Medical spas in Europe were the first to offer corona recovery concepts, and the current situation has given top priority to balneology and SPA medicine. At ITB Now, the world’s leading tourism trade fair during the Medical Tourism Convention, the European Spas Association gave insights into the adapted strategy in European medical spas and climatic health resorts with corona recovery concepts. The European Spas Association is confident that these efforts will benefit many patients affected by Covid19. Csilla Mezősi, Secretary-General of ESPA, started the presentation with the keywords post-corona rehabilitation, lifestyle changes, prevention and balancing of the immune system, healthy lifestyle in Europe’s health resorts and spas.
The French experience in treating post-covid patients
Claude-Eugène Bouvier, general delegate of the French association of 110 thermal establishments Cneth, presented the French program addressing post-COVID syndrome. The program’s objective, “Thermal treatment of long COVID,” is to enable patients to recover as fully as possible within the duration of the cure, i.e., three weeks, aiming to return to the level of independence before the illness. It mainly involves respiratory rehabilitation and exercises reconditioning. The program combines thermal treatments, at a rate of 4 treatments per day for 18 days, and a rehabilitation program based on the acquisition of skills that the patient can apply when he/she returns home (respiratory rehabilitation, muscular reinforcement, improvement of balance, exercise training, psychological support). It is a multidisciplinary approach at the heart of which the physiotherapist plays a central role. The crisis’s contribution is unquestionably the widening of the thermal medicine activity fields and the investment of new domains of competence linked to post-Covid patients’ care as thermal cares can bring an efficient answer to a public health problem. The main note that the most common symptoms are frequently treated in spas as a daily routine and outside the context of COVID, which legitimizes creating a specific spa offer. Here we underline that this type of Post Corona program, besides the benefits it brings to the patients, values the role of thermal medicine by integrating it more into the public health system.
Improving the immuno-system
Dr. Friedhart Raschke from Norderney (Germany) presented essential concepts about the preventive improvement of immune functions and speeding up recovery from post-covid-19 syndrome (fatigue, headache, muscle pain, sleep disturbances, depression) by application of maritime SPA, thalasso- and climatotherapy. He presented medical studies about the application of the healing power of the Seawater and marine climate. He informed the ITB audience about the effects of thalasso treatment and the integration of nutrition, Balneology Kneipp, physical activities on the seaside. Finally, very good results were shown in fatigue and burnout patients at the North Sea as the subject of the study compared to the standard rehabilitation program. Dr. Rasche carried out his research as Medical Director of the Staatsbad Norderney, where the largest and most modern Thalasso badehaus in Germany is located, and it was nominated by the ESPA Innovation Award 2019 with the special jury prize.
Rehabilitation in European medical spas
Mike Wallace, health spa and wellness expert from Budapest, presented his view on the expansive opportunities that thermal and thalasso spas can tap into in the post covid era. Lockdowns, financial insecurity, and time to think have impacted people’s mental health and outlook on life. By widening the scope from physical rehabilitation to an all-round health and prevention approach, spas can cater to this new demand. He presented good examples of treatment in European medical spas, and he listed the benefits of Health Destinations such as scenic and beautiful, green, sustainable locations; the clinical medical standards of hygiene, which make the main difference to other touristic destinations; and non-crowded accommodation plus the highly trained medical staff. The final words were about What do people want? especially if our guests consciously choose a health destination for a vacation.
“A healthy mind in a healthy body.” The European medical spas offer an important complementary option to the vaccine. Even the vaccine works better on the population’s immune system if kept at the maximum level of optimization.