Thermalism: 5 Common Misconceptions About Thermal Cures

Treatments using natural mineral waters are very popular in France, with over 10 million treatment days delivered each year by the 110 thermal establishments located throughout the country. Despite the effectiveness of balneotherapy for chronic pain, stress, and respiratory ailments, many misconceptions still circulate about thermal cures. We propose to separate fact from fiction in 5 points.

Thermal cures are reserved for seniors.

It is sometimes thought that only seniors are entitled to go on spa treatments at thermal establishments, but this is false! It is one of the 5 misconceptions about spa treatments. In fact, these treatments are aimed at all people suffering from debilitating chronic diseases such as asthma, rheumatism, and osteoarthritis, for example.

Although it is true that seniors make up the majority of spa-goers, children and young adults suffering from respiratory, dermatological, or digestive disorders can benefit from the healing properties of thermal care and find real relief.

There are even spa treatments for young children with infantile asthma. They can undergo spa treatment from the first months of their life and achieve spectacular results.

A spa treatment has the same effects as thalassotherapy.

It is often assumed that these two types of balneotherapy treatments have the same effects, but this is not true. Thalassotherapy offers treatments based on seawater, while a spa treatment allows one to benefit from the virtues of natural mineral water.

And that's not the only difference. Spa therapy, invented by the Romans as early as the 5th century BC, is a therapy recognized by the National Academy of Medicine. This Academy determines which pathology can be treated by each spa establishment, which is of course not the case for thalassotherapy centers…

All thermal waters are equivalent.

Contrary to one of the 5 common misconceptions about thermalism, not all thermal waters and treatments are equal.

In the 110 thermal establishments in France, the therapeutic virtues of a very wide variety of natural mineral waters are harnessed. Each water contributes to the reputation and uniqueness of its thermal spa.

It is the composition of the water that determines which conditions can be treated on site. For example, waters containing bicarbonate are effective against digestive issues, those with sulfur are used for treating respiratory and rheumatologic infections, and waters with selenium and silica have therapeutic properties in dermatology.

Thermal cures are very expensive for the Health Insurance.

A common misconception about spa treatments is that they are very expensive for health insurance. In fact, the cost to Social Security is about 30 euros per day of treatment. Therefore, an 18-day approved course of treatment is much less expensive for health insurance than a single day of hospitalization.

However, for spa-goers, the stay at a spa resort represents a significant budget because spa-goers must pay for their own transport, accommodation, and meals. There are some exceptions to this rule, subject to income conditions set by the CPAM and in the case of a work accident or occupational disease.

Note: some mutual insurance companies offer a spa package that supplements the reimbursement of spa treatments by health insurance. If you are considering taking a spa treatment, do not hesitate to inquire with your mutual insurance company when subscribing or renewing your contract.

5- Treatments are only carried out upon medical prescription.

In fact, it all depends on the type of treatment we are discussing. To be reimbursed, a thermal cure must meet the following conditions:
- It must last 18 days.
- It must be prescribed by a physician, who can be your general practitioner or a specialist.
- It must take place in an accredited and contracted thermal establishment.
- It must address one of the 12 conditions or pathologies listed by the Health Insurance.

Conventional cures, that is, those reimbursed by Social Security, represent almost all of the thermal treatments provided in France. But nothing prevents you from booking a mini-cure. This term refers to a shorter treatment that the patient undertakes at their own expense, without the need for a medical prescription.

A mini-cure is a stay of treatments at a thermal spa, lasting 1 to 12 days. Unlike the conventional 18-day cures, this short stay is not reimbursed by Health Insurance and remains entirely at the patient's expense.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Romaineolas
Tags: Spa, thermal, thalassotherapy, health insurance, respiratory, France, medical prescription, water, Balneotherapy, mineral waters, asthma, social security, therapy, resort, common misconception, Silica, listed, work accident, pathologies, accredited, general practitioner, Physician, transport, mutual insurance company, Mutual insurance, Occupational disease, Selenium, sulfur, chronic pain, stress, fiction, chronic diseases, rheumatism, osteoarthritis, dermatological, digestive disorders, relief, seawater, mineral water, Romans, medicine, Pathology, Bicarbonate, Cures,
In French: Thermalisme : 5 idées reçues sur les cures thermales
En español: Termalismo: 5 ideas preconcebidas sobre las curas termales
In italiano: Termalismo: 5 idee sbagliate sulle cure termali
Auf Deutsch: Thermalismus: 5 Vorurteile über Kurorte
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