What is Mud therapy and how does it work?
Mud is one of five elements of nature having immense impact on the body in health as well as in sickness. Historical records suggest that mud packs and mud baths have been used therapeutically for hundreds of years. The mud used for therapy is able to transfer heat, relaxing muscle tension, reducing pain, and easing stiffness in joints. Due to his high mineral content, mud has a drawing effect that is detoxifying and healing.
Our mud contains a high concentration of minerals and powerful trace elements that have an ionic exchange capacity through skin, therefore providing powerful detoxification through topical bathing applications such as mud compresses and soaks.
Mineral Therapeutic Virtues of Mud
Our bodies are being constantly attacked by toxins present in our environment. Regular removal of toxins from our body is essential as a high toxin load can cause many illnesses, chronic pains, low energy levels, skin conditions, neurological problems and even cancer. Thermal mud applications open the skin pores allowing nutrients in and acids out. It actively draws out lactic acid and metabolic wastes from tissues. Humic substances, abundant in mud, are very effective chelators - they bind with toxins such as heavy metals and remove them from the body for effective detox*. As your body part temperature rises under the warm mud compress, the skin literally does an exchange of toxins for minerals from the mud.
The skin's three layers can naturally absorb the composition of minerals and elements of the mud. In Eastern Medicine the skin is known as "The Third Lung" and due to its ability to circulate blood throughout the vessels of the skin, this flushing out process of the skin's layers is considered to have similar benefits of a cardiovascular workout. But, instead of depleting the body of electrolytes and minerals, mud is adding them to the skin and lymphatic system. Quintessence adheres to the philosophy of treating the skin from the inside out, which in turn assists in the relief of ailments and enhances the well being.
Physical Therapeutic Virtues of Mud
Besides mineral absorption, mud applications are highly therapeutic due to mud's special thermal properties. Due to its high mineral content, it is storing the heat very easily when it is warmed – it is thermopexic - and it is letting the heat stored during the warming process to go to the body very slowly – it has a reduced thermal conduction (because of this, applied warmed on the skin, the sensation of heat received by the body is reduced compared with a bath warmed at the same temperature). The cold/heat retaining abilities act to reduce swelling and/or encourage blood circulation more effectively than traditional cold/hot packs used in clinics today. Heat boosts the metabolism, relieves muscular tension and stimulates the endocrine system. The mud is absorbing the water like a sponge, being capable, in the same time, to melt it perfectly – it is hydropexic. The outcome expectations include less pain and swelling over affected areas of the body, which makes it useful in the treatment of edema.
Our Special Muds
At Quintessence, we use 100% natural, non-pasteurized, free of any preservatives mud that comes from three of the world's geothermically richest locations:
- the Dead Sea
- the Techerghiol Lake by the Black Sea in Romania and
- the Torf Moor from Czech Republic, from the world renowned Karlovy Vary Spa region
Each type of mud has its own specific composition and physical characteristics:
The Dead Sea Mud
Since the time of Cleopatra, people have revered the mud found at the bottom of the Dead Sea and have used the rich mineral mix for healing baths and beauty treatments. Its high concentration of chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, and bromine help relax muscles, ease pain, and stimulate circulation, which makes it particularly useful in the treatment of dermatological conditions, such as psoriasis, acne, dandruff, eczema, and dry skin. Dead Sea Mud re-hydrates tired skin, deep cleansing and naturally increasing circulation and make the skin look and feel younger. The richness of the sea offers the perfect antidote for dry, mature and sensitive skin. Studies show that Dead Sea mud baths can successfully alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia. Scientific articles about the therapeutic use of Dead Sea Mud:
Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology. 44(2):151-157, February 2005.
Antimicrobial properties of Dead Sea black mineral mud. International Journal of Dermatology, Volume 45 Issue 5, Pages 504 - 511
Sapropelic mud from Ghiol Lake by the Black Sea is the jewel of Romania. In 1890, at the Universal Exposition from Paris, the Techirghiol mud received the golden medal. It comes from an unpolluted area and is alkaline (pH = 8.2). Black Sea Mud ("Namol") has extraordinary effects on degenerative rheumatic diseases - all kinds of calcification - (cervical, lumbar and dorsal spondylosis, cox arthritis, gonarthrosis, arthritis of the hands and feet, chronic lumbago), inflammatory rheumatic diseases (pain in the joints after acute articular rheumatism or infections in foci, rheumatoid spondylitis, rheumatoid polly arthritis) and articular rheumatic diseases (tendinitis, tendomyositis, scapula humeral periarthritis, panniculosis, fibrillosis), as well as post-traumatic conditions (after operations on muscles, tendons, joints and bones, healed, after twists, luxations and fractures, after recent, operated, lumbar disk hernia), peripheral and central neurological disorders (post-traumatic paralysis and paresis of the limbs, polyneuropathies after the acute stage, sequelae after poliomyelitis, late sequelae after paraparesis and hemiparesis), gynecological disorders (ovarian insufficiency, chronic cervicitis, chronic metrosalpingitis secondary sterility, sequelae after genital tuberculosis, 2-3 years after stabilization), skin diseases (scaly dermatoses, incipient ichthyosis keratodermatitis, chronic eczema, urticaria), respiratory diseases (trachea bronchitis, chronic bronchitis), cardiovascular (Raynaud's disease, acrocyanosis, erythromelalgia, incipient varices, phlebitis sequelae, varicose ulcer) endocrine (benign hypothyroidism and mixedema, per pubertal Hypo arianism) and other disorders. The town of Lake Techirghiol was developed in a region where human evidence has been certified since Neolithic Age. The first document is certified in 1560, when the settlement (Tekfür-köy) was mentioned in Sultan's papers; many legends about the therapeutic effects of the Lake are known. The name refers to the gray color of the lake water ("ghiol") and the waves form some stripes on the water surface ("techir").
Moor mud comes from a 20,000 year old glacial valley basin that never drained away allowing the moor to retain all of its organic, mineral, and trace elements. Composition analysis has shown that the Moor mud is uniquely rich in decomposed plant life, with over a 1000 plant deposits: flowering herbs, seeds, leaves, flowers, tubers, fruit, roots, and grasses. Over 300 of which have recognized medicinal properties. Unlike other mud types, Torf Moor Mud contains virtually no clay (less then 3%) and consists of organic residue of herbs, flowers and grasses. Over period of thousands of years this residue was transformed into a fine paste that easily dissolves in the water, which has unusual concentration of bio-minerals, trace elements, vitamins, amino acids, plant hormones and fatty acids in a molecular form that is easy for the human skin to absorb. Think of it as a plant extract not from just one plant, but hundreds that reflects environment of Earth 10.000 years ago, without present day pollution. Its uncanny ability to heal, nourish and detoxify has been observed by people for millennia and used scientifically in European Spas for well over a century. The thermal springs have been flowing in Karlovy Vary for 15 million years, and a spa has stood on that spot since 1338, attracting such luminaries as Beethoven and Napoleon. Moor mud is used not only to beautify, but also to cure multitude of ailments from mobility problems, arthritis, gout, skin problems such as acne and hormonal imbalance to post surgery recovery and muscle recovery in sport medicine. Its actions are thermo-physical, biochemical, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and natural antibiotics*. Because peat has chelatic properties (it binds heavy metal isotopes) it is a very strong natural detoxifier*. It contains a high amount of humic & fulvic acids which are chelats. Chelats bind with heavy metals and other toxins and help to keep them away from the body tissues. Moor Mud (BALNEO-Peat) bath is one of the most popular procedure in European Health Spas. Unlike other mud used in therapy, contains virtually no aluminum oxide.
Forms of Mud Therapy:
Cold applications: applied at room temperature for acute inflammatory episodes: it causes cooling by absorbing the heat of the body, reduces the inflammation of the area and improves the circulation, absorption and elimination. It is a great purifier as it draws away the toxins from the system by increasing circulation in the affected part where it is applied.
Applied in form of wraps and cataplasms. Apply in thin layer and wash when dried.
During sun exposure, in the hot season, the mud is used for unction (lubrications). This is the oldest method of mud usage.
Warm applications: applied at 42-45°C for chronic stubborn conditions. First of all, warm application of mud increases the surface temperature of the specific area of the body where applied and stimulates its warmth receptors, causing vasodilatation. A lack of blood flow to an area leads to poor oxygenation delivery, poor metabolite removal (such as carbon dioxide, urea, lactic acid), poor nutrient delivery and poor delivery of immune cells. Over time, these problems may lead to joint degeneration, pain, stiffness, cancer, malnutrition and chronic disease. Effects of vasodilatation: improves the blood flow (which helps in tissue metabolism, increases nutrients absorption, removes waste products and decreases venous congestion), reduces blood viscosity, improves the delivery of leukocytes and lymphatic circulation increases due to increase in permeability of capillary, which helps in removal of waste product and increased nutrient to cell. On the other hand, in order to maintain body temperature constant, preoptic area of anterior hypothalamus excited and passes the impulse of sweating to cord through autonomic pathways and then through sympathetic nerves to skin. Sweating is the process of removing excess heat from body. Sodium and chloride ions are lost in profuse sweating. During this process precursor fluid is secreted. They pass through duct slowly so sodium and chloride ions are reabsorbed and there concentration falls to low. This fall, in concentration of ions reduces the osmotic pressure of fluid to such a level that water is also reabsorbed. Decrease concentration of sodium and chloride ions allows progressively better conservation of salts. Aldosterone is secreted as a result of decrease concentration of sodium and chloride ions, which helps in better conservation of salts. This process helps in maintenance of electrolyte concentration. Thus it helps in thermoregulation, it also helps in excretion of some salts like ammonia and by products considered toxic. In the same time, the mineral content of mud is absorbed through the pores, insuring the re-mineralization of the skin.
Preheat therapeutic mud up to 42-45°C, apply to problematic areas, cover with tissue napkin or cellophane film, then with a terry towel. After 20-30 minutes wash off with warm water WITHOUT USING SOAP.
Mixed with the water, for baths in bathtubs. Done in the convenience of your home for 15-20 minutes. Perfect for detoxification purposes. After the bath, take a warm shower without soap and make sure you keep warm to permit the perspiration reaction to take place for an extension of the biological effects of the mud.
Whatever form of use might be appropriate for your condition, mud is offering relaxation, reducing stress and producing a general state of well-being.
Quintessence Mud Therapy Protocol
Each session of our thermal mud therapy is divided into four phases:
1. the application of the mud compress (warm or room temperature, as suitable for your condition)
2. rest for 20 minutes with mud
3. cleaning of the skin and
4. a quick stimulatory massage which magnifies the beneficial effect of mud on the muscles and the nervous system (5-10 minutes)
At Quintessence, we utilize one time use Torf Moor Mud compresses designed with a special technology that allows us to treat our clients effectively and highly hygienically. The system consists of a Torf Moor Therme Mud detox pack and a matching HydroPack (heat carrier). The key component is a unique single use moor mud pack - a layer of an organic moor mud (balneo peat) sealed between permeable membrane and leak-proof plastic sheet. The membrane allows for contact between skin and mud, yet prevents mud to stick to skin. The system is designed to deliver constantly increasing heat to the treated area for a the length of the treatment (usually 20 minutes). After application the pack is easily removed and skin can be cleaned with just a towel.
Indications and normal reactions:
Indications of the thermal therapy include: muscle stiffness, muscle spasms, chronic pain, chronic injury, poor healing tissues, postworkout soreness, fatigue, weakened immune function, cold extremities and gynecological problems, including infertility. Mud therapy has been traditionally used for centuries for rheumatic diseases, chronic arthritis, spine diseases, muscular atrophy, post-traumatic and post-surgical adhesions and scarring, chronic skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema) and chronic gynecological diseases.
At the beginning of the course of treatment, the chronic disease may experience slight aggravation, since metabolism becomes more active. The stimulation of numerous skin receptors by warm mud increases the restraining processes in the brain cortex, which explains the slight drowsiness of the patient during the procedure and especially after the procedure. Consider resting or doing light tasks after the therapy for the rest of the day.
What do I need to wear?
What part of my body do you wrap?
The therapy targets specific areas of your body that pose specific problems (joints, abdomen etc.) but at the beginning of the therapy we recommend wrapping of larger areas, for detoxifying purposes. Our wrap material does not contain latex.
How many wraps will I need?
It depends on your condition. Usually, you will need a series of wraps to see long lasting results (anywhere from 8 to 12). We recommend 2 to 3 times a week. After you have reached your desired result, you can continue to be wrapped 1 or 2 times a month to enjoy continued benefits.
Can I use mud at home?
Absolutely. You can use mud in any form described above in Forms of Mud Therapy as long as is suitable for your condition and for best results you should make sure you are doing it properly. However, you should not use more forms of mud therapy in the same period of time. For instance, once we established your condition is suitable for a specific form of warm therapy, you should not use any "cold" therapy forms as it might aggravate your condition.
We are not
permitted to commercialize Torf Moor Mud compresses at this time. However,
we sell mud packs that you can dissolve in your bath tub or will allow you
to create your own healing compresses in the convenience of your home!
General contraindications of mud applications:
Acute or chronic feverish disorders
All infectious diseases during the contagious period or in convalescence.
Venereal diseases in contagious stage.
General debility state, no matter the cause
Hemorrhagic states, repeated and abundant, of any sort.
Pathogenic germs carriers or parasites infested
Pathologic pregnancy in any month, or normal pregnancy after 3 months
Blood or system disorders with general well being alteration (anemia, leukemia)
Psychopathic disorders with social behavior disabilities
Chronic alcoholism with neural-psychic disorder
Diabetes, hard to control by diet and drug therapy, especially the insulin dependent one.
Cardiac insufficiency, hepatic insufficiency or manifest renal insufficiency.
Each session of Torf Moor Therme Mud application as described above (60 min.) $60
10 sessions: $500
Add-on Chinese acupressure and massage(20 minutes) $40
* special discounts available for elderly and those facing financial hardship
Products for home use available in our Herbal store.
Additional scientific studies about mud therapy:
Mud compress therapy for the hands of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology International, 2005 Jan; 25(1):49-54.
Therapy With Mud Compresses for Knee Osteoarthritis: Comparison of Natural Mud Preparations With Mineral-Depleted Mud, JCR: Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. 8(4):197-203, August 2002
The efficacy of balneotherapy and mud-pack therapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Joint, bone, spine : revue du rhumatisme. 2007 Jan;74(1):60-5
Effect of hyperthermic and isothermic mud application on hormonal function of normal and insufficient corpus luteum in women, Annales Academiae Medicae Stetinensis, 1993;39:133-46.