Mud therapy, or fangotherapy as it is also known, is another spa treatment that has been used through the centuries and continues to be a key therapy in many of the world’s health spas.
In fangotherapy, warm mud is applied all over the body (the chest and left arm are sometimes omitted because of the high temperatures that the body reaches during the course of the treatment, but such temperatures will not be achieved when employing products designed for home use). The body is then wrapped in foil and covered with towels and blankets. Over the next 30 minutes, the mud begins to dry, the skin starts to tighten and tingle, and the body’s temperature rises to around 104-118°F (40-48°C), causing profuse sweating. Mud treatments are also suitable for the face.
WHAT SORT OF MUD?
We’re not talking any old mud here; there are two main types of curative mud.
DEAD SEA MUD
In the Dead Sea, black mineral mud is dredged from the seabed. It is made up of non-soluble clays, plus such high concentrations of magnesium, potassium, and calcium that only a few algae and bacteria can survive the conditions – hence the term “dead” sea.
The other type of mud comes from deep down in the earth, and is often of volcanic origin. It is laden with beneficial minerals, including magnesium, bromine, and iodine.
Both of these types of mud are available in health stores and beauty salons for use at home. The color of mud varies, depending on its place of origin, and different colors are suitable for different types of skin. Choose white clay for oily skin, brown clay or mud for dry skin, and green clay or Dead Sea mud for problem skins that are prone to blemishes.
Mud treatments are undoubtedly good for you, but we are still not sure exactly how they work. Stimulation of bone cells is thought to help those with osteoporosis; increased production of anti-inflammatory hormones alleviates arthritis; reduced water retention around areas of tissue damage speeds recovery after surgery or major injury. Mud therapy has even been shown to stimulate cartilage regrowth. According to researchers, this is why 88 percent of people with degenerative arthritis feel better after regular mud baths.
Other studies conclude that it is the heat generated that aids recovery. The mud is said to heat up the body in a special way, increasing blood circulation and releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. This eases muscle and joint stiffness, and reduces the aches and pains associated with arthritis, rheumatism, and other joint problems.
MUD PACKS FOR REJUVENATED SKIN
Mud packs are probably the oldest known facial treatment, and mud is renowned for its ability to improve the quality of the skin. Research has shown that warm mineral mud stimulates the underlying skin cells to produce new, healthy tissue. Some types of mud also contain natural antibiotics, such as sulfur, which detoxify, exfoliate, and rejuvenate the skin. A full body wrap is said to eliminate impurities and toxins, and so reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Rejuvenating mud pack
The next best thing to wallowing in the Dead Sea or having fangotherapy at a health spa is to try one of the many mud products that are available for purchase at home. This mud pack can be used both on the body and the face.
- 10 fl oz (300ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 8oz (225g) Fuller’s earth powder
- 1tbsp (15ml) almond oil
- 1 tsp (5ml) clear honey
- 2 drops sandalwood essential oil
Gradually stir the lemon juice into the Fuller’s earth powder to form a thick paste. Add the almond oil, honey, and essential oil to the mud paste, then stir in a little hot water to warm and liquefy the mixture. Mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon.
- Start by having a warm shower and exfoliating your body using a loofah or body brush. Spread the mud pack all over your body, starting with your feet and working your way up. Alternatively, concentrate on areas that need particular attention, such as the thighs. Don’t forget the back and face, particularly if you have problem skin.
- Lie down in a warm room and cover the mud-coated areas of your body with foil. The foil helps to retain the heat generated by the mud. Leave on for 15 minutes, then remove the foil.
- Get into a warm bath infused with a few drops of almond oil. Close your eyes and relax in the bathtub for at least 30 minutes. During this time the body continues to react to the heat of the mud treatment and the metabolism increases. More oxygen reaches the cells, and toxins and other impurities are flushed out of the body.
- After your bath, pat yourself dry with a warm towel; try not to rub the skin too briskly. Finally, drink several glasses of water to rehydrate your body with the fluid lost in perspiration.