How reimbursed health stays at thermal spa centres in France work

Doctors and specialists can prescribe a stay at a spa centre for a wide range of health conditions with most of the costs, including travel, partly reimbursed. We explain

27 April 2021
The spa station Greoux-les-Bains in Provence. How reimbursed health stays at thermal spa centres in France work

Doctors can prescribe patients a stay at spa stations across France, including at this one, Gréoux-les-Bains, in Provence Pic: Chaine Thermale / chainethermale.fr/

By Hannah Thompson

People living in France may be eligible for a stay at a spa treatment centre, paid for (or partly) by French health authorities, depending on income levels. We explain how it works and who is eligible

Your doctor or specialist is the only one who can prescribe a thermal spa treatment plan, if they believe it would be effective for your condition. 

The plan must be medically prescribed and last 18 days, with treatments offered six days a week at the spa centre, to be eligible for reimbursement from l’Assurance Maladie.

Your doctor or specialist must sign you up to the plan via an official form - a sample copy of which can be seen here (in French). Up to two different conditions can be included on the form. 

Reimbursement for the plan should be processed within a month.

The costs of travel, treatments, and accommodation can be entirely or partly reimbursed, depending on the amount required and your income, and any previous treatments you have had in the past year.

The conditions that spa treatments may be prescribed for include: 

Rheumatology

Osteoarthritis - Degenerative and inflammatory rheumatism - Musculoskeletal disorders - Osteoporosis - Lumbago - Sciatica - Tendonitis - Rheumatoid arthritis - Ankylosing spondylitis - After-effects of trauma or surgery - Chronic inflammation of the tendons - Fibromyalgia syndrome - Joint stiffness - After-effects of fractures

See the participating spas for rheumatology (RH) here.

Lymphology and blood

Lymphatic insufficiency - Haemorrhoids - Heavy legs - Chronic oedemas of the lower limbs - Sequelae of phlebitis - Raynaud's syndrome - Venous thrombosis and sequelae - Vascular disorders of the extremities - Varicose veins and varicose ulcers

See the participating spas for lymphology (PHL) here.

Neurology

Muscular disorders of neurological origin - Fibromyalgia - Charcot Marie Tooth disease - Parkinson's disease - Paralysis after a cerebrovascular accident - Post Polio - Multiple sclerosis - Hemiplegia sequelae - Paraplegia sequelae

See the participating spas for neurology (NEU) here.

Respiratory tract

Respiratory allergies - Asthma - Bronchitis - Otitis - Sinusitis - Allergic rhinitis - Angina - Rhinosinusitis - Rhinoplasty - Recurrent rhinopharyngitis - Hay fever - Spasmodic cough - COPD

See the participating spas for respiratory tract (VR) here.

Digestive system and metabolism

Hepatobiliary disorders - Mild or moderate Crohn's disease - Mild or moderate haemorrhagic rectocolitis - Sequelae of intestinal parasitic diseases - Intestinal transit disorders

See the participating spas for Digestive and Metabolic System (AD) here.

Cardio-arterial diseases

Angina pectoris - Obliterative arteriopathy of the lower limbs - Arterial hypertension - Raynaud's disease - Sequelae of infarction - After-effects of surgical treatment: bypass surgery, arterial dilatation

See the participating spas for cardio-arterial diseases (CAM) here.

Mucosal disorders, Mucous membranes, Mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue, Mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue

Aphthosis - Dry mouth - Post-radiation burns - Glossitis - Intolerance to fixed or mobile prostheses - Leukokeratosis - Oral lichen planus - Periodontal diseases - Trauma or surgery after-effects - Stomatodynia

See the participating spas for oral mucosal disorders (AMB) here.

Urinary system and metabolism

Urinary calculi - Colibacillosis - Cystitis - Cystalgia - Urinary infection - Recurrent prostatitis

See the participating spas for Urinary Tract and Metabolism (UTM) here.

Dermatology

Acne - Scars - Eczema - Chronic pruritus - Psoriasis - Facial redness - After-effects of burns

See the participating spas for Dermatology (DER) here.

Gynaecology

Pre- and post-natal mini-cures - Pelvic and vaginal pain - Dysmenorrhoea - Recurrent infections - Menopausal problems - Painful periods - Episiotomy after-effects - Dryness of the pelvic mucosa

See the participating spas for Gynaecology (GYN) here.

Post breast cancer

To help with physical, social, professional, family and psychological reconstruction - To improve quality of life in the long term - To limit the risk of cancer recurrence, by giving the keys to avoiding weight gain and getting back into regular physical activity

See the participating spas for post breast cancer here.

You can also see the thermal spa centres near you on this map here.

More information on the conditions covered, the steps that need to be taken to book a participating spa trip, and the levels of reimbursement can be seen here on the government website.

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Doctors in France can prescribe a thermal spa break

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