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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 638050, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/638050
Review Article

Spa Treatment (Balneotherapy) for Fibromyalgia—A Qualitative-Narrative Review and a Historical Perspective

1Institute of Rheumatology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, 6 Weizman Street, 64239 Tel Aviv, Israel
2Department of Internal Medicine I, Klinikum Saarbrücken, 66119 Saarbrücken, Germany
3Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Technische Universität München, 81675 München, Germany
4Ben Gurion University, Department of Medicine H, Soroka Medical Center and Faculty of Health Sciences, 84101 Beer Sheva, Israel

Received 29 April 2013; Revised 8 July 2013; Accepted 12 July 2013

Academic Editor: Romy Lauche

Copyright © 2013 Jacob N. Ablin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aim. To perform a narrative review of spa therapy for management of the fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), evaluating this traditional time-honored form of therapy in a historical perspective. Methods. Medline was searched using the terms “Spa therapy,” “Balneotherapy,” and “Fibromyalgia” between 1990 (year of ACR fibromyalgia criteria publication) and April 2013. The Cochrane database was also searched. Publications relating to the implementation of spa therapy and related practices over the centuries were identified through references, searched, and reviewed. Results. Reports of balneotherapy were described from diverse locations throughout Europe and Asia, and various forms of water-related therapy have been incorporated for many musculoskeletal indications. In the management of FMS, spa therapy has generally been shown to be well accepted and moderately effective for symptom reduction. Conclusion. While achieving high-quality evidence-based conclusions is difficult for complex natural therapies such as spa therapy, the existing evidence indicates a positive effect in management of FMS. In view of the long history of this modality in the management of rheumatic pain as well as the inherent difficulties related to pharmacological treatment, the role of spa therapy should currently be recognized as part of a therapeutic program for FMS.