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Water Therapy Review for chronic pain

From The C.A.M Report

 This review of balneotherapy comes from the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS), in Athens, Greece.

Balneotherapy (from Latin: balneum, "bath") is the treatment of disease by bathing. It may involve hot or cold water, massage through moving water, relaxation, or stimulation.

Now, the details.

    * 29 studies of 1720 patients were evaluated.
    * 22 studies in rheumatological diseases
          o 8 osteoarthritis
          o 6 fibromyalgia
          o 4 ankylosing spondylitis
          o 4 rheumatoid arthritis
    * 3 studies of chronic low back pain
    * 3 studies focused on psoriasis
    * 1 study on Parkinson's disease

And, the results.

    * Balneotherapy was associated with significantly greater pain improvement in rheumatological diseases and chronic low back pain vs the control group (17 of 25 studies).
    * There was improvement with balneotherapy in the remaining studies, but the response was not significantly better than in the control groups.
    * This beneficial effect lasted 10 days to 1 year -- most often, 3 months.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded the available studies suggest that balneotherapy is effective treatment for several rheumatological disease. However, "existing research is not sufficiently strong to draw firm conclusions."

A 2007 Cochrane review of balneotherapy to treat rheumatological diseases reported…

    * Radon-carbon dioxin baths compared with carbon dioxin baths may not lead to a short-term difference in pain, only possibly at 6 months.
    * Tap water baths may not lead to any difference in pain compared to land exercises or relaxation.
    * Mineral baths may lead to a significant difference in pain at 8 weeks compared with taking cyclosporine (Sandimmune), but might also lead to side effects.
          o Cyclosporine is a potent immunosuppressive agent.
    * Sulfur baths or Dead Sea baths may not lead to any overall benefit compared to no treatment.
    * Insufficient data support mineral baths vs  cyclosporine.

Overall, the Cochrane review concluded there were "not enough data to tell whether physical disability would improve with various forms of balneotherapy."