Stanger bath is a hydroelectric, whole-body bath in which currents flow through the body to boost circulation and stimulate the immune system. It is commonly used to treat acute and chronic pain and muscle spasms.

“Effects of Stanger Bath Therapy on Fibromyalgia” was conducted to assess the bath’s effect on the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Fifty women with fibromyalgia were divided randomly into two groups to receive either a combination of Stanger bath therapy and amitriptyline (an antidepressant) or amitriptyline alone. The first group was treated with amitriptyline, 10 mg a day for eight weeks, and Stanger bath, 20 minutes daily for 10 sessions. The current intensity in the bath was given according to the tingling sensation the patients felt. Each of the currents was alternated for 5 minutes. The bathwater was maintained at 98.6°F. The second group received only amitriptyline, 10 mg a day for eight weeks.

The symptoms measured were number of tender points and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) scores. In the first group the symptoms were measured before, at the end, and two months after the hydrotherapy. In the second group these parameters were examined before and two months after the treatment.

Amitriptyline was found to have beneficial effects on fibromyalgia syndrome; the group receiving only drug therapy showed significant improvement in FIQ scores and tender point numbers two months after treatment.

However, the combination of Stanger bath therapy and amitriptyline produced considerably more improvement; the Stanger bath group showed significant improvement in number of tender points and in FIQ scores at the end of the study, and two months after the hydrotherapy. Although there was no difference between groups in tender-point number percent change, the researchers did observe greater improvement in percentage change of FIQ scores in the Stanger bath group when compared to the group receiving only drug therapy. In addition, the authors observed that duration of the improvement was prolonged with Stanger bath therapy.

“We conclude that Stanger bath therapy when combined with amitriptyline has a long lasting effect and better outcome in fibromyalgia patients,” the authors conclude.

Source: Ankara Diskapi Yildirim Beyazit Education and Research Hospital, Turkey. Authors: Emel Eksioglu, Duygu Yazar, Ajda Bal, Hicran Demir Usan, and Aytul Cakci. Originally published in Clinical Rheumatology, July 29, 2006 [Epub ahead of print], pp. 1-4.

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