Health benefits of mud - can we get muddy on the NHS, please?

Mar 5 2014

Shy Spy


2 min read

I had a fabulous time on Saturday. I went with a friend to the Spa Intercontinental, an incredibly posh spa (we got a last-minute deal!) that's tucked away in a glitzy Mayfair hotel. We went to the spa to have fun and relax with some mud, mud, glorious mud in their rasul "Steam Temple".

Three types of mud

And fun is what we had. As I sat in the aromatic steam, smeared from head to toe in three different kinds of mud (a white smooth one for the face, a grainy yellowy mud for the arms and torso, and a coarse brown mud for our legs and buttocks), I got thinking… how incredible a spot of mud can be for the body and soul.

Over in mainland Europe, especially in Italy, mud is seen as a genuinely therapeutic treatment rather than a beauty therapy. I've stayed in a fangotherapy clinic in Abano Terme, where mud is a serious business. Your treatment always begins with a visit to the clinic's doctor. According to research (see below), mud can help improve circulation, soothe aching and tired muscles, reduce swelling in joints, and reduce short-term pain. Mud's a natural exfoliator and is said to help smooth wrinkles, and refresh the skin.

I came away from my mud experience feeling incredibly blissed out. My eternally-sore leg muscles weren't aching and my skin felt absolutely wonderful.

Why don't we, in the UK, take advantage of this natural marvel, which did seem to do me a world of good?

Imagine, if next time you went to the doctor with an aching back, they wrote you a prescription for a deliciously relaxing session of soothing mud! How much happier might that make you than a prescription for anti-depressants or pain-killing pills? Still, while we're waiting for mud to appear on the NHS, why not check out a mud treatment at a spa or treatment room, instead of a massage, next time you're feeling achey and tired? I felt, ahem, muddy marvellous for days!


* The Clinical Journal of Pain: September/October 2002 - Volume 18 - Issue 5 - pp 302-309

* Pietro d'Abano Centre for Thermal Studies in connection with the University of Padua


Shy Spy

5th March 2014

Spy Likes:

Instant results; jasmine and frangipani scents; hot steam rooms; a good selection of magazines; modernist decor.

Spy Dislikes:

Whale noises (on CD, not in the pool hopefully); hard massage beds; tiny toilet cubicles; being spoken to like a child; lukewarm pools.

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