The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Balneotherapy for fibromyalgia

    Researchers at the Istanbul Medical Faculty, in Turkey, studied the effects of balneotherapy alone and with physical therapies on the respiratory and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

    First, the details.

    • 56 patients with fibromyalgia were assigned to a treatment group for 3 weeks.
    • All 3 groups received the same 3 physical therapy: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, and infrared.
      • Group 1: Physical therapy + balneotherapy (PT+BT)
      • Group 2: Physical therapy only (PT)
      • Group 3: Physical therapy + hydrotherapy (PT+HT)
    • Response was assessed on the 7th day of therapy, the end of therapy, and 6 months after therapy.
    • Pain, depression, respiratory symptoms, and quality of life were monitored.

    And, the results.

    • Breathing, and lung function
      • At the end of therapy and at 6 months follow up, PT+HT was associated with significant improvements in breathing, and lung function.
      • PT group had no significant change in shortness of breath or lung function.
      • PT+BT and PT+HT achieved significant improvements at the end of therapies for shortness of breath and lung function, but only the PT+BT group had significant improvements for shortness of breath and lung function at six month after the study.
    • Depression
      • All groups achieved significant improvements in depression.
      • Scores with PT and PT+HT groups reversed at 6 months follow up.
    • Pain
      • Pain improved at the 6-month follow up in PT+HT and PT+BT groups, but not with PT alone.
    • At the end of therapy
      • PT+BT group had more significant improvements at the end of therapy.

    The bottom line?

    It’s a bit confusing.

    However, the authors concluded, “The group of PT+BT was significantly better than other groups” regarding breathing and other symptoms. And, the response lasted for 6 months.

    A review of available evidence in 2009 was less positive for balneotherapy in patients with fibromyalgia.

    1/23/11 20:47 JR

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