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What's new in Balneology?

The new developments and events in Balneology and Medical Hydrology and Climatology since the 37th ISMH Congress we held in Paris in 2010 may be summarized as follows;

1. Growing number of published studies (in humans and experimental animals) on the mechanisms of action of balneological agents and interventions; in

recent years, there is an increase in the number of published articles of the studies carried out by various disciplines and centers evaluating the mechanisms of action of balneological agents and treatments. Most of these publications are conducted in cell cultures and experimental animals and shed more light on the specific biological effects of various balneological agents (in particular hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide).

2. Recognition of Medical Balneology as a medical specialty in Europe:

Medical Balneology and Hydro-climatology is either a main or a subspecialty in many European countries. However, it was not represented within the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) since very recently. At the Board Meeting of UEMS Section of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine held in Istanbul in 5 March 2011, UEMS Balneology Permanent Working Group was established in accordance with the decision approved by the board. This group held its first meeting later in September 9th 2011 in Belgrade and has planned a series of activities including to conduct a survey on current status of balneology in European countries, to set-up an Evidence Based Database in balneology to promote scientific balneology in Europe to organize balneological courses in the European countries in frame of UEMS and ISMH to plan balneological studies in Europe and to prepare educational standards and specialist training curricula in Balneology

3. Increasing international participation at the national balneology congresses and strengthening of the ties between balneological associations of various countries: In general balneology congresses that are being held at the national level by local balneological associations now having international participants and contributors with more comprehensive programs. Especially balneological associations in Hungary, Poland, France and Turkey were the pioneers of this development. In addition, Italy, Austria, Spain, Serbia, Czech and Tunisia hosted various meetings of balneology which were planned internationally participations and last two years. This is a growing trend, recent Romanian and Japanese balneology congresses are planned to have guest speakers. Here, ISMH is playing an important role. With its increasing popularity ISMH is building up firm contacts and vivid network among the balneology circumstances and associations such as FEMTEC and ESPA.

4. Increasing recognition of Balneology and Thermal Medicine within scientific medical community: Balneology and thermal medicine is gaining more recognition and acceptance in the medical circles of North European and North American countries. The interest in non-pharmacological and complementary and alternative methods in these countries is growing not only in public but in the medical communities as well. Increase in quantity and quality of scientific balneological publications in English and increase in scientific evidence accordingly are the most important driving factors here. Those old fashioned balneological centers in these countries are reopening for use and the forgotten balneological resources are being re-discovered as a result of increased attention and recognition of balneology.

5. Evaluating the effects of drinking cures (hydropinic treatments) and balneological inhalation and irrigations; Balneological publications in international scientific journals still mostly focus on the effects of balneotherapy (bathing in thermal mineral water) but in recent years, we are gladly witnessing the appearance of studies evaluating the therapeutic effects of the two other traditional balneological methods; drinking cures and inhalation and irrigations applied in Pulmonology and ENT. We still need more scientific work in this area but reviewing the recent studies carried out in these "neglected" areas is encouraging.

6. Climatotherapy and Talassotherapy upsurge: In many countries, besides medical hydrological and balneological interventions, climatotherapeutic and thalassotherapeutic methods are used depending on geographic location and natural features. In particular the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean basin, the Black Sea (Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia), Ocean coast (France, Brazil) and the North Sea and Baltic coast (Germany, Estonia) have become more prominent in thalassotherapy. In Europe, high and mid mountain climatotherapy (Oroterapi), and in Japan forest climatotherapy (Shinrin Yoku) are used as unique climatic therapy methods and new evidence is supporting their therapeutic value in certain conditions.

Karagulle MZ (1)

(1) Istanbul University. Istanbul Faculty of Medicine. Department of Medical Ecology and Hydroclimatology, Istanbul, Turkey
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Title Annotation:Opening Session: Scientific Session; texto en ingles
Author:Karagulle, M.Z.
Publication:Anales de Hidrologia Medica
Date:Dec 1, 2012
Previous Article:38th ISMH World Congress Lanjaron-Granada 2012 June 20-23 Medical Hydrology and Balneology: Environmental Aspects.
Next Article:The Research of Balneology in Hungary.

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