Covid-19: in Ussat-les-Bains thermal water treats Covid symptoms for a long time

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In the village of Ussat-les-bains, a new cure appears in the thermal area. These new treatments are aimed at people who have contracted the so-called “long” Covid or are experiencing side effects.

After crossing Tarascon-sur-Ariège, go to the right bank of the city to reach the town of Ussat-les-bains. Legend has it that the first exploitations of the Ussat thermal site date back to the 15th century. Four hundred years later, the seaside resort of Ariège continues this heritage of natural advantages. A new project will be launched this year, the “Covid suites” module, which aims to eliminate symptoms that persist over time.

After the prescription of the attending physician, the course extends over three weeks. A “sufficient” period to support customers, according to Emmanuel Sanfilippo, the head of the thermal baths. This innovative module is not yet reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM). Patients will therefore have to pay 205 euros. A maximum of twelve people can participate in a session. “And to be profitable, you need a minimum of eight beneficiaries,” explains Sanfilippo. A first session was scheduled for April, but had to be canceled due to insufficient reservations. It was therefore necessary to wait until the end of the month before the first dozen patients could be treated.

“There must be an emulation”

By being in the mountains of the Ariège for three weeks, the members thus establish a bond between them. “We want there to be a sense of competition, that everyone can push themselves up. There has to be a break in the lifestyle,” says the director. The schedule is well developed to allow clients to practice classic hydrotherapy in the morning, between bath, shower and massage.

In the afternoon they are taken care of by the doctors on site. Members also have access to sophrology sessions and discussion groups to help combat post-Covid anxiety. Not to mention rehabilitation with physiotherapists to work on their balance or muscle strengthening. According to Emmanuel Sanfilippo, these activities have “an analgesic role”.

“A Public Health Mission”

The idea had been germinating in the head of the director of the thermal baths of Ussat-les-Bains for some time, “since we also treat psychosomatic diseases. The National Council of Thermal Establishments (CNETh) for its part thought about it. There was a crossing of ideas, they entrusted us with this new task. †

Of the three thermal centers present in Ariège, Ussat-les-Bains is the only seaside resort to present the module. There are only four in Occitania (see box). The leaders of the Ariège site think that this kind of therapy will become more democratic in the future. “If the practice is covered by health insurance, we believe there will be more clients and more resorts developing this practice. †

The thermal centers have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and have been closed to the public for a long time. “We still have not found a pre-Covid presence. This new module has a public health mission. The thermal baths find people and we take care of the patients,” explains the director of the thermal baths. A win-win system, in a sense.

Only four stations in Occitania

As of now, the long Covid is treated as a disease in itself. After infection, symptoms can last for three months or more. Occitanie is one of the most important spa regions in France, with a total of 29 resorts and more than 200,000 spa guests per year.

But only four of them offer this three-week stay based on Covid-19: Amélie-les-Bains, Molitg-les-Bains (Pyrénées-Orientales), Cauterets (Hautes-Pyrénées) and Ussat-les-Bains. This therapy, still very young, is beginning to develop throughout France and has appeared in Isère and Savoie (Alps), but also on the Atlantic coast, in Charante-Maritime.

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