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Clinical study summary from Sárvár


The aim of the trials was to study the effects of a course of bathing treatments in  the Sárvár medicinal thermal water on patients suffering from musculoskeletal diseases.

This trial was conducted at the spa department of Danubius Health Spa Resort Sárvár (formerly Thermal Hotel Sárvár). Since June 1985, this spa and balneotherapy department has provided a working physiotherapy treatment centre.

Since this time, more than 120,000 patients have been treated – primarily for chronic inflammation and degenerative musculoskeletal disorders, as well as for disorders of the respiratory organs, sometimes exclusively with balneotherapy, and sometimes with balneotherapy combined with complex physiotherapy treatments.

For three weeks, we bathed our selected patients for 20 minutes twice a day in an indoor mineral-water thermal pool at a temperature of 36ºC.  After bathing, they rested in the pool area for one hour.


Men Average age Women Average age Average  existence of disease/years
Arthrosis of the knee joint 11 68 years 20 67.1 years 4.1
Arthrosis of the hip joint 13 67.7 years 18 68.3 years 4.6
Lumbago 19 69.1 years 12 69 years 6.1

The study was performed in 1997.

The tests were performed using water at a temperature of 36ºC..
Follow-up examinations were conducted in three disease groups (lumbago, hip-joint arthrosis and knee-joint arthrosis).

Three groups of 31 people participated in the study, to provide a sufficient number of cases for the assessment.

We selected patients suffering from these three disease groups based on previous positive results in treatment diseases – although the therapeutic effect of thermal water has also manifested itself in other cases.

The first test was performed on the day of the guests’ arrival, with the closing test upon departure and a subsequent questionnaire-based assessment three months after that.

The examinations were naturally performed with the patients’ consent and close cooperation.

We did not involve patients receiving steroid treatment in the investigation. Two weeks prior to commencement of the trial, patients also stopped taking non-steroid antiphlogistic drugs (although this would not in normal circumstances have been a reason for exclusion).  They received no other treatment during the investigation period either.

In order to create homogeneity, we did not include extreme cases in the investigation programme, and naturally we did not include in our patient groups cases where a contraindication existed.

We compiled a form to record medical examinations. Besides personal data, we set the following parameters:

  • initial pain on VAS scale, expressed in cm
  • durability, duration of the initial pain, expressed in minutes
  • force of load pain on VAS scale, expressed in cm
  • outbreak time of load pain, expressed in minutes
  • force of rest and night pain on VAS scale, expressed in cm
  • local tenderness to pressure, expressed by the Ritchie Index
  • walking time of 10m, expressed in minutes
  • articular motions – expressed in flexion degrees
  • articular motions – expressed in abduction degrees (only in case of hip-joint arthrosis)
  • articular motions – expressed in side-bow degrees (only in case of lumbago).

These parameters are “measured” values, and we therefore performed the examinations and calculations of biometry with the 1-sample t-test (with the help of the SPSS programme system).

We performed the examination four times: before the treatment, during the treatment, after the treatment and three months after completion of the treatment.

Whilst we repeatedly questioned the patients, we made every effort not to influence them in any way to ensure the information we received was accurate. The patients delimited the force of their pain relatively well on the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). The Ritchie Index also proved to be relatively objective. We measured motion scope and its alteration with a protractor.


The patients were not asked any questions regarding their lifestyles.

There was no double blind trial conducted in placebo water parallel to the groups of patients having participated in the balneologic cure.

The majority of patients in the trial were foreign citizens (paying guests), which was the main reason why we were not able to conduct a placebo trial.

No X-ray or laboratory tests were performed.


Our calculations showed a very significant improvement in all three disease groups with respect to every parameter (comparing the pre-treatment data with data measured during, immediately after and three months after treatment).  It is important to emphasize that the treatment had positive effects that revealed themselves in each result measured in all three separate assessments.

That is, there was not just a positive change in results during the treatment itself, but in post-treatment results as well.

The results of measurements performed three months after the treatment clearly show a continued improvement in the patients’ condition. In respect of certain parameters, the examination performed three months later shows even further beneficial improvements, which suggests that the beneficial influence of balneotherapy lasts longer than just during and immediately after the time of the treatment.

Based on the assessment of the results of the examinations detailed above, it can be established that in all three disease groups investigated – knee-joint arthrosis, hip-joint arthrosis, lumbago – the water from Thermal Hotel Sárvár’s own drilled thermal-water well has a beneficial influence.

Furthermore, we do not recommend the balneotherapic benefits of thermal water only for treating musculoskeletal disorders; it is also beneficial for rehabilitation for cases such as post-surgery conditions, fractures, sprains, muscle contusions, etc.


    Sárvár, thermal-water well B-44;30.10.96. Sárvár; thermal-water well B-44; 13.07.84.
    Water inspection result; OKI Water inspection result; OKI
Components:   Mg/l. mmol/l. hv% Mg/l. mmol/l. hv%
Litium Li+ 0.1 0.01 0.02      
Natrium Na+ 1,450 63.04 97.4 1,340 58.29 97.13
Kalium  K+ 11.6 0.3 0.46 12  0.31 0.52
Ammonium NH4+ 11.5 0.64 0.99 14.8 0.83  1.38
Magnesium MG2+ 4.5 0.37 0.57 0.9  0.07  0.12
Calcium Ca2+ 7.3 0.36 0.56 10  0.5 0.83
Manganese Mn2+       0 0 0
Iron Fe2+ 0.06 0 0 0.23 0.01  0.02
Barium Ba2+ 0          
Arsenic As3+ 0          
Total cations:   1,485 64.72 100 1,378 60.01 100
Fluoride F - 0.88 0.05 0.08 0.72  0.04 0.07
Chloride Cl - 480 13.52 21.21  501 14.13 24.79
Hydrobromide Br - 1.3 0.02 0.03 0.52 0.01 0.02
Iodide J - 0.6 0 0 0.7 0.01 0.02
Nitrite NO2 - 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nitrate NO3 - 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hydrocarb. HCO3 - 3,030 49.6 77.8 2,610 42.8  75.1
Sulphide S2 - 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
Sulphate SO4 - 26 0.54 0.85 0 0 0
Phosphate PO34 - 0.66 0.02 0.03 0.1 0 0
Total anions:   3,540 63.75   3,113 56.99 100
Total ions:   5,025      4,491    
Metatartaric acid HBO2 9.9       11  
Metasilicic acid H2SiO3 38       43  
Dissolved oxygen O2 2.1          

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