According to Marie Beylot-Barry and colleagues, spa therapy is viewed as an add-on treatment for patients with plaque psoriasis, but lacks “objective evaluation in the absence of randomized trials.” Collaborating researchers performed a randomized trial on immediate spa therapy compared to a conventional control treatment over 4.5 months. Their article, published in the International Journal of Biometeorology, suggested that “this randomized controlled trial demonstrated that a cure of spa therapy improves [quality of life (QoL)] and alleviates certain symptoms of psoriasis, in short and long terms.”
The trial included a total of 128 adult patients with plaque psoriasis who met the eligibility criteria of a Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) score over 10 and a stable medical treatment in the last six months. The primary measure of the study was the number of patients who achieved a DLQI of 10 or less at 4.5 months. Other measures included QoL, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) stress, and visual analogue scales (VAS) pain and pruritus.
Among the patients, most were first-time spa users (71.2%), and had mean baseline DLQI and Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) scores of 16.7 and 10.5, respectively. According to the article, “immediate spa therapy patients achieved the primary objective for 66.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 52.6–77.9%) versus 41.4% (95% CI, 28.6–55.1%) control group patients (p = 0.007). Additionally, VQ-Dermato scores and pruritus VAS improved significantly.”
Ultimately, the study’s authors proposed that “[their] results justify integrating spa therapy into the treatments offered to patients with psoriasis, whether they have other ongoing treatment or not,” though they did acknowledge that “the profile of patients who would most benefit from a course of spa treatment remains to be determined.”