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The therapeutic properties of mud and clay have been known since antiquity. For centuries the Chinese used them in poultices to cure inflammation. Hippocrates (460-337 BC), one of the fathers of western medicine, recommended this treatment, as did many other doctors long ago, such as Empedocles (490-430 BC), Galen, in the 2nd Century AD and Paracelsus, in the 16th Century, who all mentioned various popular remedies based on the use of clay and mud in their natural medicine treatises.
These remedies provided the body with basic ions for its heatht, such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, iron or potassium.
The special climatic conditions of the Mar Menor, with a high percentage of sunshine hours per year and high salinity, have favoured the deposit of clay over the centuries, which are highly indicated for therapeutic treatments in various areas of the Mar Menor. Analyses carried out by the Murcia (1995), shows that these sediments contain a high percentage of positive ions: calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fluoride, in addition to negative ions: chlorine and sulfate, found in much higher levels than expected in waters with this degree of salinity. Furthermore, the measurement of the grains of sand in the area reveals a high percentage of fine and very fine sands (mud and clay), which are the true artifices of the healing properties attributed to the mud. The pH is basic and ranges between 7, 12 and 8, 45.
The foundation of the mud`s therapeutic action is its great power of absorption, its mineralizing action, its capacity to neutralize acidity and its stimulating wound-healing effect. For this reason, it is recommended for many types of skin pathologies. One layer of clay applied to the skin absorbs all the toxins of the peripheral connective tissue system and eliminates lymphatic toxins from the dermis.
It acts as a kind of blotting paper for the skin. Its high-calorie conductivity also makes it appropriate as an anti-inflammatory element in cases of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and rehabilitation following a broken bone. It is also recommended for throat infections.
It is advised to start the application of mud baths in a few areas, leaving it on for about an hour at first. If there are no side effects, the time can be gradually extended and thicker layers applied. It is best to apply the mud in the sun and when it is hot so that the layer of clay dries quickly and thoroughly. Between one application and the next, the affected limb should be washed with saltwater.
The Mar Menor is a very salty lagoon in all its areas. The characteristics of its water are determined by its exposure to the sun, wind, and above all, its communication with the Mediterranean through its channels. The recordings of ion concentrations of certain elements present, such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, bromine, iodine, and fluoride, are much higher than in the Mediterranean.
It has been demonstrated that thermal treatments using this type of salty water produce an osmotic effect on the body`s interstitial tissues, thus stimulating overall blood circulation. As a result, toxic particles are eliminated and the muscles relax, which is good for arthritis, rheumatism, tendonitis, nervous disorders and all types of joint pathologies.
For mud baths treatments, the traditional best-known area is “Las Charcas”, in the north of the lagoon, where the seabed contains a great treasure of medicinal sediments. Saltwater baths can be taken anywhere in the Mar Menor.