2018 General Assembly
Program and Proceedings
Current Hydrotherapy Challenges
Developments in Member Countries
The FEMTEC Hymn
Balneology Developments in Member Countries
According to Adair Turner, President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (*), by 2024 there will be 450thousand jobs more in the US in the "personal care" sector. The individual delegations of the world thermal centres confirmed such development, which is expected in the near future.
In fact, Florana Menendez, Vice President of FEMTEC, introduced, on behalf of the Cuban delegation, the review Wellnessdestiny (www.wellnessdestiny.org), in Spanish and English, dedicated to the promotion of the thermal and wellbeing culture. Ledesma Rosa, a paediatrician and president of the Cuban Society of Medical Hydrology, announced the creation of a Chair of Health Tourism by the Cuban Ministry of Health, in co-operation with the Habana University and FEMTEC.
Natalia Starzeva, Director of the National Centre for Research on Thermal Medicine and Rehabilitation in Moscow (Russia), described the co-ordination and reorganization of the institutions that manage over 1,500 Centres in the Russian Federation in view of optimizing care and organizational services, including at social level. Outstanding experts from the Russian Centre (G. Barashkov and G. Gigineishvili) described recent updates and new technologies, some of which are already in use in major worldwide centres.
Mr. Gigineishvili, a physician and painter, delivered a much appreciated lecture on the International Centre of Art Therapy in Moscow, which he manages. The Centre's activity is aimed at pursuing the psychological recovery of patients following mastectomy and cancer surgery. The important Russian thermal clusters in the St. Petersburg and Anapa (Black Sea) Region were represented by A. Menschov and S. Sebrukova. V. Reps focused on the development of the historical thermal centres in the Caucasian region of Stavropol, with special reference to the integrated thermal health facility management courses promoted by the International Research Institute of Piatigorsk, in co-operation with FEMTEC. Italian organizations are very active in this region, with specialized initiatives including, among others, the recent event Italy meets Caucasus, involving high-profile diplomatic speakers.
After being away for some time from FEMTEC, the Ukrainian Thermae were represented by a large and highly-qualified delegation headed by S. Buchinsky, Vice President of the National Physiatrists' Association. The lecture of O. Gozhenko on the efficient organization of thermal clusters in Ukraine - a true "renaissance" - was highly appreciated.
The development of thermal and hydroclimatic facilities in Kazakhstan, represented by a delegation headed by S. Bulekbaeva, head of one of the world's main youth rehabilitation centres in Astana, provides a significant input to child rehabilitation from severe diseases.
Following a period of serious trouble due to the local political and economic situation, Georgia is now regaining its traditional leadership in hydrotherapy with great efficiency. Private investment initiatives promote the revival of many centres, including Borjomi, Zhalktubo, Kobuleti, or Tbilisi, thus creating the assumptions for local development and for the integration of thermal and tourist-cultural options. Significant and interesting research is under way on the quality of waters and muds at the Tbilisi University, through the research team of A. Bakuridze. Thermal activity in Belarus was broadly documented and described by I. Paluyanava, from the National Thermal Coordination Centre, with data on the strictly medical focus of hydrotherapy in her Country, aimed at treating the cardiometabolic syndrome and, in the field of rehabilitation, respiratory disorders.
Spain was represented by Francisco Maraver, Director of the Medical Hydrology School at the Medicine Department of the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, who described academic research in the thermal sector. Portugal, with M. Boaron from Euroteam, and Head of the FEMTEC IT Commission, provided a broad overview of the possible applications of IT and digital technology in the thermal sector, primarily focused on possible interactions with the queries of thermal patients.
In his opening remarks Thierry Dubois, President of the French Thermal Association, from France, described the programmes designed for certain sample thermal regions (clusters) in his Country.
Lastly, Stefano Masiero (Padua University, Italy) provided an overview of the trends and potentials of Italian hydrotherapy for rehabilitation; the GB Hotels Thermal Group, with a lecture by F. Fornasini, introduced interesting nutritional approaches integrated with thermal treatments. An original and modern approach to the creation of physiotherapy centres was provided by A. Kassis (Fisiokinè Group).
The Swiss Thermal Group of Leukerbad, coordinated by physiatrist G. D'Alessandro, introduced interesting studies on the relations and possible interactions between mountain climate, thermae, and the treatment of obesity. Medical, as well as hydro-sanitary and environmental technologies, were the object of a broad lecture by G. Gurnari (San Marino), President of the Technical Commission of FEMTEC, who described recent inputs to the sector.
Rzig Oueslati, head of the Thermal Department of the Ministry of Health in Tunisia, highlighted the Country's commitment towards a safe and effective implementation of thalassotherapy (see also the mail from Tunisia). A.Belaitar,from the Thermal Center of Guelma (Algeria) presented the general strategy of the project supported by the Government and named "Algerie Thermale" as driver of the way of health medica tourism.
From the Thermal Centre of Techirghiol in Romania, Olga Surdu, first Vice President of FEMTEC and professor at the Konstanz University, went through the cost-benefit ratio of thermal care. Beneficial effects of hydrotherapy that may have interesting social impacts were broadly documented by Natalia Soares, from the Santa Catalina University in Brazil.
Investments for over US$ 20 billion are provided for in China, as mentioned by Zhang Yue, Secretary General of the Chinese Thermal Federation, to include Hot Springs in the national Chinese programme for disease prevention (Healthy China), of which FEMTEC is an active partner. The operational hub of a sample thermal cluster - bringing together science, economy, tourism, and local development - was recently created in Chong Qing, one of the four main development districts in China, in co-operation with FEMTEC.
Vietnam, represented by a delegation from the Saigon Binh Chau Corporation headed by Linh Vu and Tuan Tran, introduced the Country's broad and modern investment schemes for the thermal and wellbeing sector. Recent research in Japan, where thousands of small thermal centres exist, and certain physiological adjustment mechanisms connected with the use of thermal treatments, were described by S. Inokuma through instrumental clinical assessments.
Lastly, Australia, with the Peninsula Hot Springs Group from Victoria and its president Charles Davidson, described the huge potentials of hydrotherapy in the New Continent, the achievements made, and the possible co-operation in the sector between FEMTEC and the Medical School of the Melbourne University. True thermal cities were built, and others are planned, in Australia and New Zealand, which demand the advice and operational experience of Europe, including from the medical viewpoint.
(*) A.Turner, Capitalism in the Age of Robots, Institute for New Economic Thinking, New York City, USA, 2018
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