The effects of balneotherapy on human immune gunction: should baths and mud applications have a role during Covid-19 pandemic?

1 Maccarone M.C., 1 Magro G., 2 Solimene U., 1,3 Masiero S.

1 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation School, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
1 World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy, Milan, Italy
1 Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Neuroscience, University of Padova, Padova, Italy


Recent evidences show that balneotherapy applications can affect the immune system, which has an important role in thecontainment of Covid-19 infection outcomes. It is interesting to consider if balneotherapy, through medical water bathsand mud applications can be a suitable treatment in order to influence human immunity in people who have not acquiredthe infection and in subjects discharged from hospital after Covid-19 recovery. In particular, balneotherapy seems toimprove the immune response efficacy, with an effect mediated by mental stress reduction and a direct action, consistingin the modulation of the abnormal inflammation and the enhancement of the immune system, through changes in bothcell-mediated and humoral immunity. The main changes demonstrated on human immunity, after balneotherapy, arelinked to an increase in the levels and the activity of cells involved in the immune response such as neutrophils andmonocytes and to a reduction of the pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by a dysregulated inflammation. Even iffurther in vitro researches and clinical trials on this topic should be conducted, at present Spa centres, if hygienicallycontrolled according to WHO and national recommendations, may be considered safe places to attend and useful settingsto counteract the outcomes of residual unbalanced immunity after Covid-19 infection.

Keywords: spa therapy; balneotherapy; hydrotherapy; mud therapy; immune system; immunity; Covid-19; cell-mediated immunity; humoral immunity; immunomodulation; rehabilitation; inflammation; spa environment; health.

For citation: Maccarone M. C., Magro G., Solimene U., Masiero S. The effects of balneotherapy on human immune function: should baths and mud applications have a role during Covid-19 pandemic? Bulletin of rehabilitation medicine. 2020; 97 (3): 22-24.


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