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Radon-Thermal Vapour Bath • Gerhard Röck
Public Therapy Department
Bad Gastein - Gastein Valley - Austria
Tel. +43 6434 6127 | Fax: +43 6432 722727

Radon - Inert Gas as a Therapeutic Treatment

Long before radon was discovered as an element by FE Dorn in 1900 there was a strong spa culture in Gastein based on the medicinal benefits of radon, although these were purely based on empirical data. He who heals is right!

One of the oldest spa facilities in Gastein is the radon vapour bath, which was built in 1825 over the Elisabethquelle. The radon gas that is released there and the active aerosols (radon vapour) are collected over the spring and passed through a shaft system into individual cabins, which enclose only the body of the patient. During the bath, therefore, the patient can breathe fresh air, while in the cabin the temperature of the radon and the aerosols can be adjusted by a steam system similar to a sauna.

The duration of the bath of about 20 to 30 minutes and the temperature of the bath of between 32° and 41°C can be tailored at each session to the patients individual needs. The body surface is thus optimally stimulated and the radon can easily pass into the body through the skin. This differential therapy avoids unnecessary strain on the lungs and provides excellent protection of the heart and circulation while ensuring the optimum input of radon through the skin.

Radon is an inert gas with no reciprocal effect which can easily be absorbed through the skin or the lungs. The radon is then distributed through the bloodstream and by diffusion throughout the body and can thus reach the centres of inflammation in patients, where it can unfold its healing effect. The details of exactly how this action takes place have not been clarified step by step. The primary absorption of radon, the break-down of radon in daughter elements which remain in the body, and the rapid elimination of superfluous radon are well understood at a physical level.

A few hours after a vapour bath treatment the patient is once again free of radon. A surprising effect which has been proven in patient studies is the anti-inflammatory effect, which only appears weeks after treatment.

The individual steps in this chain of reactions are currently being scientifically investigated in domestic and foreign research institutes. 

Strain on the lungs in the radon vapour bath is largely avoided by the closed cabin technology and - similar to full radon baths only more intense - the technique used of absorption of radon into the skin. Radon vapour baths not only protect the cardiovascular system, they are also ideal for patients with lungs that are already under stress such as former or acute smokers. The radon vapour bath is particularly suitable for disabled people, for patients with cardiovascular problems and for patients suffering from claustrophobia.

The vapor bath is a very effective alternative to other radon treatments and can also be used on an alternating basis with these. The long tradition of the vapour bath as one of the oldest radon baths in Bad Gastein is clear evidence of its high degree of effectiveness.

Prof. Dr. G. Kraft