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The Maastricht Study

The Maastricht Study is a scientific study carried out by the Faculty of Medicine at Maastricht University. The study took place over ten years ago under the guidance of, among others, rheumatologist Professor Dr. Sjef van der Linden. The study was designed to investigate whether typical spa treatments combined with individual exercises and group exercise therapy would produce favourable results in rheumatic patients.

In 2001, the leading medical magazine Arthritis Care & Research published extensively on the Maastricht Study (ref: 45: 430-438, 2001).

In this study, two groups of patients followed a three-week therapy programme based on the approach of Dr Nico Wolter in two different locations. One group followed the programme in Bad Hofgastein, including therapy at the Gastein Heilstollen.

The results of these two groups of patients were compared to the results of patients in a control group that had pursued their usual rheumatic therapy and medication programme at home.

The study showed that following the three-week programme was of great value to rheumatoid patients compared to the control group.

This value included:

  • Improved physical functioning
  • Increased mobility
  • Energetic gain (less tired, etc.)
  • Greater strength
  • Fewer pain symptoms
  • Less inflammation
  • Less use of medication
  • Less downtime due to illness
  • Improvement of quality of life

This value was found most clearly for the group of patients who had visited Bad Hofgastein. Also, the improvements for that specific patient group remained present for an average of nine months – which is by far the longest period of all the groups in the study.