Mad for Mud and Water

Mad for Mud and Water

Soothe and heal with mud and mineral water.

By Nataliya Schetchikova, PhD
For centuries, mud and mineral waters—waters containing minerals, salts, sulfur compounds and gases—have been used in different healing traditions. Hippocrates recommended bathing in spring water to improve health. The people of Babylon used mud for managing skin disorders and rheumatic conditions.1 In medieval times, people treated iron deficiency by drinking iron-enriched water.2 In 17th-century France, mineral waters were sold in pharmacies.3
Today, mineral waters are bottled and distributed through supermarkets, with more than 3,000 brands available worldwide.4Mineral-water baths and mud baths are also popular attractions at spas—which have increased in number by 49 percent in the past 5 years, according to the International Spa Association.
While many visit spas for relaxation and rejuvenation, research shows there may be more to mineral water and mud than meets the eye. 
Muskuloskeletal Disorders
Many drinkable mineral waters are a calorie-free source of highly bioavailable calcium,5,6 aiding in osteoporosis prevention. Bathing in warm mineral water has also been shown to reduce pain and improve activity in patients with knee osteoarthritis—the improvement was sustained even after three months, compared to treatment with warm tap water.7
While tap water baths can also relieve back pain, sulfurated mud baths showed a significantly stronger effect than tap water in one study.1,8 Another study showed the potential beneficial effects of thermal mud therapy on osteoarthritis inflammation and pain.9 
Heart Health and Insulin Sensitivity
Sodium-rich carbonated mineral water has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol and to increase HDL cholesterol10,11and insulin sensitivity,12 suggesting its role in prevention of cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. In another study, natural mineral water, rich in magnesium, helped to decrease blood pressure in a group of patients with borderline hypertension.13
Respiratory Conditions and Gastrointestinal Health
Research shows that inhalation of thermal mineral water may improve nasal flow and reduce nasal resistance in patients with chronic sinonasal disease14 and decrease inflammation-induced bronchial obstructions in patients with chronic bronchitis.15
In addition, drinking mineral water was shown to be an effective adjunctive treatment in patients with GERD,16 and was also helpful in reducing symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia or constipation accompanying IBS.17
Skin Conditions
One study suggests that mud-bath therapy with mineral water may help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.18 Drinking mineral water has also been shown to improve softness, smoothness and skin-moisturizing effects in healthy subjects with dry skin19and may be a useful adjunctive remedy for dermatitis.20 
While mineral baths may help treat many cardiovascular, neurological and GI conditions, musculoskeletal problems, and dermatological and metabolic disorders, they’re not for everyone. Contraindications include acute stages of illness, infectious diseases, pregnancy, tendency to bleed, malignant lesions, stenocardia, heart asthma and some other conditions.21
source; ACAToday –
Nataliya Schetchikova, ACA News Associate Editor, can be reached at
For more information – a list of brands with mineral content – a list of worldwide spa locations by company, geography, and products and services
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2. Br J Hematology 2003;(122):554-562.
3. Rev Hist Pharm 2004;52(344):587-606. 
5. J Clin Gastroenterol 2004 Oct;38(9):761-6.
6. J Nutr Health Aging 2004;8(5):380-4. 
7. Clin Rheumatol 2007 Jun;26(6):890-4. Epub 2006 Nov 7.
8. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2000 Oct;7(5):233-6.
9. Minerva Med 2000 Oct;91(10):239-45. 
10. Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult 2007 Sep-Oct;(5):17-21.
11. J Nutr 2004 May;134(5):1058-63.
12. Nutr Hosp 2007 Sep-Oct;22(5):538-44. 
13. BMC Public Health 2004 Nov 30;4:56.
14. Acta Otolaryngol 2007 Jun;127(6):613-7.
15. Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult 1994 Jan-Feb;(1):12-4. 
16. Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult 2005 Nov-Dec;(6):17-9.
17. World J Gastroenterol 2006 Apr 28;12(16):2556-62.
18. Clin Ter 2005 Jul-Aug;156(4):145-9. 
19. Skin Res Technol 2006 Aug;12(3):199-205.
20. Skin Res Technol 2003 Feb;9(1):31-3.

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