Description of the Research: 2008 - 2012
Bearing in mind this long-term ultimate goal, over the years of assessment a methodology was adopted such that in the first period of study, investigations were performed on a total of about 60 people, mostly women, and focused on evaluating the effects of "standard" thermal treatments carried out at the Ermitage, on the specific effects of mud-bath therapy, on the distribution of intra- and extra-cellular fluid in some areas of the body. There appeared to be a redistribution of fluids with a decrease in water retention in the lower limbs and a noticeable reduction of the circumference of some body parts and of total fat mass. In addition, in many subjects the concentration of triglycerides in the blood plummeted, accompanied by a reduction of cholesterol levels. The beneficial effects of the healthy food catered by Ermitage, together with the mud-bath therapy, most likely led to such benefits.
On the basis of these early positive results, the second phase of the study began in 2011, when the subjects, again mostly women, were asked to submit to an integrated protocol: simultaneous action of mud-bath therapy, exercise and personalized diet, combined with information about the importance of a healthy lifestyle to achieve and maintain optimal well-being and health. In the almost 40 subjects already studied there was a subjective improvement in the feeling of well-being, combined with objective evidence of weight loss and improved fitness and blood lipid profile. Check-ups carried out at the end of 6 months on some subjects showed that their stay at the Ermitage allied immediate benefits to long-term ones on their well-being, thanks to the compelling instructions and guidelines they were given during their stay at the Ermitage, which they later put to use at home.
In 2012 the plan is to continue with this winning strategy for the achievement of well-being; the study will also be extended to the assessment and prevention of an emerging disease in middle-aged Italians: type 2 diabetes, an insidious curse that has dramatic effects but appears without any symptoms and unexpectedly years after its onset, leaving its victim unaware. It is a complex disorder that is countered by an adequate and proper lifestyle, both of which can be found here at the Ermitage, as part of a scientific research project.