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Zurab Pagava: Location of Georgia Palace Plays Special Role in Decreasing Risks of Cardiovascular Deceases

According to researches, deceases of heart, brain, aorta, and peripheral vascular system are the largest reason behind mortality and invalidity in the entire world. However researches exist confirming that this statistics can be decreased by 50% with the help of preventive and rehabilitation activities.

Are there any rehabilitation and preventive spas in Georgia, what is thalassotherapy, and what role does Kobuleti 5-star hotel Georgia Palace play in it? These are the questions we asked the head of the cardiological department of Bokhua Cardiovascular Centre, Zurab Pagava, MD.

It is a well-known fact that cardiovascular deceases are the largest reason for mortality and invalidity in the entire world. What role does effective conduct of preventive and rehabilitation activities play in decreasing these risks? Can they change this statistics for the better?

Rehabilitation programmes are an integral part of patient care in modern cardiology. They imply risk factor management for cardiovascular deceases, therapy through physical training, correction of nutritional, psychological, behavioural, and social factors. The main aim of such programmes is to integrate patients both into the social environment as well as labour activities. It must be mentioned that preventive and rehabilitation activities conducted in qualified and timely manner can bring down sickness and mortality caused by these dangerous deceases to 50%. A special place in prevention and rehabilitation belongs to the spa aspect, which reflects in the following:

  • Continuous growth of number of publications dedicated to balneological and spa treatment (both clinical and experimental);
  • Increase of international authority of national balneological congresses and strengthening of connections between balneological associations of different countries;
  • Acknowledgement of balneological and thermal medicine within the medical science;
  • Evaluation of potable samples (hydroponic treatment) and efficiency of balneological inhalation and irrigation;
  • Climate therapy and thalassotherapy: in many countries, besides hydrological and balneological interventions, climate therapy and thalassotherapy methods are used based on geographical location and natural characteristics.

What does thalassotherapy imply and what benefit does it bring to patients?

Thalassotherapy comes from the Greek “Thalassa” which means “sea” and implies treatment by sea. It is based on systematic use of sea water, sea food, and sea climate. There is an opinion that the main effect of thalassotherapy is achieved through dosed absorption of elements existing in the sea water – magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, iodine – into human body through skin. Special attention is given to sea plants that affect skin pores.

It is considered that development of thalassotherapy started in coastal towns on France. Thalassotherapy is also popular in Portugal. In this regard, the Black Sea coast of Georgia, and Kobuleti in particular, are no exception. We also have fantastic conditions for application of this method of therapy.

What role does the Black Sea climate play in the treatment of various kinds of deceases?

The Black Sea coast and especially Kobuleti are a unique zone for prevention and rehabilitation of cardiovascular patients.

The climate is subtropical, with very soft winter without snow (average temperature in January is +4.8 C) and very warm summer (average temperature in August is +22.6 C). The open location of the retreat allows unhindered movement of sea and land breezes that considerably decrease the heat in summer creating comfortable thermal conditions in the afternoon, while considerably decreasing humidity in the night. However it must also be mentioned that the amount of precipitation is quite high throughout the year and amounts to 2514 mm, while the comparative humidity reaches 81%. The daylight lasts 2200 hours, winds are weak, strong ones occur rarely.

I think some historical aspects regarding Kobuleti will be interesting as well, such as the development of the retreat zone:

  • In 1879 it was decided to de-swamp Batumi area under the management of doctor Zhilinski;
  • In the opinion of military medical inspector Remert and military correspondent Frenkel, after de-swamping this area could be turned into a spa zone;
  • In 1898 Petersburg Medical Society sent Grigori Volski (brother of the famous politician Giorgi Volski’s grandfather) to give a report on climate conditions of Batumi and vicinity at the first assembly of balneology and climate therapists;
  • In 1903 the Medical Society officially applied to city council with the request for mediation with the Caucasian Central Board in order to establish health and climate stations in Batumi and around it;
  • In 1904 the first climate station was established in Kobuleti and Green Cape.

In regard to prevention and rehabilitation of heart, brain, aorta, and peripheral vascular system deceases, the situation is far from satisfactory. It is improvement of these conditions and implementation of new international standards that the project “Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Deceases in Georgia Palace” organized in Georgia Palace Hotel, serves.

As far as I know, a project under the name of “Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Deceases” was discussed in Georgia Palace. Could you please tell us about this project, what are its aims, and also tell us a little more about rehabilitation in Georgia Palace.

First of all it must be mentioned that Georgia Palace is located in a special zone of Kobuleti. 50 years ago there was a special spa in this place that was intended for spa treatment and recuperation of the elite. A special commission was appointed for the selection of the place that studied every square meter of Kobuleti. Air and water samples were taken during different seasons. Finally it was this place that was selected. I can’t tell you what made it stand out among the others, as the materials seem to be completely secret and it is virtually impossible to find them. But one thing is for sure that this place and, correspondingly, the spa located here, were specifically targeted at patients with cardiovascular deceases and pathologies of the respiratory system, diabetes, etc.

Spa stage always had a special role. In the past our patients used to receive free travel packages and would come to the spa for a rehabilitation course. As I have already mentioned, the elite of that time had a special offer and it was here, “Tbilisi” spa located on this territory, that they would come (this was the name of the 4th Kobuleti Main Council spa). After a rehabilitation course tolerance of patients after a heart attack towards physical load would increase, while indexes of their repeated hospitalization would decrease. Their full medical, professional, sexual, psychological rehabilitation would be achieved.

Notwithstanding rich traditions and achieved success in Georgia, during the past three decades, the situation regarding prevention and rehabilitation of patients with heart, brain, aorta, and peripheral vascular system deceases is not very satisfactory. It is improvement of this situation and implementation of new international standards that the project “Prevention and Rehabilitation of Cardiovascular Deceases in Georgia Palace” serves, organized under the initiative of the well-known businessman Temur Chkonia in Georgia Palace Hotel. In September 2017 famous cardiologists, neuropathologists, angiologists, vascular surgeons, neural surgeons, spa therapists, pulmonologists, and physiotherapists gathered here. The reporters stated the importance and high benefit of the initiative in preventing and rehabilitating the above mentioned deceases.