The Spanish publication “Diario Médico” recently published an article that questioned the link between Health Tourism and Spa Treatments.
On the one hand, it points out that Spanish health spas want their treatments to be included as one of the therapies routinely offered by the Spanish national health system. However, it appears that this aspiration will be difficult to achieve owing to the fact that current scientific evidence suggests that spa treatment simply forms part of so-called “healthy habits”.
According to experts, from a tourism point of view it is currently difficult for thermal medicine to positively establish itself properly. Consequently, the president of the Spanish Society of Medical Hydrology, Juan Carlos San José, has requested that more doctors be present at Health Spa and that there be a review of the Spa Treatments that can be carried out.
On the other hand, the article highlights the fact that many of the spas in Spain already participate in a programme called “Termalismo Saludable” (Thermal Healthy), a national programme linked to ageing and not complementary therapies. Whilst it is true that the European Cross-border Health Directive does not mention hydrotherapy treatments, certain entities are working towards getting this type of treatment scientifically recognised in order for it to be confidently prescribed for patients with chronic illnesses.
Hydrotherapy is generally used for conditions related to musculoskeletal system, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic lumbago and soft tissue infections. Furthermore, spa treatments are increasingly prescribed for respiratory ailments, cardiovascular disorders, skin conditions and problems linked to stress and ageing.
Looking after health is very important, therefore, we should join forces to ensure that thermal medicine is able to acquire quality certification and that protocols for each type of treatment be defined. This would not only mean the addition of yet another worthy segment to Health Tourism but it would also finally be backed up by scientific evidence.