Gastein works - results from science

A research group has summarized several studies and verified whether and how the Gastein cure works. You can read this summary in the RADIZ information booklet No. 25/2005. These were the results:

Effect of the Gastein cure

  • The effect on pressure pain thresholds, pain intensity, functional limitation and medication consumption was examined.
  • All studies showed significant therapeutic success over many months after the end of therapy
  • Immediately after the cure, there was no difference in the healing success of radon therapy compared to the same therapy without radon. BUT: In the follow-up period, after three and six months, the extent of pain was significantly lower in patients treated with radon. Recent studies even show a freedom from pain and the associated reduction in medication for 9 months in ankylosing spondylitis.

The head physician of the Gastein Heilstollen Prim. Univ. Doz. Dr. Bertram Hölzl speaks of very high success rates of up to 90% for certain diseases such as Bekhterev's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and regenerative diseases of the joints and spine.

Success rate up to

Prim. Univ. Doz. Dr. Bertram Hölzl explains how the Gastein Heilstollen works

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Risk insignificant

Radon therapy radiation exposure is significantly lower than the natural annual radiation dose of 2.5 mSv. The dose during a cure with ten to twelve entries into the healing tunnel is 1.8 to 2.2 mSv. Thus, the proven benefits of radon therapy are far higher than hypothetical risks.


Comparing this purely hypothetical risk to the side effects of rheumatism medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), radon therapy is clearly preferable to taking medication. The risk of adverse gastrointestinal side effects is relatively high with these drugs. More than 70% of patients treated with NSAIDs have gastric mucosal changes. Severe complications of this end fatally in 10 to 20% of cases. Therefore, the hypothetical risk of radon therapy is much lower than the real risk of NSAID side effects.

Bystander effect: small radiation, big effect

In principle, the alpha radiation reaches only a very small fraction of all cells. Due to the high linear energy transfer of the alpha particles, there is nevertheless a strong cellular reaction. In addition, there is the "bystander effect" of the neighboring cells. If the cell's own "repair system" is activated in one cell, the surrounding cells also send out anti-inflammatory messengers. This explains why the very low doses of alpha radiation nevertheless achieve a high effect.

The effect process: simply and scientifically explained

The studies describe the process that is triggered in the body due to radon therapy. Simply put, a chain reaction is triggered that stimulates the cellular repair system, sends out anti-inflammatory messengers and stabilizes the immune system.


In more scientific terms, what happens is this: The immune response in inflamed tissues is downregulated. Experimental results and physiological observations point to a molecular and cellular response pathway. This occurs during apoptosis of single skin cells or cells of lung tissue. Apoptosis is a pre-programmed, natural and regulated cell death that does not trigger inflammation, as the regular death of cells is intended in the human body. Thus, this apoptosis starts a process of proliferation of anti-inflammatory cytokine signals (anti-inflammatory messengers), dendritic cells (cells of the immune system) and T-helper cells (they initiate an immune response). This leads to a reduction in inflammatory macrophage and neutrophil activity (other cells of the immune system) and leukocyte migration (white blood cells). This principle of action also takes place in therapies with an ultraviolet B or X-ray radiation.


Alpha radiation thus cranks up cytokine production and the balancing of the cellular immune response and thus has an anti-inflammatory, stabilizing, cell-renewing and -repairing effect.

Mag. Dr. scient. Med. Martin Gaisberger, scientific-operational director of the Gastein Research Institute, briefly explains the effect of radon therapy

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