A multidisciplinary approach to study the effects of balneotherapy and mud-bath therapy treatments on fibromyalgia

Authors: Bazzichi L (1) , Da Valle Y , Rossi A , Giacomelli C , Sernissi F , Giannaccini G , Betti L , Ciregia F , Giusti L , Scarpellini P , Dell'Osso L , Marazziti D , Bombardieri S , Lucacchini A
(1) Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Rheumatology Division, University of Pisa
Source: Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2013 Nov-Dec;31(6 Suppl 79):S111-20
DOI: Not specified Publication date: 2013 Nov E-Publication date: Dec. 18, 2013 Availability: abstract Copyright: © Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Language: English Countries: Not specified Location: Not specified Correspondence address: l.bazzichi@gmail.com


Article abstract


To study the effects of both balneotherapy and mud-bath therapy treatments in patients affected by primary fibromyalgia (FM) using rheumatological, psychiatric, biochemical and proteomic approaches.


Forty-one FM patients (39 females, 2 males), who fulfilled the American College of Rheumatology criteria received a 2-week thermal therapy programme consisting of therapy once daily for 6 days/week. Twenty-one patients received mud-bath treatment, while the other twenty balneotherapy. Pain, symptoms, and quality of life were assessed. Oxytocin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), ATP and serotonin transporter levels during therapy were assayed. Comparative whole saliva (WS) proteomic analysis was performed using a combination of two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) and mass spectrometry techniques.


We observed a reduction in pain, FIQ values and improvement of SF36 in both groups of patients treated with mud-bath or balneotherapy. The improvement of the outcome measures occurred with different timing and duration in the two spa treatments. A significant decrease in BDNF concentrations was observed either after balneotherapy or mud-bath therapy when assayed after twelve weeks, while no significant change in oxytocin levels, ATP levels and serotonin transporter were detected. Significant differences were observed for phosphoglycerate mutase1 (PGAM1) and zinc alpha-2-glycoprotein 1 (AZGP1) protein expression.


Our results showed that the thermal treatment might have a beneficial effect on the specific symptoms of the disease. In particular, while balneotherapy gives results that in most patients occur after the end of the treatment but which are no longer noticeable after 3 months, the mud-bath treatment gives longer lasting results.

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