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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061687

Balneotherapy, Immune System, and Stress Response: A Hormetic Strategy?

1
Research Group in Immunophysiology, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Extremadura, Avda. Elvas s/n, 06071 Badajoz, Spain
2
Research Group in Immunophysiology, Department of Medical-Surgical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Extremadura, Avda. Elvas s/n, 06071 Badajoz, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Day Break of Hormesis)
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Abstract

Balneotherapy is a clinically effective complementary approach in the treatment of low-grade inflammation- and stress-related pathologies. The biological mechanisms by which immersion in mineral-medicinal water and the application of mud alleviate symptoms of several pathologies are still not completely understood, but it is known that neuroendocrine and immunological responses—including both humoral and cell-mediated immunity—to balneotherapy are involved in these mechanisms of effectiveness; leading to anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, chondroprotective, and anabolic effects together with neuroendocrine-immune regulation in different conditions. Hormesis can play a critical role in all these biological effects and mechanisms of effectiveness. The hormetic effects of balneotherapy can be related to non-specific factors such as heat—which induces the heat shock response, and therefore the synthesis and release of heat shock proteins—and also to specific biochemical components such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in sulfurous water and radon in radioactive water. Results from several investigations suggest that the beneficial effects of balneotherapy and hydrotherapy are consistent with the concept of hormesis, and thus support a role for hormesis in hydrothermal treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: spa therapy; mud therapy; hydrotherapy; hormesis; immune response; inflammation; oxidative stress; heat shock proteins; pain; rheumatic diseases spa therapy; mud therapy; hydrotherapy; hormesis; immune response; inflammation; oxidative stress; heat shock proteins; pain; rheumatic diseases
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Gálvez, I.; Torres-Piles, S.; Ortega-Rincón, E. Balneotherapy, Immune System, and Stress Response: A Hormetic Strategy? Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1687.

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