Should You Start Taking Mud Baths? Why and How

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a woman taking a self care bubble bath
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Thursday May 30, 2024

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It’s pretty common to hear about kids playing in mud, but adults can join in on the fun, too. Mud baths have been available in spas for years now, though many are less inclined to get dirty at a place for relaxation. Why should you schedule one the next time you want a refresh?

Benefits of Mud Bathing

Surprisingly, baths with a bit of dirt have a whole host of benefits. Check out these fantastic positives you could experience.

Skin Health

Of course, the most notable plus to a mud bath is what it does for your skin. Mud is full of minerals that can help with many different skin ailments. For example, the sulfur it contains can help clear up acne and eliminate bacteria. Geothermal mud can include a mix of sodium, titanium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and more.

Hearth Health

Frequent baths in warm water can do a lot for your heart. Studies from Japan and Finland found that the number of times one spends bathing or in a sauna per week can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce blood pressure. The authors of the Finnish study said this could be because of better cholesterol levels and less inflammation.

While these researchers examined water baths, these benefits can surely extend to mud. Mud baths are warmed to the same temperature as your regular bath water, so the more you take them, the more positives you might see.

Arthritis Treatment

Because of that soothing warmth, mud bathing is emerging as an arthritis treatment. According to research from 2021, mud has been successful in helping those with knee osteoarthritis, with some success for psoriatic arthritis. Researchers also said they saw joint function and quality of life improve. Since the mud also holds heat much better than water, your soak will be comfortable the whole time.

Pain Reduction

According to the same study, mud baths have shown some merit in relieving back pain and one of their main effects is in pain reduction. Heat helps your blood vessels open up, which allows more blood to access the affected area. The influx of nutrients and oxygen assists in healing the injury or loosening stiff joints.

Stress Relief

It’s hard not to feel at peace when you’re in a nice, warm bath. However, there’s also a special bacteria in dirtMycobacterium vaccae — that can reduce stress. It displayed the incredible ability to activate serotonin neurons, lowering anxiety and improving the learning capabilities of rodents in the test. In a 2004 study, M. vaccae injections boosted the vitality and happiness of lung cancer patients.

When Did People Start Mud Bathing?

Bathing with mud or using mud on the skin has occurred in cultures worldwide for thousands of years. The Mayans used it to protect themselves from mosquitoes and the intense sun. If you wanted to take an overseas trip, you could visit the mud baths Cleopatra herself used in Turkey.

Allegedly, the Egyptian queen loved bathing in Pamukkale’s sulfur-rich mud and thermal pools, so much so that Marc Antony gifted her one in her namesake. Now, it’s a beloved tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you’re wondering about the usefulness of these baths, know you’re in the company of historical icons when you take one.

How to Take Your First Mud Bath

Diving right into the mud can feel a bit intimidating. Here’s what you can expect from a spa treatment and ways to replenish yourself at home.

What a Spa Mud Bath Is Like

You’ll prepare for your experience at a spa by undressing to your comfort level. Plenty of people love to enter the mud in their birthday suits, but many others will wear a bathing suit. If that’s more your style, make sure you use a bikini, one-piece or pair of shorts you don’t mind ruining — mud stains.

Once you’re ready, you’ll enter the room where the mud baths are. Every spa is different — some might use a free-standing tub, while others might set them into the floor so you can lower yourself down into the mixture. Either way, you’ll enjoy a muddy soak for up to half an hour, likely followed by a treatment like a massage or sauna.

How to Mud Bathe at Home

If you don’t mind making a bit of a mess, you can make a mud bath at home. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you climb in.

First, you can’t just go outside and scoop dirt into your bathtub. These treatments require specific kinds of mud from around the world that are full of minerals. You can either find such clay online, or start with a basic one and add the good stuff as necessary. Mix the clay with aloe vera paste or milk powder in a non-metal bowl with a non-metal utensil.

To get the bath going, add boiled tap water or spring water to wherever you plan to bathe, along with the powder mixture. You want the mixture to be loose enough for you to coat yourself in but thick enough to stay on your skin. Relax in the bath for up to 30 minutes.

While your mud bath will be slightly cooler than a sauna, limiting your time in it is vital to avoid getting lightheaded or dehydrated. The heat can cause your blood pressure to drop, so those with serious heart or blood pressure issues should stick to mud masks. When you’re done, let your body return to its average temperature before going out into the cold and give yourself a glass of water to restore any moisture you lost in the hot tub.

Start Experiencing the Benefits of Mud Baths

People have taken mud baths for thousands of years, so why not try one? There’s a plethora of positives you could gain from doing so. If your skin could use a bit of TLC, your arthritis is flaring up, or you need a bit of pain or stress relief, this treatment could be an excellent addition to your beauty regimen.

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