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Hydrotherapy institute


The objective of the Hydrotherapy institute is to provide specialised courses to prepare students for professions involved in hydrotherapy (national diplomas, university diplomas, and in-service training).

The Hydrotherapy institute is a unique university establishment set up especially to promote experimentation in new technologies in its three key areas: research; training; documentation and communication, with the aim of producing a set of references for French hydrotherapy and specialised water cures that are recognised on at least a European scale.

Academic aspects

Academic details

Courses offered

The Institute will soon be capable of offering a full curriculum related to hydrotherapy, including undergraduate to doctorate courses, continuing education, and apprenticeships.

The University Diploma "Practical approach to hydrotherapy"

In 2001, the Hydrotherapy institute established the University Diploma (DU) "Practical approach to hydrotherapy", in response to the lack of specialised staff training criticised in the IGAS (Inspection générale des affaires sociales - General inspectorate for social affairs) report issued by Mr Deloménie in October 2000.

This aim of this initiative is to build up the credibility of hydrotherapy, while improving the qualifications of personnel working in hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy, and fitness centres.
This diploma is offered in continuing education. It is included in the Regional Council's education and training plan.

Professional bachelor's degree in "Technology and management of hydrotherapy facilities"

The aim of this professional bachelor's degree is to train mid-level managers as specialists in managing hydrotherapy water systems.
This national diploma is part of the European LMD (bachelor's degree-master's degree-doctorate) system, so students may attend another European university for part of their studies.

This professional bachelor's degree is unique, as it deals with water used to promote patient health in hydrotherapy establishments, as well as consumer health in general.
Students may take the full-time undergraduate course, or attend during continuing education or an apprenticeship.

Short courses

Short courses (1 - 3 days) will also be offered, in response to demand from this sector (continuing education).
Several university diplomas (DU for nurses and DU for physiotherapists working in hydrotherapy establishments) are also being considered.
Continuing education for doctors (mandatory) is also a natural "market" for the Hydrotherapy institute.

Research aspects


Research is a key element of the Hydrotherapy institute.
Projects focus on the following main areas:

  • clinical research
  • applied research
  • fundamental research
  • economic analyses of the hydrotherapy sector
  • health monitoring in the hydrotherapy sector
  • thermal mud.

Additional informations

Additional information

In addition to research and training, documentation is the third main objective of the Hydrotherapy institute. It is intended to act as a clearinghouse for reference documents and communication.

A clearinghouse for reference documents

The documentation service at the Hydrotherapy institute works very closely with Bordeaux Segalen university library. The objective is to constitute the only resource centre of its kind in France, by collecting all the books, theses, dissertations, periodicals, and miscellaneous documents concerning hydrotherapy. The resource centre will play a key role in supporting the main functions of the Institute itself, while remaining open to the outside world. It will be accessible to researchers and professionals in this field, as well as students. It will also be responsible for updating and managing the website and setting up a library of (technical) photos and equipment.


The communication effort will build up as the Hydrotherapy institute continues to develop. The Institute has contributed to the organisation of many events since it was founded. The development of communication tools adapted to different audiences will enable it to play its full role as a benchmark establishment in the hydrotherapy field. The communication centre will also very rapidly acquire the means necessary to promote the Hydrotherapy institute in France and abroad.


Organization chart

Jean Cambar


Christian-François Roques


Dr Karine Dubourg

Research Director

Eric Lacouture

Academic Director

Dorothée Lançon


Odile Tran Van Chuoi

Véronique Varré


Key contacts

Jean Cambar

Contact us

Tel. +33 (0)5 58 56 19 42
Fax. +33 (0)5 58 56 89 98

Website: http://www.thermalisme.u-bordeaux2.fr/

Address: 8, Rue Sainte Ursule
40100 Dax

Campus zone: Dax

Key figures

Key figures

The 1,600 m2 building includes classrooms, administrative and technical offices, a lecture hall, documentation services, etc.
The Institute has 176 m2 technical facilities supplied with thermal water, used mainly in applied research.

The Hydrotherapy institute currently has a core staff of five, supplemented by other academics and hydrotherapy professionals, to provide specialist input to classes.

The Hydrotherapy institute had around one hundred students in 2004 (full- and part-time).