- otherwise known as muds and clays - have been used by people
and animals for thousands of years. We all know about the urge of
many animals to cover themselves in mud - for a variety of reasons
known only to them. They are instinctively drawn to mud - they
smother themselves with it, they eat it... Humans have also been
using (and eating! - see “geophagy”) mud since times
immemorial. There is no arguing about the fact that mud is good for
us. It is extremely rich both in minerals and organic substances
which have been used in peloid therapy for centuries, bringing
A great number of resorts all over the world using muds for treatment
of various health conditions and health maintenance, as well as spas
and beauty salons where muds are used to improve skin condition and
for weight management, proves the fact that mud works. The use of
muds as a therapeutic factor is based on their ability to stimulate
metabolism, its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, and its
If we also consider the fact that the popularity of muds and clays has
grown immensely in the past few years and is on a steady increase
(have you noticed how many more products based on peloids have
appeared in shops and on the internet in the past few years?), then one can
the fact that we want to know more about peloids and how they work on
the body. Generally - why they are good for us.
do peloids work?
The action of peloids on the body systems is a combination of the temperature
(heat), mechanical and chemical factors. The temperature (or heat) is considered by some to be the most important
factor in peloid therapy. It has been established that heat increases
activity of chemical components in peloids. Besides, heated mud
promotes swelling of the skin which changes penetrability of cellular
membranes for biochemically active
components of muds.
According to the chemically active substances found in peloids (hormones, antibiotics,
biostimulators, microelements, organic acids) penetrate into the body
systems and heal the body from the inside. Heat and other physical
factors in this case are deemed as subsidiary, based on tests
conducted where peloids were applied at hot and cold temperatures.
The fact that peloid molecules can penetrate through the skin into the
body has been proved both by Russian and non-Russian scientists a few
decades ago. Hydrogen sulphate is considered a biologically
active component of muds. It acts similar to acetylcholine, causing
substantial changes in circulatory system.
It raises blood pressure, slows down the pulse and narrows down blood
vessels, thus changing the blood supply to organs and body tissues
and improving the heart activity.
Bio-stimulating effect of muds has been has been connected by some scientists with
their antioxidant properties which most of them possess. In
1973, P.G.Tsarfis offered a theory of peloid action according to
which peloid application increases penetrability
of the skin to their components, and in particular, iron. Iron and
other elements of peloids penetrate from the tissue structures deep
into the body systems. An increase of biochemical enzyme activity on
the cellular and sub-cellular levels takes place, which leads to an
appearance of a “centre of pathology” where one can
observe changes in the levels of biologically active substances, an
increase in the content of acid mucopolysaccharides,
with the content of hayaluronic acids remaining unchanged.
These local changes initiate regional and reflex processes, with the
participation of the Central Nervous System which regulates the
release of biologically active substances, neurohormones, thus
intensifying enzyme-releasing systems. Integrative and neuro-humoral
processes act selectively, first of all - on the most reactive
systems, i.e. systems affected by a pathology, which are the least
resistant. Compensatory mechanisms are switched on, on various
levels, through the peripheral nerve
formations. As a result of all this, the following takes place: an
increase in hormonal activity and intracellular steroidal metabolic
activity, a reduction in tissue penetrability, as well as
inflammatory components and autoimmune aggression, and slowing down
of collagen destruction.
It is important to remember that a reaction to a peloid procedure
depends, on the one hand, on the condition of the body systems, and
on the other hand, on the intensity of a therapeutic factor. As
a result of many years of research, it has been established that at
the basis of peloid therapy lies its ability to normalise the
functions of the body, tissues and cells.
It is important to note that peloids have different combinations of
biologically active substances, which makes them differ in their
clinical effectiveness, since they affect different regulatory and
homoeostatic body systems. Such selective effect of peloids is explained by the fact that, first of all, like
different oil deposits, each of them is formed only in certain
regions of our planet out of various
substrates, and secondly, each peloid is at a certain stage of
etnogenesis or maturity. At the basis of this process is the activity
of a whole group of micro-organisms, with
the products of their activity being the at the basis of the
therapeutic properties of peloids.
V.I.Vernadskiy has called peloids “the living matter” of our planet
which reflect the processes of its evolution and regional
geochemical specifics. Considering this, there is an opinion that
there are “old” and “new” peloids, differing
from each other in the combination of biologically active substances,
as well as their biological, clinical and sanogenetic effects.
By stimulating systemic restructuring of the antioxidant status of the
organism and changing the structure of neuro-endocrine and immune
regulatory function, natural peloids activate reparative
reactions in the body. As well as antioxidant properties, peloids
also have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, boosting the immune
system and acting as adaptogens.
Antioxidant properties are based on the presence of carotene and its analogues
(discovered by the spectral analysis). This makes peloids effective
in treating a number of diseases of inflammatory nature, since
antioxidants, and particularly carotene, regulate physico-chemical
characteristics of body membranes. In recent years, carotenoids, and
in particular, beta-carotene, has been successfully
used as a preventative treatment for tumours, IBS, to correct
unfavourable effects of the environment on the human organism, since
they stimulate protective functions of the body systems and activate
humoral and cellular immunity.
Retinoids are another group of antioxidants present in peloids which possess
immune boosting functions. It is possible that due to their
anti-oxidant function retinoids can actively promote
micro-circulation. Also, comparative analysis of peloids and moor peats have shown that
antioxidant properties of peloids are more prominent than those of
peats. Thus, on the basis of research conducted by Siberian scientists, the
following conclusions were made:
active compounds in peloids can sufficiently influence the activity
of the endocrine glands as a result of targeted action comparable to
the one in anti-oxidant therapy.
on their physico-chemical characteristics, peloids can - and are -
widely used to treat a large number of conditions of
digestive, nervous, integumentary, endocrine, respiratory,
circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Although peloid treatment does cause a balneological reaction
(“healing crisis”), their action on the body is mild and
is targeted not only at the area of pathology, but at all the body
The ultimate goal of peloid therapy is to re-balance the body
systems and restore homoeostasis.
medicinal properties of peloids, Novosibirsk Medical State Academy,
Novosibirsk, 2001. Edited by Prof. V.Y.Kulikov.
Mechanisms of Peloid Therapy, Novosibirsk Medical Institute,
Novosibirsk, 1999. Edited by Prof. V.Y.Kulikov.
Resorts' Part in the Processes of Rehabilitation of the Population
of the Siberian Region (Materials of the Regional
Scientific-Practical Conference, 22-24 October 2003). Novosibirsk,
Aromatherapy Companion”, Victoria Edwards