Baths in Mineral-Medicinal Water Can Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients, Trial Suggests

Baths in Mineral-Medicinal Water Can Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients, Trial Suggests

Simple baths in the mineral-medicinal water of a natural spring can help reduce the impact of fibromyalgia’s symptoms, results from a randomized clinical trial show.

The results were reported in the study, “Efficacy of baths with mineral-medicinal water in patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized clinical trial,” published in the International Journal of Biometeorology.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, painful disease that can severely affect patients’ quality of life. It causes muscular pain and a broad range of other symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression, among others.

Little is still known about what causes the disease and what cellular and molecular mechanisms are involved. There is no available target treatment and patients must manage their symptoms with  generalized therapies, which often fail.

This has led researchers on a quest to find alternative treatments that might help improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Spanish researchers decided to explore the therapeutic potential of mineral-medicinal water to manage pain symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.

The study recruited 50 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia at a single health center, who were randomized to undergo or not undergo a treatment protocol in the thermal pool of As Burgas (in Ourense, Spain) in addition to the treatment regimen prescribed by their clinical practitioners.

The additional treatment protocol consisted of 30-minute baths, for a total of 14 baths a month, in bicarbonated sodium water of medium mineralization, alkaline, lithic, fluorinated, silicated, with a temperature of 38 °C (100°F).

Assessment of patients’ quality of life through the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) revealed significant improvements after completion of the mineral-medicinal water baths treatment compared with data from the beginning of the study. This positive effect continued for up to to three months after the one-month therapy had been completed.

Long-term follow-up of the patients showed that the beneficial effects of the water therapy eventually decreased, with patients showing FIQ scores at 11 months after receiving the baths similar to those in the beginning of the study.

Pain symptoms showed to be effectively reduced upon one month of mineral-medicinal water baths.

“The impact caused by fibromyalgia has been improved in this study by an intervention of 14 half-hour baths with mineral-medicinal water in patients diagnosed with the illness, and the improvement has lasted significantly for [up to] eight months,” researchers said.

These findings add further evidence that such alternative treatment protocol can provide significant relief of fibromyalgia’s overall impact. “Balneotherapy deserves to be currently considered as another therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia,” researchers stated.