While some believe that mud spas are just for beauty therapy, thermal mud is actually filled with a range of active ingredients including trace minerals and antioxidants. This is what distinguishes Rotorua mud from just pure clay. Whether you are looking to relieve rheumatic pains, rejuvenate the youth of your skin, or simply want to go somewhere a bit different for your holiday, Rotorua is certainly a top destination.
The History of Rotorua Mud Spa Therapies
Rotorua once drew tourists for a much different reason than it does today. Long before the mud spa's and thermal hot pools became a popular destination, people came from around the world to view the Pink and White Terraces -- geological formations that were once the eighth wonder of the world. In 1878 it was these terraces that drew an Irish priest to the area. Suffering from arthritic pain, however, he was apparently carried to the thermal hot pools and experienced enormous relief for his condition after bathing there. According to an article in The New Zealand Herald, published on April 30th, 2012, the Irish priest pronounced himself cured by the health benefits of Rotorua mud, beginning Rotorua's reputation among Europeans for soothing rheumatism and healing illness. Just 8 years after the Irish priest visited, the Pink and White Terraces were lost forever in the volcanic eruption of Mt Tarawera. However, today the mud spa's and geothermal pools still remain.
Rotorua mud spa and beauty therapies provide a rich variety of minerals, including sulphur (which gives the mud spas their characteristic "egg" smell), calcium, sodium and silicon.
The human body requires many of these minerals for producing healthy connective tissues, especially silica and sulphur, which are important for healthy skin, hair and nails. But does putting mud on your skin actually have any real benefit when you need the minerals inside the body? Apparently, yes. Mud spa therapies promote the release of several antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which protect the skin from free radical damage and early aging. These antioxidants also help to enhance levels of important skin-nutrients, such as vitamin E and C, in the body.
Rotorua mud spa therapies also have antibacterial properties. According to scientists from the National University of Entre Rios in Argentina, mud contains natural compounds with anti-inflammatory and bacteria-killing properties. These properties may be beneficial in the therapeutic treatment of acne, infection, inflammation and dermatitis.
The health benefits of Rotorua mud are more than just skin deep. After a long week of work and stress, heading to the mud spa may be just the place for you. Rotorua mud spa therapies are supportive for both the mind and body, and there is actually some hard evidence to suggest mud spa therapies have a positive effect on brain chemistry. Researchers from the University of Siena in Italy tested the effects of mud baths on various parameters of health. Mud baths had a beneficial effect on cortisol levels as well as the release of endorphins, over and above what is achieved from mineral or thermal water baths. This balance of hormones and neurochemistry will support greater feelings of well-being and relaxation, giving creedance to the marketing campaigns of mud spas such as those at Rotorua.
Aches and Pains
Traditionally the elderly would go to the mud to soak their tired and aching joints. Today, scientists and doctors are recommending patients with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis to do the same as their ancestors. While the pain relief obtained from mud spas, such as those in Rotorua, may be explained in part by the effects of the warmth and heat, scientists believe there is much more to it. Research into the health benefits of mud spa therapy in rheumatic and arthritic conditions is being conducted today on a worldwide scale.
In a 2010 clinical trial in Serbia, researchers had patients suffering from osteoarthritis use mud body wraps and take mud baths (in mud baths rich with sulphur, similar to the mud in Rotorua) daily. After 3 weeks, patients had significantly less pain. Researchers also found that patients undergoing the mud spa therapies had an increased levels of antioxidants in their blood, as well as increased haemoglobin levels, possibly explaining the health benefits of Rotorua mud and the relief of aches and pains that people feel when they go to Rotorua for mud spa therapies.