 202–214.
  60. Harrington L, Affleck G, Urrows S, Tennen H, Higgins P, Zautra A, Hoffman S. Temporal covariation of soluble interleukin-2 receptor levels, daily stress, and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 1993; 36: 199–203. [PubMed]
  61. Halvey S, Sukenik S. Different modalities of spa therapy for skin diseases at the Dead sea area. Arch Dermatol. 1998; 134: 1416–1420. [PubMed]
  62. Turner B, Pennefather J, Edmonds C. Cardiovascular effects of hot water immersion (suicide soup). Med J Aust. 1980; 2: 39–40. [PubMed]