Balneotherapy: benefits for osteoarthritis?
Written by: Loris Vitry (holistic coach)
Validated by: Cathy Maillot (Osteopath)
Caution: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please speak to your doctor. Even if the articles on this site are based on scientific studies, they do not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that can result from various factors.
Among them are: genetic causes, overweight, trauma, overworked joints, but especially chronic stress.
The latter is very often considered as the trigger, through the impact it can have on physiological factors.
Millions of people in France and around the world suffer from osteoarthritis.
This disease is moreover more frequent during old age.
Several treatments are effective against this disease, including balneotherapy.
What is osteoarthritis?
What is balneotherapy?
How do you apply it?
What are the benefits?
Here is a complete guide on the subject for you.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints.
It occurs when there is a loss of cartilage in the joints.
Suddenly, to fill this gap, the bone will try to remedy the loss.
To do this, it will gain volume.
Except that instead of fixing the problem, it will only produce the opposite effect by making it even worse.
This could cause a deformation of the bone and trigger joint inflammation, hence the inconstancy of the joints.
Specialists were of the opinion that osteoarthritis was the result of straining the cartilage.
However, today we are leaning towards a disease of the entire joint which is moreover the most common and affects both men and women.
This degradation of the cartilage located at the bone endings and constituting the joint varies from person to person.
In some cases it can be done gradually over time while in others there are periods of increase that are referred to as flare-ups.
On the other hand, there is another kind of cartilage degradation that occurs more quickly extending over a period of up to two years.
This form of degradation affects: the spine, knees, hips and even fingers.
We speak in this case of rapid destructive osteoarthritis.
What is balneotherapy and how is it applied?
Balneotherapy literally means “bath care”.
It is an ancient and widely used treatment that harnesses the virtues of water to heal ailments and numbness in the joints.
It consists of staying for a specific period of time in a swimming pool full of mineral water, in the event that you are not allergic to chlorine.
However, some precautions should still be taken.
Once in the bath, your weight will be halved by the action of the water so you will not feel the same way the burden of osteoarthritis.
It is a principle that balneotherapy uses, because its objective is to promote the reduction of the pressures exerted on the joints.
In addition, the water temperature must be between 31 and 34 degrees Celsius.
This leads to muscle relaxation since it is a temperature that acts on joint inflammation.
The massage performed by touching the water with the skin leads to relaxation and relief in the brain or mind.
The application of balneotherapy is done in different ways.
Currently, there are two that are quite recommended.
These are the bath as mentioned previously and hydro massage with jets.
Regarding the latter method, it is a question of using the devices in a targeted manner.
The jets will be directed at separate parts of your body to ease tension.
Channel pressure can be adjusted according to the desired effect.
Certain types of water can be used during application especially soft water.
Spring water too, although it is not credited by the Ministry of Health as having virtues, and sea water when it comes to underwater showers.
It is also possible to use tap water.
What are the benefits of balneotherapy on osteoarthritis?
The virtues attributed to balneotherapy on osteoarthritis are numerous.
It promotes physical and psychological relaxation.
Indeed when the body is immersed in water, gravity exerts an action on the latter.
This facilitates relaxation and the heat emanating from the water promotes blood circulation.
This plays a major role in cell regeneration and therefore in muscle repair.
This helps eliminate muscle strictures, relieve osteoarthritis and alleviate the effects of stiff legs.
By practicing balneotherapy you also gain muscle amplitude and improve your quality of life.
In addition, the action of water improves movements by making the joints react by reducing the weight of the body.
It allows a gradual recovery.
Some important tips and precautions
Osteoarthritis does not necessarily manifest itself in pain; and the evil is not always recurrent.
There may be relatively large phases during which the sick individual will not experience any pain.
In addition, it is possible to no longer have pain.
Indeed, the pain caused by osteoarthritis can vary from one person to another.
Which means that once you have pain it doesn’t automatically mean that the osteoarthritis is getting worse.
The fact that the water can reach a temperature of up to 34 degrees Celsius implies certain precautions.
Thus, balneotherapy is a contraindication for certain diseases.
This is for example the case for people suffering from cardiovascular problems or hypertension, insofar as it is not advisable to use heat.
In addition, there are three types of osteoarthritis which are triggered by the following mechanisms: mechanical stress, obesity and aging.
Currently specialists agree on the fact that there is a genetic vulnerability to osteoarthritis.
Vulnerability that would have a link with the mechanisms listed above.
In short, osteoarthritis is a disease causing the degradation of your cartilage.
This condition can be combated nowadays thanks to several treatments, the most effective of which is balneotherapy.
This is a therapy that represents all of the cures that are dispensed with fresh water in baths.
It includes various techniques including a whirlpool pool in which you immerse yourself completely and hydro massage which works by the use of water jets.
The benefits of this practice make it possible to fight against stress, reduce joint pain while facilitating movements thanks to the feeling of total lightness and the dilation of the pores of the epidermis.
All this to eliminate toxins, which will promote blood circulation.
However, some precautions should be taken before practicing this treatment as soon as you suffer from certain health concerns that can cause complications during contact with water.