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A brief history of spa therapy
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  1. T Bender1,
  2. P V Balint2,
  3. G P Balint2
  1. 1Polyclinic of The Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God in Budapest, 1025 Budapest, Arpad fejedelem u.7., Hungary
  2. 2National Institute of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy, 1023 Budapest, Frankel L. u. 38–40, Hungary
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr T Bender;
    balneo{at}axalero.hu

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We read with great interest the paper entitled “A brief history of spa therapy” by van Tubergen and van der Linden in the March edition of the Annals.1 Spas have certainly played an important part throughout the centuries not only in recreation but also in restoring physical and mental health. In fact, several spa doctors have greatly influenced the progress of rheumatology—for example, Bruce from Scotland described polymyalgia, Forestier introduced gold treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in France, and Sitaj and Zitnan from Piestany described polyarticular chondrocalcinosis.

We regret that this paper failed to mention the famous spas of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. From their conception, Czech and Slovak spas became gathering places not only for aristocrats but also for kings and emperors. Hungary, one of the richest countries of thermal waters in the world, has a bath culture dating back to the pre-Roman Celtic times. Budapest is a capital unique for its thermal waters. It is also renowned for Lake Hévíz, the second biggest hot lake in the world, second to Rotorua, New Zealand.

We are proud to have published in English the first double blind controlled trials with thermal water treatment. …

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