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Senior doctor: hiking, mountain air and a healing tunnel relieve pain


People with chronic pain mostly struggle through everyday life. Family, work and household demands all of their strength. Holidays are often a lifeline in which important resources can be replenished. A holiday in the mountains is ideal for this. Health hiking on the mountain improves mobility and the alpine altitude trains the cardiovascular system. In addition, many of those affected also find help inside the mountain. In the Gastein Valley, for example, nature has created a healing climate of warmth, high humidity and radon.

Health hiking - relaxation for body and soul
Hiking in the great outdoors reduces stress hormones, gently trains endurance and strengthens individual muscle groups. "Patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain in particular benefit from the smooth movements of hiking," says Univ.-Doz. Dr. Bertram Hölzl, scientific director of the Gastein healing tunnel. This relieves pain and counteracts the stiffness in the joints. These effects are improved by the addition of spa treatments, which consist of exercise therapy, muscle relaxation and physiotherapy programs. They help to strengthen important muscle groups through stretching and strengthening and to relieve diseased joints. A new trend is the so-called health hiking. During the hikes, targeted strengthening, mobilization, coordination and relaxation exercises ensure an improvement in physical resilience. Those affected can find tips on this from spa doctors or their local physiotherapist.

Alpine air gets your cardiovascular system going
Competitive athletes regularly do their training in the mountains because it almost improves their condition on their own. But for everyone else, staying at alpine heights also has proven health benefits. Due to the lower atmospheric oxygen in the alpine regions, the body is in endurance training - this has a long-term effect on lowering blood pressure, although initially there is often a temporary reactive increase in blood pressure. The blood pressure should therefore be checked in advance and set correctly. The height also has a positive effect on blood count, oxygen transport, blood sugar, blood pressure and pulse behavior. "Thin, dry air and increased sun exposure also strengthen the body's immune system," explains Dr. Hölzl. Additional benefit: the lower oxygen content curbs appetite. And every kilo less relieves stressed joints and promotes well-being.

With the swimming trunks in the tunnel train
If you also want to reduce your medication consumption sustainably, you should pack your swimming trunks on vacation and head towards the mountain interior. Studies have confirmed long-lasting pain-relieving effects of so-called radon heat therapy in former mines. If you want to use the natural climate, you can take a train into the mountain as part of an outpatient treatment. Patients ingest the naturally occurring noble gas radon in small amounts through the skin and lungs. "Radon activates anti-inflammatory messengers in the body, thus relieving pain and accompanying complaints," emphasizes Dr. The effect usually lasts for several months, so that pain patients usually benefit from it at home for a long time.

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