Rheumatology International

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 220–224 | Cite as

Hydrotherapy, balneotherapy, and spa treatment in pain management

  • Tamás BenderEmail author
  • Zeki Karagülle
  • Géza P. Bálint
  • Christoph Gutenbrunner
  • Péter V. Bálint
  • Shaul Sukenik
Original Article


The use of water for medical treatment is probably as old as mankind. Until the middle of the last century, spa treatment, including hydrotherapy and balneotherapy, remained popular but went into decline especially in the Anglo-Saxon world with the development of effective analgesics. However, no analgesic, regardless of its potency, is capable of eliminating pain, and reports of life-threatening adverse reactions to the use of these drugs led to renewed interest in spa therapy. Because of methodologic difficulties and lack of research funding, the effects of ‘water treatments’ in the relief of pain have rarely been subjected to rigorous assessment by randomised, controlled trials. It is our opinion that the three therapeutic modalities must be considered separately, and this was done in the present paper. In addition, we review the research on the mechanism of action and cost effectiveness of such treatments and examine what research might be useful in the future.


Balneotherapy Hydrotherapy Water treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamás Bender
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zeki Karagülle
    • 2
  • Géza P. Bálint
    • 3
  • Christoph Gutenbrunner
    • 4
  • Péter V. Bálint
    • 3
  • Shaul Sukenik
    • 5
  1. 1.Polyclinic of Brother of St. John of God HospitalsBudapestHungary 1025
  2. 2.Department of Medical Ecology and Hydroclimatology, Medical FacultyIstanbul UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.National Institute of Rheumatology and PhysiotherapyBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Institute for Balneology and Medical Climatology in the Clinic for Physical Medicine and RehabilitationHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  5. 5.Soroka University Hospital, Faculty of Health SciencesBen Gurion UniversityBeer ShevaIsrael

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