Public interest in spa therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic: analysis of Google Trends data among Turkey

Kardes S.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOMETEOROLOGY, vol.65, no.6, pp.945-950, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 65 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00484-021-02077-1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.945-950
  • Keywords: Balneotherapy, COVID-19, Google searches, Hydrotherapy, Internet, Rehabilitation, SARS-CoV-2, Spa therapy
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In Turkey, spas are widely used and preferred by patients who are seeking relief from their disability and pain. The spa therapy program is partly reimbursed by the national health insurance system. The objective of the present study was to leverage Google Trends to elucidate the public interest in spas in Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic. Google Trends was queried to analyze search trends within Turkey for the Turkish term representing a spa (i.e., kaplica) from January 01, 2016, to September 30, 2020. The relative search volume of "kaplica" was statistically significantly decreased in the March 15-May 30, 2020 (- 73.04%; p < 0.001); May 31-July 25, 2020 (- 41.38%; p < 0.001); and July 26-September 19, 2020 (- 29.98%; p < 0.001) periods compared to similar periods of preceding 4 years (2016-2019). After June 1, 2020, the relative search volume was shown to have a moderate recovery, without reaching the level of 2016-2019. Public interest in spas showed an initial sharp decline between mid-March and May, with a moderate increase during the June-August period. This finding might be indicative of public preference in undertaking spa therapy during the COVID-19 period. In Turkey, spas might be used to increase places providing rehabilitation for both non-COVID-19 patients and survivors of COVID-19 with long-term symptoms during the pandemic.