It’s been all but forgotten in North America these days, but balneotherapy is an ancient tradition used by millions throughout history, and it looks like it may have scientific evidence to add to its credibility. Balneotherapy is the ancient technique of healing through bathing in water, usually enriched with minerals.
Results from a new trial add evidence to the hypothesis that balneotherapy can help relieve lower back pain. Researchers at the Corum State Hospital in Turkey noted that balneotherapy has been increasingly used in the region for treatment of chronic lower back pain. However, there hasn’t been much clinical evidence showing the effectiveness of this treatment. That prompted the researchers to design a study to evaluate the effects of balneotherapy in people suffering from chronic lower back pain.
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A group of 60 patients with lumbar spondylosis (a condition where bony overgrowths cause pain in the lower back) were included in the study, and were divided into two groups. For three weeks, Group 1 patients received both balneotherapy and physiotherapy, while Group 2 patients received only physiotherapy. The researchers then measured pain symptoms, functional disability, and mobility in the patients, before and after the treatment.
At the end of the therapy, all clinical parameters significantly improved in both of the groups. But, both mobility and pain relief were clearly superior in Group 1, in comparison to Group 2, after the therapy sessions. The research team concluded that, besides conventional physiotherapy, balneotherapy may be effective in the treatment of patients with chronic lower back pain.
Balneotherapy is a general term that refers to any treatment you might get involving water. It can mean steam baths, Jacuzzi baths, wet saunas, physiotherapy in a pool, and therapy with water jets. Balneotherapy also involves using water therapeutically at different temperatures. Hot or cold water might be administered, with some treatments involving switching back and forth between the two extremes.
Humans have always used water to heal the body—starting with natural hot springs. Luckily, there are many artificially created hot springs (like a whirlpool) that can now be accessed indoors at a spa facility. Follow this health advice, and book an appointment at your local spa the next time you feel any pain or stiffness in your back.
For more on the health benefits of balneotherapy, read the article, Want to Treat That Disease? Take a Bath!
Related Article: Lower Back Pain on the Left Side
Sources for Today’s Articles:
This Traditional Method Can Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
Dogan, M., et al., “Additional therapeutic effect of balneotherapy in lower back pain,” South Med J. August 2011; 104(8): 574-8.