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Analgetisch wirkungen der sauna bei der fibromyalgie (Analgesic effects of sauna in fibromyalgia) [German]
Piso U, Kuther G, Gutenbrunner CHR, Gehrke A
Physikalische Medizin, Rehabilitationsmedizin, Kurortmedizin 2001 Jun;11(3):94-99
clinical trial
4/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: No; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: No; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

Mild sauna baths have not been considered up to now for therapeutical trials in fibromyalgia. MATERIAL AND METHODS: 9 female patients with primary fibromyalgia (ACR-criteria) received twice a week 12 mild doses of sauna-therapy, a control group included 9 female patients receiving 12 aquatic therapies twice a week. Measurements of the pain pressure thresholds were performed at the ACR tender points with a standardised algometer. In addition, 18 female patients, who had received besides mild sauna baths several further physical therapies for fibromyalgia (ie, aquatic therapy, hydrogalvanic baths, medical condition training, local heat therapy, massage etc), answered a standardised questionnaire about beneficial and adverse effects of these therapies. RESULTS: A moderate, but significant increase (p < 0.05) of the pain threshold was detected directly after single sauna baths in the second half of the series (ie, after the 6th and the 12th application). When compared to the initial values, there was a significant increase of the pain threshold of 22% after the entire sauna series, whereas serial aquatic therapy led to no significant increase of 8%. In the standardised questionnaire, analgesic effects were most frequently reported after mild sauna baths (10 of 18 cases), but also after warm packs (7 of 16 cases), exercises conducted by a physiotherapist (6 of 16 cases), aquatic therapy (7 of 18 cases) and massages (6 of 15 cases). 8 of 12 patients who had received hydrogalvanic baths, reported increased pain after this therapy. CONCLUSION: These preliminary results suggest that mild sauna therapy exerts analgesic effects in fibromyalgia with an increase of the pain-pressure-threshold.

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