Mud therapy consists of applying medicinal mud to the skin. It is applied to the whole body or in the specific area to be treated. The skin absorbs the minerals, from both the mud and the water. These muds take a long time to cool down, which makes them very useful for treatments that require keeping the body at a high temperature over a long period of time.
The medicinal clay or mud can be either that taken from the riverbed or peat. It is usually composed of quartz, limes and clays and can also contain silicon, aluminium, calcium, sulphates, carbonates and phosphates. In the case of peat, it contains organic elements or humus. These substances are left to soak for months in mineral-medicinal water, normally chlorinated or sulphuric.
The medicinal muds are applied at 40-50 degrees, in sessions that can range between fifteen and forty minutes. The smaller the area of application the higher the temperature and administration time. Afterwards, the patient should wash and take a three or four minute bath at 37 degrees.
The effects of mud therapy are caloric, sweating, vasodilator, general stimulation of the body, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. It is suitable for rheumatic complaints and those of the skin, particularly psoriasis, and for the functional recovery of limbs and joints.
They are normally applied directly onto the skin of the patient, although, according to the illness, they can be applied onto an impermeable surface, so that the effect is purely thermal, without the absorption of minerals. Mud can also be added to a bath, as an additive to water.
When the mud is mixed with paraffin -another therapeutic substance-, it is called paraffin mud.