Spa Treatment Program for Fibromyalgia

Combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education improves symptoms and quality of life.

By Zijlstra TR, van de Laar MA, Bernelot Moens HJ, Taal E, Zakraoui L, Rasker JJ. from the Department of Rheumatology, Medisch Spectrum Twente Hospital, Enschede, The Netherlands



To study the effect of a combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education in people with fibromyalgia.



Patients with fibromyalgia, selected from a rheumatology out-patient department and from members of the Dutch fibromyalgia patient association, were pre-randomized to receive either 2(1/2) weeks of treatment in a Tunisian spa resort, including thalassotherapy, supervised exercise and group education (active treatment) or treatment as usual (control treatment).

Primary outcome measure was health-related quality of life, measured with the RAND-36 questionnaire.

Secondary measures included the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, the McGill Pain Questionnaire, the Beck Depression Inventory, tender point score and a 6-min treadmill walk test.



Fifty-eight participants receiving the active treatment reported significant improvement on RAND-36 physical and mental component summary scales.

For physical health, differences from the 76 controls were statistically significant after 3 months, but not after 6 and 12 months.

A similar pattern of temporary improvement was seen in the self-reported secondary measures.

Tender point scores and treadmill walk tests improved more after active treatment, but did not reach significant between-group differences, except for walk tests after 12 months.



A combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education may temporarily improve fibromyalgia symptoms and health-related quality of life.


References: PMID: 15695301