Down To Earth

Mud therapy, a form of naturopathy, has tremendous beauty and wellness benefits to offer. KHURSHEED DINSHAW explores these and tells you why it’s a must-try.

Earthy (quite literally) and a powerhouse of minerals, mud is a therapeutic beauty aid. Its benefits have been raved about for centuries.In the 18th century, Europe saw the use of mud packs to treat chronic diseases. Naturopathy, which advocates alternative medicine, is all praise for the curative benefits of mud. The most commonly used form of mud therapy is the facial pack, but body wraps and baths are also gaining popularity for healing and rejuvenation.

How is the mud procured?
At the National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN), mud packs are made from mud that is naturally-sourced from seven feet beneath surface of uninhabited land. The institute gets the mud from forests and it is used to treat constipation, lumbago, abdominal cramps, chronic pains, influenza, rheumatism, gout, liver and kidney ailments.

The size of the pack depends on the width and circumference of the body part to be treated. “For making the pack, the mud is mixed with water and the paste is then put on a thin cotton cloth. This cloth is placed on the specific body area,” adds Dr. Yuvraj Paul, Naturopathy Physician at NIN.

Once mud therapy is completed, the skin becomes dry. It is a natural phenomenon. As it is the reaction phase, an hour’s gap is recommended before the application of any moisturiser. However, it is ideal to leave the
skin as it is for its normal secretions to start.

Where can you reap its benefits?
At the Hyatt Spa of Hyatt Pune, mud therapy is combined with a rejuvenating massage to make the experience refreshing and relaxing. The mud used is sourced from NIN. “This mud is then sieved to remove impurities like gravel, stones and grass particles. Once this is done, the mud automatically settles in its powdered form and is stored in airtight containers to retain its healing properties,” says Shul Ambwani, Director of Rooms, Hyatt Pune.

Normally in mud therapy, the mud is not applied on the palms and soles as the skin structure is different and the mud is not well absorbed there.

For 70 minutes of mud therapy, about 700 grams of the mud is mixed with water and rose water for an added aroma. This mixture is heated before application to eradicate the mud’s cooling effect.

It is advisable to go in for a mud wrap after mud application so that the body sweats and flushes out toxins. The wrap is followed by steam, which helps the mud to penetrate into the pores. After indulging in the therapy, it is recommended to sip herbal tea to maintain the accurate level of metabolism, to prevent dizziness and to up your energy levels. Also, taking light meals and not doing heavy physical work is suggested so that the body can heal itself after the therapy.

Beauty benefits
The beauty benefits of mud therapy are immense. It has a cleansing, refreshing and vitalising effect, helps to pull out toxins, removes dead skin and accumulated stress. It is an exfoliating agent that refines skin texture, improves skin appearance by activating blood circulation, relaxes skin pores, and reduces skin hypersensitivity. It also helps in the treatment of acne as its antibacterial effect destroys bacteria on the skin surface. “Black mud is therapeutic. It contains more than 20 kinds of salts and minerals including magnesium, calcium, potassium bromide, silicates and organic elements. While these beneficial minerals are useful for healing skin disorders, silicates help to soften and cleanse the skin,” explains Mr. Ambwani.

Mud also relaxes muscles and maintains metabolism, thereby aiding digestion. It relieves pain caused due to inflammation/swelling and stiff joints. So go ahead, get earthy and heal yourself.