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SPA Medicine



ESPA represents over 1,400 medical spas and health resorts as well as facilities for cure, prevention, rehabilitation, and health and wellness tourism in Europe. The related European market contains according to ESPA approximately 10,000 facilities. The industry employs directly and indirectly around 750,000 people and has an annual turnover of approximately 45 billion euros. This means that the European facilities are not only an essential part of the health services in their national markets and in Europe, but also important economic contributors and employees. In addition, many of these jobs are in structurally weak regions – as is untouched nature and the distance to industrialised regions an essential feature of many spas and health resorts.



Balneotherapy in many European countries has a long spa tradition and it is an integral part of the health care system.

Balneotherapy is provided only in spa facilities with medical background that are recognized by the state authorities. As such it is part of the health care system and has to abide by strict regulations.

The local natural healing resources (natural healing water, peloids, gases, climatic conditions) have always been subject to scientific research. Based on the knowledge of scientists and medical doctors, the treatments of particular diseases have been observed, approved and recommended.

Download the e-brochure “Balneotherapy Care in Spas and Health Resorts in Europe” to learn more about Balneotherapy (Spa Therapy) in Europe


Szeged Consensus Statement on Balneology and Health Resort Medicine

At the Consensus Conference, which took place in Szeged(2nd of April), among leaders of the International Society of Medical Hydrology and Climatology (ISMH), Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Board of Medical Specialists European Union (UEMS), World Organization of Thermalism (OMTH), World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (FEMTEC), International Society of Hydrothermal Techniques (SITH) and Medical Committee of European Spa Federation (ESPA) achieved following understanding:

  • Balneology and health resort medicine is part of a scientific medicine and has to be based on scientific evidence
  • Definition of terms in balneology an health resort medicine have to be developed as basis for the scientific work and the development of quality standards practice of balneology and health resort medicine
  • A consensus process should be started on the basis of the exchange of information and collection of the work that has been already done in international societies as well as on a national level to compile the International Glossary of health resort and spa medicine terminology using systematic methods of decision making process (Delphi tasks and consensus conferences)in close cooperation of the attending societies and other partner organisations
  • A task force has to be founded to deal with this issue in a common activity of the attending organisations

Szeged,  2nd of April 2005

ISMH: T. Bender; MZ. Karagülle; Chr. Gutenbrunner; P. Geher; H.Pratzel.
ESPA: MZ. Karagülle.
FEMTEC: N.Storozhenko.
UEMS: P. Cantista; Chr. Gutenbunner.
OMTH: E. Gori; C. Miravelle.
SITH: M. Espinho.

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