Gastein is effective – scientific findings

A research group has compiled and examined several studies in order to determine whether, and how, Gastein therapy is effective. A complete summary can be read in the RADIZ Informational Booklet No.25/2005. These were the results:

Effects of Gastein Therapy

  • Scientists examined the effects on pain thresholds, pain intensity, functional limitations and consumption of medications
  • All studies indicated significant therapy success extending for several months after conclusion of therapy
  • Directly after the treatment program, no difference was established between the benefits of radon therapy as compared to the same therapy without radon. HOWEVER: In the subsequent 3 to 6 months, patients who had been treated with radon experienced significantly less pain. More recent studies have shown that, in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis, patients became pain-free and had a significantly reduced need for medications over a period of 9 months.

The Chief Physician at the Gastein Healing Gallery, Prim. Univ. Doz. Dr. Bertram Hölzl, when discussing certain physical conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative diseases affecting the joints and spine, speaks of very high success rates of as much as 90%.

Success rate up to

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

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Negligible risk

Radiation exposure due to radon therapy is significantly below average natural annual radiation exposure of 2.5 mSv. The actual dosage associated with a course of therapy involving 10 to 12 therapy sessions in the Healing Gallery is between 1.8 and 2.2 mSv. Bearing this in mind, the proven benefits of radon therapy far outweigh any hypothetical risks. 


If we compare the purely hypothetical risk with the side effects of rheumatism medications, such as non-steroidal antirheumatics (NSAR), radon therapy is clearly preferable to taking prescribed medications. The danger of undesirable side effects from these medications affecting the stomach and intestines is relatively high. Over 70% of patients treated with NSARs present changes in their gastric mucosa. In 10 to 20% of severe complications, the result is fatal. That said, the hypothetical risk of radon therapy is far lower than the actual risk from NSAR side effects.

Bystander Effect: minimal radiation, major benefits

Actually, the alpha radiation only reaches a small fraction of all cells. However, due to high linear energy transfer of the alpha particles, there is a strong cellular reaction. In addition, we encounter the so-called “Bystander Effect” observed in adjacent cells. If the internal cellular “repair system” in any given cell is activated, the surrounding cells also emit anti-inflammatory messenger substances. This explains why very low doses of alpha radiation can have such exceptionally positive benefits.

How it works: explained simply and scientifically

Studies describe the process that is activated inside the body by radon therapy. Put very simply, a chain reaction is triggered, which stimulates the cell’s own repair system, sends out anti-inflammatory messenger substances and stabilizes the immune system.


Expressed scientifically, the following is happening: The immune response in inflamed tissue is down-regulated. Experimental results and physiological observations indicate a molecular and cellular reaction pathway. This occurs during apoptosis of individual skin cells or the cells of pulmonary tissue. Apoptosis is a preprogrammed, natural and regulated form of cellular death not causing any information, since regular cell death constantly occurs naturally inside the human body. In this way, apoptosis begins a process that multiplies anti-inflammatory cytokine signals (anti-inflammatory messenger substances), dendritic cells (the cells of the immune system) and T-helper cells (initiating and immune response). This leads to a reduction in inflammatory macrophage and neutrophil activity (other cells within the immune system) as well as leukocyte migration (white blood cells). This same underlying principle applies to therapies involving ultraviolet-B as well as x-ray radiation.


In this way, alpha radiation stimulates cytokine production and stabilizes cellular immune response, thereby reducing inflammation, balancing, as well as renewing and repairing cells.

Mag. Dr. scient. Med. Martin Gaisberger, scientific and operations director of the Gastein Research Institute, explains the effects of radon therapy in brief.

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