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Dr. Vikram Chauhan - MD (Ayurveda)

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Mud Therapy & Health Benefits Of Mud Therapy In Ayurveda


Can having fun in the mud improve your health? Don't believe it? Let's have a look at it! Naturopathy was discovered by Dr. Benedict Lust and came into existence in the 18th and 19th centuries and it just grew out of the electrical system of healing. This system of medicine was influenced by the philosophy given by Hippocrates in which he used the Latin term "Vismedicatrix naturae" which meant "the healing power of nature". The term naturopathy was coined by John Scheel in 1895. The main objective of this pathy was to get rid of toxins out of the body by any means of nature but not medicines and one such means that is widely used all over the world and is trending these days is "Mud therapy" also known as Kayakalpa therapy. In this article, we will learn about mud therapy, its introduction, its origin, its types, its ayurvedic and scientific viewpoint, its advantages and disadvantages, and much more.

Mud Therapy, What is Mud Therapy, Health Benefits Of Mud Therapy, Types of Mud Therapy, Health Benefits, Ayurvedic remedies, Herbal remedies, Ayurvedic treatment


Our earth is made up of multiple compounds that are rich in minerals and that are known to boost the immunity of an individual. One such compound is clay or mud which has evolved out of lava and is rich with minerals and is believed in many religions to have healing properties for multiple health issues and have almost zero side effects. Mud therapy comprises the use of mud which is a combination of 95% clay and 5% algae, bacteria, and protozoa that are macerated and put into specific tanks also known as maturation tanks for about 50 to 60 days with a stream of spa mineral water that flows constantly at a temperature of 60 degrees celsius to create thermophilic and non-pathogenic communities inside that mud that enriches the mud with active principles (due to chemical and physical changes in soil) that has various health benefits. Mud therapy has been here since ancient times and has religious as well as spiritual beliefs in its application. No matter it is the mud festivals in Korea or the Dead Sea mud baths, people are aware of the fact that mud has numerous benefits and can be used for many health issues but before diving deep into this topic we shall be discussing the origin of mud therapy.


Mud therapy also known as fango therapy, involves mud application on the body and was discovered by Ancient Romes who discovered the healing powers of this procedure in Borneo, Italy about 2000 years ago. The benefits of mud or earth are extensively discussed in the Vedas. The Vedas define several approaches and therapies for the sick and one of the oldest and most effective treatments has always been mud. Mud Therapy became trending and was once again used as a beneficial therapeutic tool in current times. German therapist Emanuel Felke, known by the nickname "Clay Pastor," attempted to revive mud therapy. One of the pioneers of natural medicine, Adolph Just, felt that if sleeping and laying on the ground at night could become normal, all ailments would be healed. Europe saw a rise in the popularity of mud treatment from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Pharmacology made advances in the second part of the 20th century, which led to the notion of mud therapy being thought of as an alternative treatment. Additionally, the current backlash against synthetic medical treatments and the increased demand for natural health and wellness practices support the revival of the spa treatment concept which exclusively includes mud therapy. The usage of Dead Sea mud in Israel dates back millions of years, and everyone from Roman Caesars to contemporary visitors has lauded its healing properties. The best frequency, temperature, and length of treatments were determined via several tests, but no one could ever fully understand how mud therapy works to heal.


Mud therapy is known to work on some principles and these are as follows: -

  1. Mud can absorb toxins, which are then expelled from the body through the skin.
  2. Mud softens hard tissues by reducing their stiffness.
  3. Mud can be employed because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties in a wound, acne, arthritic condition, etc.


It might seem to look like mud therapy involves the use of mud that can be any kind of mind found in our gardens or backyards after rain showers and wherever but this is not true. The type of mud used in the process of mud therapy is not ordinary mud but it is mud with loads of benefits and is prepared specifically with different processes for different health issues. Mud therapy is usually given to an individual at mud spa centres after much interrogation regarding the history of the issue that an individual is facing and based on that mud is chosen. Apart from that, the qualities of mud also vary from place to place. The mud used in this therapy also possesses the following qualities:-

  • It increases the rehydration volume,
  • It increases thermo insulating capacity.
  • In the case of osteoporosis, mud therapy helps to restore balance in cellular activity in the process of remodelling bones restoring its balance,
  • Mud therapy boosts bone mineral density in cases of menopausal osteoporosis when given in combination with calcium supplements,
  • Mud therapy increases serum antioxidant defences in arthrosis patients,
  • Mud therapy is known to influence chondrocyte activities,
  • Mud therapy possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-degrading properties.

The mud used in mud therapy is collected from beneath the earth with a depth of usually 120cms to 150cms with proper removal of bacteria, viruses, pollutants, chemicals, and other impurities followed by putting it under the sun or heating up to 60 degrees Celsius for mineral activation and this mud is known to be detoxifying and rejuvenating in nature and helps to restore the pH balance of the skin and remove the dead cells.


The mechanism behind the mud therapy application and working can be discussed under four points: -

  1. Mud's dark color aids in absorbing the spectrum of sunlight's colors and transferring them into the body, providing them medicinal effects.
  2. Second, because the mud holds onto moisture for a long period, it has a cooling effect when applied to the body.
  3. Thirdly, it is simple to apply since its form and consistency can be modified as per the requirements by simply adding water.
  4. Mud therapy is easily available and is lighter on pockets.

When we discuss the mode of action of mud therapy, we divide it into four aspects i.e. chemical, thermal, mechanical, and electrical effects (that includes physiological and pathological effects) of mud on the body. These can be examined as follows: -

  1. Thermal effect of mud therapy on the body - The effect of the desired temperature over the desired body may be anticipated via the use of mud or mud packs since mud has the potential to keep the temperature [hot and cold] for a long period. Temperature perception is carried by thermoreceptors on the skin. Hot packs are used to stimulate sweat, circulation, and oxygenation, and to flush toxins back into the bloodstream for cleansing, and in the majority of Raktaja and Pittaja vyadhi, cold packs are utilised.
  2. The mechanical effect of mud therapy on the body - Pathological products melt and dissolve as a result of osmotic changes in the skin and the pressure of the mud on the body's surface.
  3. Chemical effect of mud therapy on the body - Minerals found in the mud help to produce this effect and getting this therapeutic effect involves -
    • Copper (Cu) - for Allergic situations
    • Zinc (Zn) - for Fungi
    • Iodine (I) - Adhesion Treatment
    • Edema - Magnesium (Mg)
  4. Electrical effect - This includes the following effects:-
    • Pain and muscle spasm relief are the physiological effects
    • Psychiatric Impact includes direct pressure and touch to lessen the signs and symptoms


The characteristics of mud vary depending upon the part of the world where it is found. Depending on where it originated, its properties and indications changed. First off, the type of rocks present in the location and the method used to create the soil influence the mud's mineral composition. The type of local fauna and plants also has an impact on mud properties. To properly use mud, it is crucial to understand its characteristics there are a variety of muds that are found worldwide that are used very commonly and all of them have the following properties and uses-

  • Moor Mud - Organic residue collected from flowers, herbs, and grass leads to the formation of this mud, and due to that this mud is rich in fulvic acid, amino acids, plant hormones, vitamins, and humic acids that are safe for the human body and absorbed easily by the human body. This mud has a very beneficial effect on arthritis and sports injuries as it has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects.
  • Black Mud - Black mud is the mud that is taken from dark cotton soil after its purification and is known to have an adequate amount of greasiness which is very beneficial for skin. This mud is rich in minerals and also holds moisture for a long time.
  • Dead sea mud - Being rich in more than 20 types of minerals and salts this mud is very useful in treating skin ailments. His mask is rich in silicates which helps to improve the texture of the skin making it soft and clean. It also helps to improve the blood circulation in the arteries of the face and enhances the glow.

There are also various kinds of other muds with multiple health benefits and these are as follows -

  • Red mud is useful for paralysis, rheumatoid arthritis, and abdominal pain
  • Yellow mud is beneficial in digestive issues, abdominal diseases, diabetes, liver issues, and spleen issues,
  • Black mud can be used in cases of poisoning and skin ailments,
  • Sandy mud found near rivers is of much use in snake bites, cholera, and gastroenteritis,
  • White mud can be considered in the cases of liver and brain ailments.

Mud therapy is mostly given in spas and resorts and is often given after proper history taking of the patient. The choice of mud is purely based on symptoms and the present condition of the patient. Mud therapy sessions in India can cost anything from INR 1250 and INR 3000.

The cost is influenced by the practitioner's pay and the center's reputation. Many famous spa centers offer this therapy treatment in India some of which are -

  1. Riddhi Siddhi Yoga & Wellness Center - This Delhi-based institute offers therapists who are proficient in several yoga styles.
  2. National Institute Of Naturopathy - This facility, which is in Pune, provides several therapies, including mud baths.
  3. Natural Healz - This facility provides a holistic solution to mental and physical health issues.
  4. Haritha Ayurveda School - This school, which is in Rishikesh, provides a five-day mud therapy program.
  5. Sandhya Hot Spring Health Care
  6. Delhi Institute For Naturopathy
  7. Yugrishi Ayurveda Panchakarma Center
  8. Sampoorna Health Care Centre
  9. Santosh Biodynamic Naturecure & Yoga

These days a rise in the use of dead sea mud near the dead sea can be seen trending over the internet due to its immense benefits mentioned above. People are often seen applying mud near the seashore and enjoying the sunbathing.


Typically, mud is obtained from plain hills or riverbeds. Doctors who follow natural ways of treatment frequently employ mud therapy to treat a variety of illnesses. Mud therapy falls into one of two distinct groups -

  1. Mud Baths - Applying mud to the entire body while sitting or lying down is known as a "mud bath." Mud baths cover a wider portion of the body than mud packs, which is the sole distinction between the two. They cover the sheet with paste before wrapping the body in it. The body is covered in mud for 45 to 60 minutes, ideally with periodic exposure to sunshine. You must then take a hot bath and then a cold shower. This enhances blood flow and revitalises the skin tissues. Regular mud baths can help improve skin tone and reduce spots and patches that may be caused by skin disorders like chickenpox or smallpox. This makes regular mud baths a potential natural beauty therapy. Mud baths are beneficial for treating a variety of skin disorders, including psoriasis, urticaria, leprosy, and other skin issues.
  2. Mud Packs - Mud packs are done for local application or only treating the affected part of the body. Warm water is used to smooth out the earthen clay once it has been extracted. It is spread over a strip of fabric after being given time to cool. Whichever portion of the body the mud pack is to be applied to determines the size of the cloth. The area of the body that needs treatment is covered with a mud-coated cloth. Then a layer of protection, like flannel, is placed over it. After 10 to 30 minutes, the mud pack is removed. The mud pack has various uses for different parts of the body as follows: -
    • Mud pack for eyes - A thick layer of mud that has been soaked in water is spread over the eyes for 20 to 30 minutes. An eye mud pack aids in eye relaxation and is especially beneficial for individuals who must spend extended periods in front of a computer. Therapeutically, it lessens itchiness, irritation, or other allergic problems such as conjunctivitis and eyeball hemorrhage. Additionally, it aids in resolving refractive issues including short- and long-sightedness. It also reduces eyeball strain in glaucoma.
    • Mud pack for head - Typically, a head mud pack is a wide, thick band. When placed across the front of the head, it instantly reduces pain and aids in the treatment of congestive headaches.
    • Mud pack for face - For the face, a smooth paste is first created using cold water and fine dirt. Apply this paste evenly on your face, then give it 30 minutes to dry. One must properly wash their face with cold water after 30 minutes. It aids in enhancing the skin's complexion. It helps with acne by removing extra oils and pollutants from the skin. Additionally, it aids in lightening under-eye circles.
    • Mudpack for Abdomen - Apply a mud pack to the abdomen for 20 to 30 minutes. If the mud pack is administered during chilly weather, the body and the blanket should be covered. Any form of dyspepsia is helped with an abdominal mud pack. It greatly aids in reducing intestinal heat while promoting peristalsis.

Mud therapy falls into one of two distinct groups:

Hot and Cold Mud Therapy is another technique used in mud therapy. This therapy is useful for relieving lumbago, intestinal cramps, and persistent discomfort. The Hot and Cold Mud Therapy also treats various inflammatory disorders with bacterial origin, such as amoebiasis, colitis, enteritis, and others.


The patient's needs are taken into consideration while selecting the mud, which is then chilled before being placed onto a strip of fabric to form a bandage. The damaged part of the body is coated with this and covered in a protective material, such as flannel. The mud pack can be around 20 X 10 X 2.5 cm in size for people. Depending on the demands of the patients, the mud therapy cloth's proportions should change. Thus, the area of the body that has to be treated must first be fomented for roughly 5 to 10 minutes until it is sufficiently heated. Following that, mud is administered directly to the afflicted region for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the severity and required results.


The finest course of action for any problem is nature! It can address a wide range of issues at its source without having the negative side effects that many drugs have. The earth is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and other substances that may help us live healthier lives and repair our bodies holistically. Mud therapy is one such fantastic treatment that may be used to treat a wide range of illnesses. Mud treatment, which is slowly gaining popularity across the world, may benefit an individual's skin, help them get rid of rashes, and even keep them healthy throughout the rainy season. It has many other benefits that are undiscovered by many and these are as follows -

  • Mud therapy for skin issues - Mud therapy makes skin look clear by taking off all the dead skin from the face and body. It also helps in preventing clogging of the pores which helps to prevent acne and breakouts and also mud the pray helps in lightening the acne spots. It is also known to Enhance the formation of collagen in the skin and tone the skin while retaining the body moisture for a long time. It also increases the capacity for sweating and toxin elimination.
  • Mud therapy helps to improve digestion and boost metabolism - Mud tends to absorb all the toxins out of the body leading to indigestion and other gastric issues. The mud also helps to boost the metabolism by cleaning the whole body thus improving digestion.
  • Mud therapy helps to manage fever and headaches - Due to its rich mineral content and thermal qualities, mud treatment can also aid with aches and pains in the muscles. Mud has anti-inflammatory properties when administered to the body. Applying mud packs to the belly region can help reduce internal body heat and cool the body down. Additionally, it offers faster recovery from heat stroke.
  • Mud therapy helps to manage stress in life - Since mud is naturally cooling, naturopaths and other alternative healers frequently recommend this therapy to treat nervous system issues like stress, sleep disturbances, anxiety, sciatica, and post-traumatic disorders. It removes clogged or tight channels around the brain and absorbs harmful poisons from the surface.
  • Mud therapy for joints - Mud therapy helps manage ailments such as arthritis, periarthritis, gout, muscle swelling, and joint pain. It relaxes the muscles and eases the body's movements.
  • Mud therapy for eye issues - It has long been thought that rejuvenating the eyes by merely applying a cooling layer or strolling barefoot in dirt can improve eye health. In addition to reducing stress, it can aid in the treatment of allergies and infections. Mud baths are said to reduce the chance of acquiring glaucoma as you age, according to studies.
  • Other benefits - Mud also aids in the removal of black spots from the face, is beneficial for those with heat exhaustion or heartburn, and is effective in the treatment of diseases like psoriasis, leucoderma, and even leprosy. The Mud Application may be used to heal injuries as well as conditions like rheumatic discomfort.

Those with colds, coughs, the flu, or sinusitis should stay away from it during that period. Women should refrain from counselling during their periods. Before undergoing mud therapy, see your doctor if you have scars or blemishes on your face. Additionally, people who have had surgery should see their doctor before undergoing mud therapy.


Just like Naturopathy Ayurvedic system of medicine is also focused on the body's ability to health itself. Both are holistic systems of medicine and include diet and regimen, lifestyle counseling, and the use of natural methods for treating the disease. As per Ayurveda, the human body is a composition of five elements or the "Pancha Mahabhuta'' that includes the earth, air, water, fire, and sky, and out of these five, the earth has a major role in the healing of the ill. Mud is known from ancient times to boost immunity and children who used to play in mud were believed to attain great immunity. Mud applications have also been mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts for beauty purposes and were used over the whole body and face to enhance skin texture and complexion.

Panch Bhautik Chikitsa, a branch of Ayurveda, includes mud therapy. The use of mud packs and mud baths, also known as mud therapy or Prithvi Chikitsa, is a relatively straightforward and efficient kind of treatment. Mud therapy is also termed in Ayurveda as "Mrittika Chikitsa" and has been used for hundreds of years. It is a particular treatment that Ayurveda suggests using to manage illnesses. Both inwardly and externally, the treatment is effective. Mud therapy in Ayurveda can be compared with "Lepa" a term used in the ancient field of Ayurveda, is characterized as the Chikitsa of many different illness situations as well as for beauty. The topical medications known as lepa preparations are designed to be applied externally to the skin or mucous membrane. The process includes the application of various types of pastes of herbs mixed with different components as per the patient's complaints and are applied either all over the body or locally on the affected areas.

In Ayurveda, the process of Lepa does not have similar mud or herbal paste application for everyone. Different types of lepas are done based on the Prakriti of the patient and the dosha involved in the ailment similarly different muds are used for different ailments. For example, if the skin is of Pitta type or sensitive type then the application of Bentonite clay is usually done as it helps to get rid of toxins and calms down the inflamed and irritated skin, whereas for Kapha or oily skin or we can say the acne prone skin the French green clay is usually advised as it helps to control the sebum production and tones the pores and when we talk about the Vata skin or the dry skin then we advise Rhassoul or the red Moroccan clay as it will help to get rid of the flaky and dry skin and enhance the moisture content in the skin resulting in plump hydrated skin. Ayurveda has classified the Mrittika into five types i.e. Krishna Mrittika (Black) [which is helpful in vata pitta-type disorders of the body like Kshata (injury/wound/bruises), Daaha (burning sensation), Raktpradar (excessive menstrual bleeding), Shotha (swelling), and Shoola (pain)], Rakta Mrittika (Red), Sita Mrittika (White), Pita Mrittika (Yellow) and Nila Mrittika (blue).

Maharishi Sushruta has also mentioned that the lepa potency shall be selected based on the Prakriti of the patient. For example, for Rakta and Pitta type patients the lepa shall be of cold potency, and for those with kapha and vata type the lepa shall be of hot potency herbs. It has been mentioned in the Charaksamhita clearly that if one has Rakta, Vata, and Pitta-type health issues then that individual shall be applying ghee for lepa. There is also some light thrown on seasonal variations of the choice of lepas.


Mud therapy has multiple benefits but it is also known to have multiple side effects that can not be ignored at all. Mud therapy should always be taken after seeking proper guidance from a dermatologist as there are some conditions under which it is not advisable and those conditions are as follows -

  1. Pregnancy,
  2. Excessive alcohol intake,
  3. Skin cuts or abrasions,
  4. Psoriasis,
  5. Eczema,
  6. Hypertension,
  7. Chronic medication intake.

There is also a possibility that the spa centres where you visit for mud therapy are not maintaining proper hygiene like they do not change their mud timely or they do not clean their equipment properly. All of this can lead to infection which can be fatal in some cases if not treated on time. Mud therapy can also cause flare-ups of acne, eczema, and psoriasis which can be stressful for the patients. Mud getting into the eyes, ears, and nose is also a big issue as it can travel inside the body and cause multiple health issues.


Mud therapy is a process involving the application of mineral-rich mud and salts to the various body parts as per the condition of the patient and based on the above-mentioned information, it is concluded that mud therapy is a significant treatment widely used in naturopathy and Ayurveda and effectively manages a variety of diseases. Various institutes have been opened up in different places of the world for the patient to take mud therapy for their ailments. Mud therapy can also be combined with various other methods to get better results in a particular ailment. However, as we have seen, it is equally significant in modern times, though more scientific research is needed to confirm its efficacy and usefulness in treating a variety of health issues.

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