Even a three-day course of procedures in a therapeutic sanatorium is enough to reduce levels of stress, said Csilla Mezösi, the Secretary General of the European SPAS Association

For nearly three decades, the European SPAS Association (ESPA) has promoted balneology, SPA medicine, wellness and healthy lifestyles in Europe, as a therapeutic and preventive approach using natural products. Csilla Mezösi, the Secretary General of ESPA since 2018, tells us about the main goals and objectives of the association, as well as the latest ESPA Innovation Awards:

“The ESPA is a non-profit association of the SPA sector, based in Brussels (Belgium) since 1995. Our members have been promoting the use of natural remedies, such as mineral and thermal water, as well as healing climatic, sustainable and green destinations within the domain of balneotherapy and SPA medicine.

The experience of using natural resources, such as mineral water, peoids, sea and climate in medicine has been based on hundreds of years of experience, proving successful treatment for numerous diseases. The historical treatments that medical SPAS offer are particularly effective in the areas of rheumatology, respiratory disorders, dermatological and metabolic problems.

Today, new demands are emerging related to how society is developing; particularly, with regard to the surge in chronic diseases and aging populations. Lifestyle disorders are more prevalent, particularly those that affect the musculoskeletal system, in addition to eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia.

Mental health became a central focus, and the demand was growing fast.

Thalasso therapy, medical wellness, relaxation, detox, anti-aging and beauty offers complement the traditional medical SPA treatments. They also offer a range of services in areas such as sport and fitness.

The association represents 20 European countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Netherlands, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Denmark.

The ESPA represents over 1,400 medical SPAS and health resorts, as well as facilities for treatment, prevention, rehabilitation and health and wellness tourism in Europe. The related European market contains, according to the ESPA, approximately 10,000 facilities. The industry employs, directly and indirectly, around 850,000 people and has an annual turnover of approximately 50 billion euros.

Scientists conducted a unique scientific study that recorded impressive changes in the well-being of its participants. Balneotherapy, using mineral water and therapeutic mud, is an environmentally friendly method that complements traditional therapy. It turns out that even a three-day course of procedures in a therapeutic sanatorium is enough to reduce levels of stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Balneotherapy helps to reduce biological age by 2.2 years! And the effect of a two-week course of procedures lasts up to a half of a year.

According to the latest research, around 40% of the population suffers from sleep disorders, and we can, thus, speak of a civilisation disease that has a negative impact on mental and physical health.

Royal SPA won the Innovative SPA Products Category with their concept, Sleep Balance, addressing modern issues, like sleep disorders. Their approach combines prevention, advanced diagnostics, innovative treatments and technology. Rooms feature biodynamic LED lights and sensor pads monitoring clients’ vital functions. Guests join chronobiologic phototherapy sessions and tailored exercises for holistic well-being.

Another example could is a study that won the award for the most innovative scientific research in SPA therapy, and was conducted by one of the clinics in Bad Pyrmont, Germany. One key aspect was an emphasis on incorporating locally available natural remedies into the therapy, such as the use of moor, healing water, brine and carbonic acid from Bad Pyrmont. In addition, the study looked at a relatively rare disease, systemic mastocytosis, and its impact on osteoporosis and employability, shedding light on a previously under-researched area in the SPA and rehabilitation sector.

And, finally, one hotel in Italy introduced an innovative SPA concept known as “The Preidlhof Way.” This wellness philosophy is based on the latest neuroscience studies that describe two types of well-being: hedonic and eudaimonic.

Hedonic well-being is experienced in the most joyful and hedonistic terms, in beauty and a pleasant external realisation. Eudaimonic well-being is achieved when one confronts one’s past and heals. In Eudaimonic wellbeing, learning and introspection are valued.

The ESPA launched its international EuropeSpa med and EuropeSpa wellness certificates in order to boost cross-border transparency and fairness in competition.

EuropeSpa criteria focus on safety, hygiene, therapy infrastructure (EuropeSpa med) and wellness infrastructure, plus service quality (EuropeSpa wellness). The certificates help professionals, such as health insurance companies and tour operators (as well as patients and guests) to identify quality SPA facilities in the balneotherapy and wellness sectors in Europe.

Balneotherapy is provided only in medical SPA facilities that are recognized by state authorities. It is part of the health care system and has to abide by strict regulations”.

Text: Irina Rybalchenko


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