January 18, 2022

Thermal Tourism and Sports Medicine

The contribution of Sports Medicine on sports injuries and in particular in the ankle sprain and bone swelling is significant and acts in addition to other preservatives, pharmaceutical and surgical treatments.  The therapeutic result of external hydrotherapy is based on mechanical, chemical, biological and immune factors. 

Thermal factor, the heat of the water, helps muscle relaxation and reliefs pain from the nerve endings. Thermal stress contributes to the release of a variety of hormones, such as cortisol, prolactin, growth hormone, corticosteroid, etc. causing an increase in β-endorphin levels with analgesic and muscle relaxant effects, while increasing the efficiency of granulocytes by enhancing the body’s immune activity. On the contrary, temperatures above 40o C are prohibitive, as body’s immunosuppressive effect is enhanced. 

Mechanical factor, the mechanical action of external hydrotherapy, is related to buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure and results in increased cardiac output, improved mobility of the ankle joint and the diffusion of allogeneic chemicals. 

Chemical agent, minerals and mainly trace elements and gases, determines the entity of the thermal natural resource as a therapeutic agent, classifying the thermal springs into chloride, hydrogen sulfide, radon and other categories. Biological and immunological factors, which mainly come from hydrogen sulfide participate in the signaling pathways of cells, in a variety of cytoprotective biochemical reactions in the human body. 

Ankle sprain is the instantaneous displacement of the bones of the ankle joint or other joints that immediately return to their original position, while it is possible to create various degrees of rupture of the ligaments of the area, and even injuries of articular cartilage of the ankle bones that rarely affect hammer, ankle and heel. Ankle sprain is the most common traumatic injury to the human body, as every person has suffered from one or more sprains during their lifetime. 

External hydrotherapy is a complementary therapeutical method that becomes more and more popular and contributes in the faster recovery of the athlete. The entry of the injured person into the thermal water and its immersion up to the navel causes gradual discharge of the joints by 50%. 

External hydrotherapy has, also, important effects on blood circulation within the muscle and connective tissue. The pressure that is exerted on the tissues and the reflex regulation of blood vessel tone result in oxygen excess in the area and the removal of edema and of metabolic products, such as lactic acid from muscles and ligaments. External hydrotherapy in patients with ankle sprains has been shown to have excellent results as it facilitates joint movement, endurance and flexibility, while improving muscle weakness and restoring the athlete’s balance and flexibility. 

Konstantinos Kouskoukis 

Professor of Dermatology 


B’ Vice President GDHI 

President Hellenic Academy of Thermal Medicine 

President World Academy of Chinese & Complimentary Medicine