What is Clay therapy and how does it work?
Healing properties of clay are well known since ancient times. Egyptian scrolls, ancient medical documents written in old Greek and Latin languages attest the use of this ‘natural and live earth’ in the treatment of internal inflammations, infections and burns. Its rich content of minerals (Fe, Ca, Mg, Si, Na, K and many more) makes clay one of the most powerful healing treatments. Clay has a remarkable absorption property and therefore it is recommended in the majority of illnesses and medical conditions.
Due to its high ionic exchange capacity, Montmorillonite Clay (also known as French Green Clay) is a great detoxification product. Its detoxifying properties are explained by two main factors:
1 - Its negative cumulative ionic charge which helps to attract and bind positively charged toxic waste and eliminate it out of the body.
2- Its ability to swell in water and expand due to its high montmorillonite content. This expansion means a larger absorptive area which allows the clay particles to attract a much higher percentage of toxins than other types of clay.
French Green Montmorillonite clay (named after its discovery locality, Montmorillon in France) is like a sponge, attracting water and toxins not only to its negatively charged surface, but also inside its numerous canals, 'trapping' them there via ionic exchange process. The body gets the 'good' mineral from the clay in exchange with the toxins.
At the microscopic level, each clay
particle contains two cavities or inter-layers around which are
arranged molecules with a strong negative charge. The exterior of each
clay particle contains a positive charge, albeit much weaker than the
negative charge inside the particle. Toxins within the body have a
positive charge and these are attracted to the clay particle. At first
they stick to the edge of the particle, then the toxins undergo ionic
exchange and drawn inside the clay molecule. The inter-layer expands
as the toxins are taken inside the particle. Pesticides, herbicides
and heavy metal excess attach and bond to the exterior of the clay
particle. These are safety carried away when the clay is rinsed off
When mixed with water, clay forms a temporary colloidal system in which fine particles are dispersed throughout the water. Eventually the particles settle to the bottom of the container, but a variety of mineral ions will remain in the water. These mineral ions are available for absorption, while other minerals that form an integral part of the clay particles may, in some circumstances, be available for absorption through ionic exchange at the point of contact with the intestinal villi.
A German scientist once described the bactericidal properties of clay: "The curative properties of clay are founded in its special physical characteristics, above all in the distribution of its minute particles. Individual clay particles are smaller than many bacteria. If infected mucous membranes are more or less flooded with clay, the bacteria are completely surrounded by clay particles and are thus separated from their source of nourishment and become imbedded in the inorganic material. Growth and the survivability of the bacteria are thus halted almost instantaneously, and from this explained strikingly speedy abatement of the symptoms of infection and/or symptoms of poisoning in acute infectious diseases of the alimentary canal." Julius Stumpf, Bolus fur medizinische Anwenduno Darmstadt, 1916, p. 19.
In addition to these valuable properties described above, the clay we use is high in trace elements vital for health. Among the many types of clay we selected one of the most outstanding forms of Montmorillonite, the brown trace mineral from Panaca, Nevada.
"The Panaca Montmorillonite deposit is superior to all other known deposits. All of the other deposits of which I am aware, were formed by volcanic action which means that most of the elements present are in the inorganic state, and are not really assimilated by animals and humans. Inorganic minerals such as dolomite, ferrous sulfate, zinc gluconate and calcium gluconate when ingested, must be made soluble in the stomach. At the same time protein is hydrolyzed into amino acids. When both are done, and conditions are right, the mineral is chelated by the amino acids, meaning suspended between two or more amino acids. Once chelated the mineral can be metabolized." (The Trace Mineral Story, by Melchior Dikkers PhD - research biochemist)
The majority of all diseases are probably enzymatic in origin. Since metabolism is synonymous with enzyme activity, and enzyme activity is dependent on the presence of trace elements, it is axiomatic that proper proportions of trace minerals are the best defense nutritionally to ward off the threat of disease. Just about any symptom may therefore be a manifestation of a certain mineral deficiency, or lack of a combination of minerals. Just one, concrete example of proactive benefits of trace minerals from Benjamin Erschoff PhD, should illustrate, who reports, “Clays composed of the Montmorillonite group of minerals someday may replace calcium as a dietary supplement for promoting bone health. Adding calcium alone to the diet does not change the situation, but adding clay does. Montmorillonite clays contain something (trace elements) besides calcium which improves the body’s ability to change calcium into bone.”
For information regarding the mineral content of Panaca Montmorillonite clay click here
Internal Use of Montmorillonite Clay - Benefits
1. Helps remove heavy/radioactive metals out of the system. Very useful for smokers whose systems will contain excessive cadmium. Effective for other types of toxicity, including mercury.
Read studies about it:
Adsorption of a few heavy metals on natural and modified kaolinite and montmorillonite: a review. Advances in colloid and interface science. 2008 Aug 5;140(2):114-31. Epub 2008 Jan 17.
Adsorption and desorption of 85Sr and 137Cs on reference minerals, with and without inorganic and organic surface coatings. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 2008 May; 99(5):831-40. Epub 2008 Mar 4.
Sorption and desorption of radiocobalt on montmorillonite--effects of pH, ionic strength and fulvic acid. Applied radiation and isotopes, 2008 Mar;66(3):288-94. Epub 2007 Aug 21
Inactivation of cadmium induced immunotoxicological alterations in rats by Tunisian montmorillonite clay. International immunopharmacology, 2007 Jun;7(6):750-60. Epub 2007 Feb 16.
2. Antibacterial properties - Clays have been given as rations to Russian and German soldiers during both wars to help prevent and treat diarrhea and any other stomach upsets. Particularly useful in detoxifying the digestive system. Clays help to free the digestive tract of harmful toxins released by bacteria, parasites, fungi. It is the first remedy for food poisoning. First natural remedy against food/toxic poisoning. Large amounts of clay water are taken as soon as the first symptoms of poisoning are experienced - straight after the stomach flush.
Broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activities of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. The Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy 2008 Feb;61(2):353-61. Epub 2007 Dec 10.
3. Promotes regular bowel movement when used properly (see Directions)
4. Works effectively against fungi, namely candida - the most abundant fungus in our bodies which can lead to a number of illnesses if left untreated.
Adhesion of the clay minerals montmorillonite, kaolinite, and attapulgite reduces respiration of Histoplasma capsulatum. Applied and environmental microbiology. 1986 Jan;51(1):65-73.
5. Clays are used to neutralize free radicals. Clays have been and are being used by the military and at sites of radioactive exposure. The most well-known use of clays for this purpose has been Chernobyl, where clays were used to help reduce effects of radiation in the personnel and the population.
6. Used in liver detox protocols.
7. Increases the body pH level, reducing acidity.
8. Being extremely rich in minerals, they remineralise the body in the best possible way.
9. Clays are used to relieve food intolerances. However, care must be taken where there is an exacerbated condition of the digestive system - clays need to be introduced very slowly into the diet.
10. Helps to eliminate intestinal parasites.
For more information about clay benefits please visit:
Directions for internal use
French Green Clays can be taken internally mixed with water (don't let it get into contact with metal - it will upset clay's electromagnetic balance essential for healing). Start with 1/2 a teaspoonful or one small walnut size mixed with 200ml (7oz) of water. The clay needs to sit in water for at least three hours, but for best results soak it overnight. Start by taking it three times/day, 1 hour before each meal. The therapeutic course is for three weeks. During the first week just drink the water whihout mixing it with clay, then for the remaining time mix the water with clay using a wood stick (you could use plastic, but never use metal). Increase the dosage gradually over a period of 4 weeks, first to 1/2 tsp in the morning, 1/2 in the evening, then gradually increase it to 1 teaspoonful. After three weeks take a two weeks break. For maintenance, use the same treatment for 10 days/month.
The intake of clay is likely to be accompanied by symptoms of detoxification. It is advisable, before starting the regime of regular clay intake, to go on a detox regime for at least a week. This detox regimen will be detaily discussed before starting the clay therapy.
External Use of Montmorillonite Clay - Benefits
1. Ulcers and infected wounds will benefit most from clay applications. Clay is the greatest natural healer available to us. They were used during wars to heal badly infected wounds. Our ancestors used clays successfully for the same purpose. Now that scientists have proved antibacterial properties of clays, what has been known to man for thousands of years has at last been proved scientifically.
2. Clays are a First Aid remedy against concussions, ulcers, bruises.
3. Used as a mouthwash or toothpaste, clays promote healthy gums and teeth.
4. Used over burns /sunburn, cold clay compresses are the fastest healing and pain relieving remedy which helps regeneration of tissue and prevents formation of scars.
5. Used over a diseased organ, clays draw toxicity out of the area, relieve pain and promote healing.
6. Used on a tense, overworked muscle, clay compresses/ poultices will help draw out lactic acid, relax the muscle and bring it back to working order.
7. Used in a general bath or a foot bath, clays act as a very effective detoxifying remedy. For best results, internal clay use is recommended at the same time.
8. Used in an enema/colonic irrigation procedures, it is simply the best colon cleanser available to us.
9. Used as a vaginal douche, it can help with many problems including candida.
10. Used over hemorrhoids, clay helps heal them quickly.
11. Spots, acne, blemishes, oily skin, rashes.
12. Used on eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, it helps promote healing.
13. Cold sores - apply frequently to speed up recovery.
Directions of external use
For external applications clays can be used in compresses, poultices, baths, face masks, body wraps, powder applications to weeping ulcers, nappy rash, weeping eczema, fungal infections. They can also be used as tooth powders - calcium bentonite clays are excellent at removing plaque and whitening teeth, due to their bleaching properties (be careful not to over-use it for this purpose, since it can be abrasive and can wear down the enamel). In the cosmetics industry bentonites are used in soaps, toothpastes, face/body packs, and other clay-based products which are beginning to win the consumer over.
To make a compress, mix some clay with warm water to make it quite runny. Spread over a piece of cloth. Apply on an affected area. Cover with a compress paper, wrap up in a warm cloth. Leave on until the clay dries out. Apply on aching joints, muscles, in the area of organs affected by an illness.
A poultice has a much more powerful effect than a compress, since it requires a lot more clay per application - 0,5-2cm thick, and it works as a mass, drawing up toxic waste into itself. The electromagnetic charge is stronger too. So the overall effect is more powerful. It is especially good for applications on an affected area, or simply where a stronger action is required. Apply a warm poultice over the area, cover with grease-proof paper and a warm cloth. If an area is hot and inflamed, a cold poultice application is recommended to relieve the heat and reduce the inflammation.
A bath has a more general, less concentrated effect than a poultice or a compress. In cases of large amounts of clay being used, there may be problems with water drains afterwards. However, for this to happen, the clay solution would have to be rather thick. I normally keep stirring the water while it is being drained to avoid such problems. For a bath, take 500g-1kg of clay, mix it in warm bath water and stay in it for up to 30 minutes, or until the water starts cooling down. I personally prefer the Rapan clays for baths, because due to their saline nature the effects are so much more pronounced, that I can feel them while still in the bath. Never re-use clays/ clay water, since the point of using clay is to remove toxins, and re-using it would mean bringing the toxins back.
Basic face mask recipe: 1 tsp of clay + water to form a spreadable paste. Apply and leave to dry. Wash off, apply moisturiser. Clay masks can have other ingredients added, depending on the skin type and purpose of the mask. Green clays are excellent at restoring the natural pH of the skin and cleansing it. Acne/spots is another skin condition which benefits from clay applications - the French Illite is the best for it. Since green clays are great detoxifyiers, they leave the skin cleansed, pink, fresh and revitalised, generally looking younger.
Body wrap is another very useful application for green clays. It is a luxurious and thoroughly therapeutic treatment, especially with powdered seaweed added to it. Mix the clay with seaweed powder (50/50), add water to form a spreadable mass. To do it at home, prepare a place to lie on first, and a warm room. Lay down 1 or 2 warm blankets, with a plastic sheet on top. Cover yourself with the mixture of clay and water, or clay, seaweed and water, lie down on the plastic sheet, cover yourself with the remaining half of the blanket. Make sure you remain warm throughout. Stay under the blanket for 15-30 minutes. Wash off in a shower or a bath. For a salon application, follow the normal procedure for a body wrap.
Use dry clay powder on weeping eczema, ulcers, Athlete's foot, any sores and wounds which need disinfection and healing.
Tooth Powder/ Mouth infections
Green clays are great for gums, preventing formation of plaque and treating mouth ulcers. If an inflammation of the gums or a mouth ulcer occurs, take some clay into your mouth and keep it there for a while (10-15 minutes). Do not swallow - rinse the mouth with warm water. Repeat the procedure frequently, until the inflammation goes away.
Note: All information on this website is for informative purposes only. With all respect for everyone's right to choose methods of treatment and remedies, you are strongly advised not to resort to self-diagnosis or self-treatment. Do consult a doctor if you have an undiagnosed condition. If you are on a life-saving medication, please consult your doctor before using clays or any other alternatives.
Clay Therapy combined with the Far Infrared Mineral Lamp
For certain conditions, we use clay compresses in combination with the Far Infrared Mineral Lamp, currently approved by the FDA. The TDP (TDP stands for "Special Electromagnetic Spectrum" in Chinese) was invented by a group of scientists in China, headed by Dr. Gou Wenbin. The Far Infrared Mineral Lamp has been proven effective in treating numerous ailments such as muscular aches and pains, soft tissue injuries, arthritis and various skin conditions.
The critical component of the TDP lamp is the heat-treated black clay. The ceramic plate emits electromagnetic waves in the infrared range of between 2 and 25 microns. The absorbed energy promotes microcirculation and strengthens the immune system as well as relieves pain in the body. It also stimulates the accupuncture points at the treatment location, and stimulates microcirculation which results in the delivery of higher levels of oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues. The emitted FIM energy penetrates up to 3˝ inches.
This effect is greater in injured tissues, since there is less resistance to electrical current and electromagnetic force at locations of damage in the body.
Since far infrared promotes blood circulation, it causes the expansion of capillary vessels. Therefore, it assists in tissue detoxification and improved efficiency in the lymphatic system.
The Far Infrared Mineral Lamp has successfully treated up to 60 million patients in China, Hong Kong, South Asia, Japan, Europe, and Australia.
In some situations, such as with wound management, a gentle and warm clay pack is more advantageous to therapy than cool clay packs. A gentle warmth will prevent wound chilling which can slow down healing, and the heat provides comfort and relief.
Since the TPD lamp alone has been used successfully to treat localized infections, the mineral lamp and clay application is a perfect marriage. One receives the benefit of the mineral lamp, the heating advantage of far infrared, and the amazing benefits of local clay treatment.
The combination of the TDP mineral lamp and local clay therapy is ideal for soft tissue damage, muscle, tendon and ligament injuries, stimulation of acupuncture locations to the point we would call the combined therapy true "Qi Gong" therapy, skin conditions, general injuries, relief from localized arthritic conditions, as part of a support system for trauma healing ( spinal cord, bone damage etc.), reduction of localized inflammation. The treatment time for application of the lamp with clay is no more than 30 minutes, no more than twice daily. The TDP lamp can be used with clay compresses as well, as long as one considers that the added heat will cause the clay to dry very quickly.
To read more about TDP therapy click here
Combining Clay and TDP Mineral Lamp Therapy for Torn Tendon