Interview with Staatsbad Pyrmont, winner in Innovative Medical Spa Scientific Research category

The research conducted at Klinik DER FÜRSTENHOF in Bad Pyrmont, part of Staatsbad Pyrmont, encompassed all osteoporosis rehabilitation patients from 2005 to 2015. Out of 8392 patients treated with tailored therapy approaches and natural remedies, the data indicates that early detection of mastocytosis significantly improves outcomes. This underscores the pivotal role of prevention within medical spas in shaping positive health trajectories.

We reached out to Dr. Martin Gehlen with a few questions.

Could you briefly present the awarded study?

Our research highlights the importance of early diagnosis and specialized treatment in the context of systemic mastocytosis, a rare blood disorder that is often overlooked. We conducted a retrospective study at the clinic DER FÜRSTENHOF in Bad Pyrmont, Germany, a spa and rehabilitation clinic specializing in osteological and rheumatological diseases.

The study involved 8,392 patients who were rehabilitated for osteoporosis between 2005 and 2015. We found that osteoporosis is more severe in the presence of systemic mastocytosis and poses a higher risk to employability if it is not diagnosed in time. In all cases studied, mastocytosis was first diagnosed during rehabilitation, on average five years after the first vertebral fracture in osteoporosis.

Our study underlines the importance of rehabilitation in spas, where accurate diagnoses and treatments combining medication and rehabilitative measures are possible. Early rehabilitation and spa stays can significantly improve patient outcomes.

From your perspective, what do you believe is the primary factor that led jury to honor your study with the award for the most innovative spa scientific research?

In my view, there were several key factors that prompted the jury to award our study the prize for the most innovative scientific spa research. One key aspect was our 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. This underlines the importance of spas in Germany and Europe for a holistic therapeutic approach, which is in line with the spa and wellness industry’s focus on natural, ecologically sustainable treatments.

In addition, our 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. The combination of these factors probably contributed to our study being recognized as innovative and deserving of the award.

What does receiving of the ESPA Innovation Award mean for your team? 

Receiving the ESPA Innovation Award is of great importance to our team. It honours our commitment to developing innovation in the field of spa and health tourism. This recognition confirms our position as one of the important companies in the German spa industry and underlines our commitment to continuous improvement.

Furthermore, this award shows that our research not only contributes to the advancement of spa medicine, but also underlines the medical quality and commitment of our team at DER FÜRSTENHOF. It motivates us to further raise our standards and continue our mission to increase the well-being of our patients while promoting health tourism in Germany and beyond. We see it as confirmation of our efforts and encouragement not to let up in our pursuit of excellence.

What is your outlook on the future of medical spas in Europe? Are there areas where you see potential for enhancement and innovation?

I see a promising future for medical spas in Europe, particularly due to their unique selling point, namely the inclusion of site-specific, natural remedies that can be found in traditional health resorts. Specific medical expertise is required at the spa in order to apply the local natural remedies in a meaningful way. Only in this way can the remedies be used correctly for the benefit of the patients. We see the award you have given us as confirmation of our view that natural remedies and medical expertise go hand in hand.

What is the potential of natural resources for the treatments?

The potential of natural remedies for the treatment of chronic diseases is undoubtedly great and is often still underutilized. In Bad Pyrmont, especially in the clinic DER FÜRSTENHOF, these local remedies are an integral part of our therapeutic concepts. Modern, scientifically oriented medicine and the use of traditional natural remedies are not a contradiction in terms. On the contrary, these therapeutic principles complement each other very well.

The natural remedies from Bad Pyrmont, such as healing water, brine, natural carbon dioxide and peat, have long been attributed a healing effect. The healing water with its high calcium content is used to treat osteoporosis. External applications of moor and mud help to reduce pain and muscle tension.

Carbon dioxide is a powerful vasodilator and is effective in treating circulatory disorders associated with rheumatic diseases. It also regulates blood pressure. By incorporating these elements into the treatments, it is possible to create a holistic and regionally distinctive approach to health and well-being. This approach is a model of how European spa destinations can use their natural assets in combination with medical expertise to enhance the future of health and wellness experiences.

Could you share your future plans and initiatives?

The research focus of our clinic is the use of natural remedies in the treatment of rheumatic diseases and osteoporosis as part of inpatient rehabilitation.

In our current project, we have investigated the effect of exercise therapy, carbon dioxide baths, mud applications and relaxation methods for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia suffer from severe pain and are severely restricted in their everyday activities. In this complex patient group, we were able to achieve a highly significant improvement in physical performance. This is remarkable because most conventional therapy concepts did not show such an effect. We have submitted the data from our work to a renowned medical journal. Our manuscript is currently in the review process. Once this has been completed, we will be happy to make the results available to you.

Ultimately, we want to use our research to promote the health and wellness potential of the region. It is our aim to offer special health and wellness services and to position Bad Pyrmont as a very good European health resort that combines traditional healing elements with modern medical advances.

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