International Journal of General Medicine (Jul 2020)

Overview of Systematic Reviews with Meta-Analysis Based on Randomized Controlled Trials of Balneotherapy and Spa Therapy from 2000 to 2019

  • Kamioka H,
  • Nobuoka S,
  • Iiyama J

Journal volume & issue
Vol. Volume 13
pp. 429 – 442


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Hiroharu Kamioka,1 Sachihiko Nobuoka,2 Junichi Iiyama3 1Faculty of Regional Environment Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Tokyo, Japan; 2Laboratory Medicine, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan; 3Department of Rehabilitation, Kumamoto Health Science University, Kumamoto, JapanCorrespondence: Hiroharu Kamioka Email [email protected]: The objectives of this review were to summarize systematic reviews with meta-analysis of balneotherapy (BT) and spa therapy (ST) based on randomized controlled trials, and to provide a perspective for future research.Methods: Eligible studies were systematic reviews based on randomized controlled trials with meta-analysis that included at least one group treated with BT or ST. We searched the following databases for articles published in English from the year 2000 to 20 November 2019: Cochrane Database Systematic Review, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Ichushi-Web.Results: Eighteen studies met all inclusion criteria. Based on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-11, among these 18 studies, 8 (44%) were about “#15 Diseases of the musculoskeletal system or connective tissue”, 5 (28%) were about “#21 Symptoms, signs or clinical findings, not elsewhere classified”, 4 (22%) were about “#11 Diseases of the circulatory system”, and 1 study (6%) was about “#8 Diseases of the nervous system”. Both BT and ST provided significant pain relief and improved quality of life in chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissues. Additionally, BT and ST with exercise under water improved physical fitness and function in patients across diseases.Conclusion: Researchers need to conduct studies on the treatment of many kinds of potential diseases using the keywords of pain relief and QoL. In addition, depending on patients’ symptoms, physical fitness, and disabilities, performing exercise under water may improve treatment effects on physical function and fitness.Keywords: balneotherapy, spa therapy, aquatic exercise, randomized controlled trials, pain, quality of life, rehabilitation