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  Hydrotherapy treatment

What is hydrotherapy?

Recognised today as an official medical practice, hydrotherapy, or water cures, is an environmental medicine that helps prevent and treat certain chronic illnesses. From rheumatism to respiratory ailments, hydrotherapy procures long-lasting benefits.

There are many cures to choose from depending on the illness or ailment: baths in a bathtub or a pool, showers that stimulate or relax, pharyngeal showers, inhaling of thermal vapours, mud baths or wraps… The “cure” can be associated with wellness and fitness activities such as massages, relaxation exercises, gymnastics, stretching, etc. Hydro-therapy spas are very popular and can be found all over the world.

France, for instance, has over 100, mostly situated in its mountainous regions. Check with your local travel agent for a thermal spa nearest you. The benefits of water cures are historically well-known. Their specific qualities depend on the mineral and physical-chemical content of each water (bicarbonates, sulphates and chlorides). Water cures last on average 21 days but 6-12 day cures are also available. A doctor examines the patient and then prescribes a cure to treat a specific illness.

Some hydro-therapy spas emphasise the medical aspect of their cures, while others focus more on pleasure. Today, many of these spas offer programmes to get in shape, treat bad backs, excessive weight, stress, tobacco addictions and post-natal blues or other symptoms.

Some practical advice

Thermal cures must be planned in advance in order to reap the full benefits. This practical advice will help you take full advantage of your stay in a Hydro-therapy spa: 

  • Consult with your family doctor: He/she will recommend a cure adapted to your needs and expectations. 
  • Remember that a water cure is a medical act. Check with your home country’s health system and your personal health insurance and mutual health insurance companies about reimbursement policies. Once you verify this information, be sure your doctor helps you fill out all the necessary administrative forms. 
  • Contact your hydrotherapy spa as early as possible in the season and reserve your particular cure. Also, reserve your hotel room or short-term rental or room in a private home early on. 
  • Take along non-slip plastic sandals, a shower cap and several bathing suits, as well as a complete set of workout clothes. 
  • As soon as you arrive, make an appointment to see the on-site medical doctor. After examining you, he/she will prescribe the treatments you should follow during your stay. 
  • If you have any problems whilst travelling, don’t wait until you get home to consult a doctor. Allianz Global Assistance’s emergency medical team is available to discuss any questions or doubts you may have about your health. We can provide useful advice and organize a consultation wherever you are.

Who can do it?

Thermal water cures are often recommended for patients suffering from rheumatism and locomotor-related illnesses (osteoarthritis, rheumatism, etc.), skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis, cardio-vascular diseases, tobacco dependency, endocrine illnesses (diabetes), obesity and respiratory diseases originally linked to allergies (rhinitis, recurring ear infections, asthma, bronchitis…).

Each spa develops its own specialities according to the water composition, local climate, altitude and the particular skills of the healthcare teams.

Hydrotherapy is now a modern medical practice that benefits from the latest technological advances in order to use mineral waters as effective therapeutic treatments for children and adults.

Nevertheless, a few contra indications to thermal cures exist regarding some specific illnesses. Generally speaking, doctors strictly advise against most cures if the patient suffers from extreme heart, respiratory, cerebral or venous deficiency, progressive infections or cancer.

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