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Commission VI - Peat balneology, medicine and therapeutics

Chair: Riitta Korhonen
Tilanhoitajankaari 22 C 55 new!
00790 Helsinki, Finland
mobile: +358 40 524 2486
E-mail: riitta.korhonen3@gmail.com new!

Balneology is the science of medical application of water, especially of curative springs and of peloids, mainly in spas. Peat therapy in balneology and health care has a long tradition. However, modern peat therapy methods have been in use since the early 19th century in Central Europe, where the oldest spas, still active today, are located in the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.

Peat mud and suspension baths as well as poultices are the most common types of peat application in balneotherapy.

The effect of peat therapy is based on the combined influence of physical uplift and high temperature of mud-baths, the antiseptic effects of peat and the biochemically active substances in it. Of particular importance in the treatment are the organic, humic substances in the peat, which can penetrate the skin, influencing enzymatic and hormone activity.

In addition, many peat preparations are available and applicated in human as well as in veterinary medicine, together with preparations of high cosmetic value.

Annual Report 2009

Commission VI has not had any special activities in 2009.  There was a plan to organize a Balneological-Historical Symposium in Greece, but that was cancelled because the Illness of the Greek organizer. Instead we have plans to organise the 18th Neydharting Round Table Conference in Finland on 2 - 4 September.

Chairperson Riitta Korhonen has participated in the meetings of SAB in Belfast and Brussels. She also has advised new persons on Balneological problems in United Kingdom and Ireland. She was guiding also members of the Finnish Peatland Society during the 60th Anniversary Excursion to Balneological sites in Western Finland during 14 - 16 September 2009.

Annual Report 2008

During the course of 2008, Commission VI organized only a meeting at the Tullamore Congress on 10 June 2008, attended by 10 participants. Activities of the Commission were discussed and it was resolved that organizations and arrangements for the Bad Neydharting Conferences will continue.

The next Neydharting meetings will be held in 2009 and 2011. In 2010, the balneological symposium will be organized in Finland with the possibility of a post symposium excursion to Estonia. This could be arranged as a joint symposium with Commission VIII and possibly also with Commission IV.

At the International Peat Congress, seven papers were presented on Peat Balneology. Professor emeritus Gerd Lüttig gave a keynote speech on “The Touch of Peat – Inherent Healing Power of Nature”. Geologist Mall Orru’s paper concerned “The properties of Estonian balneological peat” and gynaecologist Leena Larva spoke on  “A pilot research into the influence of the Finnish peat sauna to the climacteric symptoms of women”.

Professor Renate Klöcking’s topic was “In-vitro investigations on the effect of peat humic substances on inflammation” and Professor Hans Peter Klöcking spoke about the “Influence of humic substances on the cytotocixity of surfactants”. Luciane Romao talked about “Extraction and exchange behavior of metal species in therapeutically applied peat characterized by competitive extractants”. Commission Chair Riitta Korhonen’s topic was “Research, quality guidelines and use of balneological peat in Finland”.

Annual Report 2007

In 2007, Commission VI organized the 17th Neydharting Round Table Conference in Vlotho, Germany, 3 - 4 November 2007 after the SAB meeting. The Conference events took place at Moorland Bad Senkelteich and Bad Seebruch nearby with about 30 participants all together. There were specialists from Germany, Poland, Finland, Holland and South Korea.

At the Conference internal questions of Commission VI were discussed as well as the recent situation of Peat Balneology spas and sanatoria, contributions to research and science on peat therapy, new therapeutic methods and materials, “non-peat-peloids”, cosmetics, healing earths and other specialities. Also the participation at the 13th International Peat Congress in Tullamore was discussed and it was recognised that there were only few abstracts about topics concerning Commission VI. The professors Klöcking informed participants about their new research on Humic Substances:  Prof. Renate Klöcking - In-vitro Investigations on the Effect of Peat Humic Substances on Inflammation and Prof. Hans-Peter Klöcking - Influence of Humic Substances on the Cytotoxity of Surfactants.

After the meeting on the first day there was a sightseeing tour at Bad Senkelteich guided by director August Grossman and all participants had the possibility to have a peat bath. Bad Senkelteich is a real Peat Spa with many kinds of peat products; even peat drinks and peat bread were available.

On the morning of 4 November the meeting continued at Bad Seebruch where we began by sightseeing around the Spa with a possibility to visit in the cold room with a temperature of minus 110 degrees Celsius! After that the spa doctors described problems and good experiences of the therapies. At the end of the meeting there were discussions about the possibilities of participating in the Tullamore Congress, where the next Commission meeting will be organized.

Annual Report 2006

In 2006, Commission VI organized the 16th Bad Neydharting Round Table Conference in Austria on 26 - 28 May. Fourteen participants attended the Conference, two of whom came from the USA, one from Canada, three from Finland, six from Germany and two from Austria.

At the conference, the most important question discussed was the quality of balneological peat. Prof. Renate and Hans-Peter Klöcking presented new results of their microbiological researches and Prof. Goecke gave his 75th anniversary jubilee presentation about the gynaecological use of peat in German clinics.

Dr. Michael Schirmer invited us to his spa in Texas, USA. He is willing to organize one of the next conferences there. However, the next Round Table Conference is planned to be held in Vlotho, Germany on 2-4 November 2007.

An excursion group of the Finnish Peatland Society visited an ancient mud spa near to Philippi mire in Greece on 29 September 2006.

Annual Report 2005

Commission VI has collaborated with other societies and universities in researching and advertising the healing properties of peat and humic substance preparations.

Good advice on that function was provided at the symposium “Peat and Humic Substance Preparations in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Body Care”, held on 25 - 27 May 2005 in Bad Langensalza in Germany. The symposium was organized by IPS Commission VI, the Working Group of the German Peat Society (DGMT), the Working Group on Balneology, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation and Acupuncture in the German Society for Gynaecology and Obstetrics, and the Project Group on Humic Substances Research of the Academy of Useful Sciences at Erfurt. There were 40 participants from nine countries at the symposium: 29 from Germany, two from Canada, Switzerland and Ukraine, and one from Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Russia and Spain.
The general themes of the presentations were:

The special highlight of the symposium was the field trip to the revitalized rain-moor peatland Saukopfmoor near Oberhof/Thuringia. The quality criteria of peat were often mentioned in the discussions, and knowledge of the geological structure of mires was also considered very important for the effective use of peat as a source of humic acids for cosmetic and remedial purposes.

As a conclusion to the symposium, we can be satisfied with the results of the research that were presented, but we still need further research into the properties of peat and the effects of peat and humic substance preparations.
An article from the symposium, written by Professor Renate Klöcking, has been published in Peatlands International 2/2005 and the proceedings of the presentations will be published soon.

“Wise use of peat and peatlands” has been chosen as the guiding principle for the activities of the International Peat Society (IPS). The members of VI commission consider that the use of peat and humic substance preparations for balneological purposes is one kind of wise use of peat and peatlands.

Annual Report 2004

Contributions to 12th International Peat Congress in Tampere

A few members of VI Commission participated in the 12th  International Peat Congress in Tampere. Five presentations were included in the theme “Peat balneology, medicine and therapeutics”:

Commission meeting

The Commission meeting was held on Tuesday, 8 June in Tampere Hall. The group discussed the election of a new chair of Commission VI because Prof. Gerd Lüttig would not continue as a chair any longer. The meeting decided to nominate Riitta Korhonen as a candidate for the chair.
Professor Renate Klöcking told the meeting that it is planned to organize a second Symposium in Bad Langensalza, Germany on 25 - 27 May 2005. The topic will be “Peat Preparations in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Cosmetics”.

The Commission members also discussed the Neydharting Round Table Conferences, which have been organized already 15 times (Peatlands International 2/2004, 48-51pp.). The participants of the meeting considered it very important to continue such meetings in the future. These conferences have been a very good forum for open discussions about balneological problems. The next meeting could be, at the earliest, in the autumn 2005; about the exact date will be discussed later on.

Annual Report 2003

In the year 2003, no decisive changes have taken place in the Commission, except the decease of our old true member Prof. Dr. Vera P. Solovieva, Odessa from the Ukraine.

We have been trying to serve the aims of IPS mainly by

The last aim has successfully be gained by the 15th Bad Neydharting Round Table Conference which we organized in October 2003, thanks to the help of our friends from the Heilmoorbad Neydharting GmbH, in long-standing manner.

This time, we have been discussing, amongst ”normal” medical and balneological topics, mainly the legislative situation in the EU and the respective nations, which is – to say it frankly – a disaster for the producers of curative peat, peat substances and preparations. This topic led to the presence of some producers, which we could bring, although competitors in some places, to a very friendly brainstorming on the problems.

For the first time, we had IPS members from the Czech Republic, Estonia and the UK at the face, which is showing that the benefit of the Neydharting talks got around.

A comprehensive report on the 15th Bad Neydharting Round Table Conference is in the hands of the IPS Secretariat.