The tiny village of Aven in the foothills of the Cévennes has only 80 inhabitants, but its name is known to any Frenchman. About 2,300 people make pilgrimages here every year, one third of them are babies and children from 3 months to 15 years.
All of them are heading to the Aven Hydrotherapy Center, which has become famous throughout the country for healing baths.
1) Aven hydrotherapy center is located in the south of France, 90 km from Montpellier.
2) The season lasts from March to October.
3) The cost of one week of treatment without accommodation is on average 200–300 euros.
4) At the hospital there are 2 hotels.
5) There are no diet tables in the restaurants at the hotels, but on the day of arrival you can hand over the list of prohibited foods to the chef. Another option is to rent a private apartment and cook for the child yourself.
6) All guests of the Aven Hydrotherapy Center can use the free pump room.
7) The village of Aven is located in the mountains, so it is better to take along more pills for motion sickness.
There are about 1,400 sources of thermal water in the world, but not everyone is suitable for treating skin diseases. Medicinal properties depend on the geographical location, geological biography and climate of the area. Thermal water Aven, flowing from the source of Saint-Odile, is nothing like the rain that has passed over the village 40-50 years ago.
It is exactly the time it takes for every drop that has fallen from the sky to first seep through the porous rock to a depth of 800 meters, and then travel back to the surface. On the way, the water is saturated with different minerals, but for the skin the crucial role is played by the ratio of calcium and magnesium (2: 1).
The proportion verified by the nature itself guarantees a double effect: the inflammation decreases, and the healing processes are accelerated.
It is known that dermatitis disrupts the capacity of cell membranes, so that useful substances cannot penetrate inside the cell. Calcium and magnesium debug this function, so that trace elements and drugs begin to be delivered to the address. In addition, with skin diseases, the body produces more lymphocytes, which, in turn, produce cytokines – substances that cause inflammation.
Inflammation increases due to itching, because while scratching, the integrity of the skin is broken, and harmful microorganisms get into the cracks.
Thermal water removes both of these problems: it blocks the production of cytokines and relieves itching. True, what components do these good deeds, scientists have not yet figured out. But that is not all.
Water from the source of Saint-Odile can and should be drunk, then the body will improve its health not only from the outside, but also from the inside. In skin diseases, the intestinal mucosa often suffers, and its microflora is disturbed.
In thermal water, in addition to minerals, there are beneficial bacteria that help restore balance.
The recovery rate is ideally designed for 21 days – this time is enough for the remission period to last six months. However, it can be reduced to 2 or even 1 week, but then the effect will not be maximized. The main procedure, which is prescribed to all guests, is to take baths with thermal water.
On average, it lasts 10−15 minutes. In this case, the parents are always next to the child. For the smallest there are separate baths.
All children take procedures in the common room so that time flies fun and unnoticed. Adults retire in individual booths.
Additional procedures are selected depending on the diagnosis. This can be a shower, general or point (for example, only for the face or scalp), massage, wraps with a therapeutic cream based on thermal water Aven or sunbathing in the warm season.
Of all the taps of the hospital, pure, flowing thermal water flows: they are connected directly to the source of Saint-Odile. The natural water temperature is 25.6 ° C, so some babies taking a shower is a little fun.
However, for the bath it is specially heated to 34 ° C, so that both adults and children feel comfortable.
The procedures are prescribed by a French dermatologist on the day of arrival, having examined the diagnosis made by the Russian doctor. To avoid discrepancies, it is better to translate the paper into English beforehand.
Since treatment with thermal baths is considered an additional therapy, no one cancels the treatment prescribed at home, but the number and time of procedures can be adjusted. There is no need to be afraid of the language barrier: half of the staff speak English, and the dermatologist Pavlina Dulgerova understands Russian because she is from Bulgaria.
On average, guests take 4 treatments per day. In total, they take 1.5 hours, so that the rest of the day you can indulge in rest.
On the territory of the hospital there is a heated swimming pool, a ball court, a tennis court, a children’s center where kids can communicate, draw and watch cartoons. The neighborhood is more convenient to explore on a rental car.
We thank the company Pierre Fabre for the opportunity to visit the Aven Hydrotherapy Center.