A new Cochrane Review has found some evidence that balneotherapy (bathing in mineral-rich water) improves quality of life, pain and skin pigmentation changes in patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Researchers reviewed data from seven trials including 891 participants comparing balneotherapy with no treatment or other types of treatment for CVI. Six studies (n=836 participants) evaluated balneotherapy versus no treatment, while one study evaluated balneotherapy versus melilotus officinalis (yellow sweet clover). The overall certainty of the evidence was considered to be very low to moderate.
The authors identified low-to-moderate certainty evidence that balneotherapy was probably more beneficial when compared with no treatment for pain, health-related quality of life and skin pigmentation changes. They said there was "probably no improvement" in favour of balneotherapy on disease severity signs and symptoms score, leg ulcers, oedema and adverse events.
There were insufficient data in the study comparing balneotherapy with melilotus officinalis to detect clear differences between the two treatments for pain and oedema, the only outcomes for which data were available.
The researchers said trials assessing the effectiveness of balneotherapy with low risk of bias are needed in order to provide solid evidence for the treatment of CVI.