- Title: GERMANY: RADIOACTIVE SPA
- Date: 30th January 2001
- Summary: SCHLEMA, GERMANY (JANUARY 2001) (REUTERS) SV/SLV SPA GUESTS SWIMMING IN RADON POOL (2 SHOTS) MCU (German) SPA MARKETING DIRECTOR EVELYN WEISS, SAYING " The radon intensely stimulates the body, activates the immune system and contributes to the persons wellbeing. The radon reduces pain."
- Embargoed: 14th February 2001 12:00
- Location: SCHLEMA AND BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Health,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAC38496KO8YZLO4WVN0XUW0QY3
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: As NATO's Balkans veterans fret about health risks from uranium munitions, a generation old enough to remember the last great European war is happily paying for a bit of extra radiation exposure.
Many Germans are turning to a century-old tradition to relieve aches and pains - radioactive spas. Everyday hundreds of senior citizens splash around in the waters of Schlema spa in eastern Germany.
They come to ease rheumatism and muscular pains. But Schelma is no ordinary spa, its radioactive. The waters contain low levels of radon, a gas generated by uranium as it decays. Sufferers swear it works. While experts, the military and governments debate the health risks of depleted uranium munitions, some elderly Germans are ironically paying for radiation exposure.
In the hills that form the backdrop to the spa pool lie disused uranium ore mines. Radon related lung cancer is estimated to have killed 5,000 miners in the 45 years the mines were active during communist rule. Despite the history the spa claims radon baths are safe and in small doses radon can cure ailments and even help revive sex lives.
Radioactive spas date back a century in Germany.
Schlema, with a population of 8,000, relies heavily on the spa for its economy.
There are a handful of radioactive spas in Germany - but other countries such as Austria, the former Soviet Union and Japan, promote them as well. The German health ministry supports radon therapy, but some doctors and radiation experts say they're dangerous.
For the patients the benefits seem to outweigh the risks of exposure. As long as it eases their pain and reduces the need for medication, these spa goers say they're happy to pay for a bit of radiation therapy and the glow of better health.
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