During the early stages of my Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSS), I was looking left and right for alternative treatments to help me with my eczema and TSS. During that time I also started a new job and didn’t want to go on medical leave. I had no timeline of when I would be able to return to work. I started Googling random terms alongside eczema to find a hidden gem. I googled things like natural eczema treatment plans, natural treatment plans for TSS, eczema diet plans, etc. When I googled “spas for eczema”, I came across a place called Avène Hydrotherapy Center in France. It is located in the rural town of Avène.
What is Avène Hydrotherapy Center?
Since the beginning, Avene Hydrotherapy Center has been dedicated to skin care using scientific hydrotherapy treatments. This Center offers hydrotherapy treatments for both adults and children suffering from dermatological conditions and side effects following cancer treatments, skin burns or surgical procedures, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, ichtyosis,m prurigos, seborrheic dermatitis, couperose, rosacea and more. How can this place bring relief only using water? Sounds too good to be true right?
What is Avene Thermal Spring Water and where does it come from?
Avène’s thermal spring water is naturally mineralized spring water mainly composed of significant amount silicates, a low sodium, a calcium / magnesium ratio of 2 (expressed in mg / l minerals) and a wide variety of different trace elements according to Avène. The thermal water comes from a spring with deep origins. The water has been deep within the spring for more than 40 to 50 years.
Magnesium can detoxify the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin, and clean the skin. Magnesium is more effective in treating and/or relieving areas of the skin that are prone to allergic reactions. Magnesium is also very effective in reducing wrinkles and fine lines which is a side effect of continued use of steroid creams.
According to LiveStrong.com, Calcium in the epidermis helps your body regulate how fast it creates new skin cells to replace old ones. When you lack calcium, the epidermis may appear fragile, thin and dry. Calcium also works with the epidermis to produce sebum which is a natural skin-coating substance that helps your skin retain its moisture.
Avène currently provides three types of treatments: dermatological hydrotherapy, dermatological hydrating hydrotherapy and oral hydrotherapy. The doctor will determine which treatment plan is best for the patient or may incorporate all three. Below I’ve summarized what each treatment means.
- Simple bath: this program is meant for infants age 3 months and over. It consists of two simple daily baths using the Avène thermal water under the supervision of a parent
- Bath, Whirlpool Bath, Hydromassaging bath: In this treatment, children and adults take a bath in a whirlpool bath. The air bubble effect of the underwater jet is supposed to optimize the soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of the thermal spring water
- Full body showers and sprays: The full body shower last about 5 minutes on average and assists with the elimination of all the skin particles scaled off by the bath. The full body spray is administered as a mist. The mist is said to optimize the anti-itching and soothing properties of the thermal water
- Compresses: Made out of cotton, the compress is soaked with the thermal water and applied to the most inflamed areas between 10 to 30 minutes.
Dermatological hydrating hydrotherapy
- Body wraps: patients are covered in a thick layer of an emollient cream and then wrapped in an occlusive plastic film between 45 minutes to an hour
- Facials with emollient cream: patients receive a facial massage using a hypoallergenic emollient
- Scalp wraps: A scalp emollient is applied to the patients scalp by a nurse followed by a massage that lasts between 15-20minutes
- Hydro-heliotherapy: this treatment focuses on patients being exposed to the sun in a controlled environment after spraying the skin with the thermal water
- Some treatments will require patients to drink the water as well as mouth washing with the thermal water
Your next steps should be to determine if you have the time and financial flexibility to visit the Avène Hydrotherapy Center in France. They offer treatment programs for 6, 12 or 18 days. Please also factor in accommodation and transportation since these are not included with the cost of the treatment program. The Center is only open between March and November throughout the year.
The first thing you need to do is book an appointment with an Avène Hydrotherapy doctor, then book your accommodation, book your treatment and then transportation.
If you are still not convinced that this may be a viable treatment plan, please see the news articles below which may change your mind. Please do your due diligence regarding the Avène Hydrotherapy Center, the treatment plans, the costs, etc.
My main goal is to spread the word about this Center because no Doctor or Specialist presented this as an option to me. If my parents or myself had known about this place years ago, things would be much different. I have not visited this Center yet due to timing and costs however, if my eczema gets out of hand again, I will definitely be heading to France!
*I am not being paid by Avène or anyone to write this article. I just want to spread the word about another alternative treatment for all other dermatological conditions that do not use steroids!
Avène Hydrotherapy in the Media: