Navigation Links
Patients Find Healthy Vein in Old Austrian Mine

High in the Austrian Alps, patients wait in bathrobes and sandals to take a small train deep inside a disused mine to breathe in a natural radioactive gas, hoping it will help what ails them.

After a bumpy 20-minute ride, they arrive in one of four stations at the "Heilstollen," or "health mine," in the heart of Radhausberg mountain south of Salzburg -- a brief trip to the "tropics" while never leaving Europe.

Once there, they undress, lie down on camping beds and take a cure that has drawn millions of people worldwide to the unexpected heat, humidity and special atmosphere two kilometers (just over a mile) inside this Alpine peak.

Bad Gastein used to be a gold mine, and produced more than 800 kilos (1,760 pounds) of the precious metal each year during its 16th-century heyday. These days it attracts those hunting for a different type of good fortune, some longed-for relief from rheumatism, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions.

"The secret of its medical success comes from the ideal combination of three factors -- a constant temperature between 37 and 41 degrees C (99 to 106 degrees F), near 100 percent humidity, and a high natural level of radon gas," said Franz Zaver Rieser, a manager at the medical centre based at the opening of the mine.

"We receive 10,000 patients a year, and over 55 years in operation about three million patients have passed through the various mine areas," he said.

The beneficial properties were discovered around 1946, when miners searching unsuccessfully for the last traces of gold noticed their rheumatism, skin problems and respiratory difficulties had temporarily disappeared or were considerably improved after spending time underground.

Following a series of scientific studies on its effects, the mine was reopened in 1952 as what the organisers say is the world's only "health mine."

Gernot Strauss, part of the medical team at th e centre, stressed that the mine treatment cannot cure ailments, only alleviate their symptoms. But he said the effect can last up to nine months.

"There is as yet no cure for rheumatism," said Rieser, but "more than 90 percent of patients feel better after treatment."

The vital component, he explained, is a stimulating effect of radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas element that in high concentrations and long exposures is said to carry serious health risks.

At Bad Gastein, low doses of this colourless and odorless gas have been found to boost the ability of human cells to repair themselves.

The World Health Organisation issues regular warnings that high exposure to radon can increase the risk of lung cancer. It has been a major headache for some home and office owners in radon-prone areas, notably parts of the United States where the US Environmental Protection Agency website says it is "the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers ... (and) the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually."

But Bad Gastein organisers say patients are given one day without inhaling radon in between two days of treatment, and say the gas is out of the patients' bodies within three hours.

"The 50-odd mine staff are subject to 20 times more exposure than patients, but we remain below official exposure levels," said Rieser.

Depending on the gravity of the illness, doctors recommend up to 12 trips of one hour each to the mine over a four-week period, a course which could cost up to 600 euros (800 dollars).

Patients come from all over for the treatment, Rieser added, remembering "one 81-year-old woman who came all the way from Australia."


Related medicine news :

1. One in Three Heart Attack Patients Have No Chest Pains
2. Amphetamines Help Recovery of Stroke Patients
3. Painkillers Do Not Shorten Dying Patients Lives
4. Patients With Filariasis More Prone To HIV Infection
5. Glivec - New Hope For CMC Patients
6. Patients often assume wrongly that they are allergic to penicillin
7. New FDA Approved Drug NATRECOR For Heart Failure Patients
8. Hemochromatosis Patients Blood is Safe
9. Patients Pressure Would Result In Overprescription
10. Risk Of Decongestants In Hypertensive Patients
11. Interference helps Heart Patients
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind and certified personal trainer is helping ... fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the two major problems leading the fitness ... size fits all type program , They don’t eliminate all the reasons people ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn ... to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization ... selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice ... States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm ... Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of ... award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , ... Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex set ... drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and suffering, ... traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from depression, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... CHAPEL HILL, N.C. , June 24, 2016 ... in healthcare decisions and regulators/payers have placed more ... this new environment, patient support programs in the ... support for patients, medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are ... to ensure they are providing products and services ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... DUBLIN , June 24, 2016 ... and Markets has announced the addition of the ... their offering. ... products and provides an updated review, including its applications ... covering the total market, which includes three main industries: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ANDOVER, Mass. and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. ... California -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now ... portable PFT devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... PFT testing done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ... CA , can get any needed testing done in the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: