International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

May spa therapy be a valid opportunity to treat hand osteoarthritis? A review of clinical trials and mechanisms of action

  • Nicola Angelo Fortunati
  • Antonella Fioravanti
  • Gina Seri
  • Simone Cinelli
  • Sara TentiEmail author


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and its current treatment includes non-pharmacological and pharmacological modalities. Spa therapy represents a popular treatment for many rheumatic diseases. The aim of this review was to summarize the currently available information on clinical effects and mechanisms of action of spa therapy in OA of the hand. We conducted a search of the literature to extract articles describing randomized clinical trials (RCTs) in hand OA published in the period 1952–2015. We identified three assessable articles reporting RCTs on spa therapy in hand OA. Data from these clinical trials support a beneficial effect of spa therapy on pain, function and quality of life in hand OA. Spa therapy seems to have a role in the treatment of hand OA. However, additional RCTs are necessary to clarify the mechanisms of action and the effects of the application of thermal treatments.


Spa therapy Balneotherapy Mud-pack therapy Hand osteoarthritis Randomized controlled trials 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Authors' contribution

All authors were involved in drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content, and all authors approved the final version to be published.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Angelo Fortunati
    • 1
  • Antonella Fioravanti
    • 2
  • Gina Seri
    • 1
  • Simone Cinelli
    • 2
  • Sara Tenti
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Spa Centre of Fonteverde Natural Spa ResortSienaItaly
  2. 2.Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine, Surgery and NeuroscienceUniversity of SienaSienaItaly

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