Spa Therapy and Quality of Life

  • G. Blasche
Reference work entry


 Spa therapy is a traditional form of treatment aiming at alleviating or preventing chronic disorders such as  rheumatoid arthritis or  osteoarthritis usually associated with an impairment of quality of life. It is based on the use of  natural remedies like thermal, mineral or sea water, mud, or certain climatic factors. These remedies are applied in regular intervals over a time span of 2–4 weeks as baths, drinking cures, packs or as out-door exposure predominantly in an inpatient setting. In addition, other treatments such as massages, exercise and behaviorally oriented methods are applied. It is thought that spa therapy improves quality of life not only by reducing disease burden but also by enhancing physical and psychological health. Disorders commonly treated with spa therapy are low back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis,  fibromyalgia,  psoriasis and hypertension. An improvement of quality of life is reported for most of these disorders for a time span of up to 9 months. Large though only moderately stable short term improvements occur for mood related variables. The most stable improvements are apparent for physical complaints and functioning. Cost effectiveness has been ascertained for some but not all disorders treated. In conclusion, spa therapy is an effective and highly esteemed treatment improving quality of life predominantly in patients with chronic pain disorders.


Sick Leave Health Care Utilization Physical Complaint Carbonate Water Health Resort 


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  • G. Blasche

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