Got an achy knee? Rub some mud on it

Got an achy knee? Rub some mud on it

When you hear the words mud bath, what comes to mind? Maybe a relaxing day at the spa? New research shows the benefits can be more than skin deep. Mud baths might also help relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Traditional treatments for this condition include medication and physiotherapy to relieve pain, slow the progress of osteoarthritis and help people compensate for any loss of movement.

Researchers in Lithuania reported success by taking a different path — getting down in the mud. They tried a process called peloid therapy, which uses clay and mud to treat ailments. Among the most popular peloids are peat pulps, mineral-laden clay and mud that came from lakes and seas with high mineral content.

The researchers recruited adults with osteoarthritis to test the effects of this therapy on their knees. They broke the participants into three groups. For one month, they treated two of the groups either by immersing them fully in a bath of mud or just rubbing the mud on their knees. The participants in the two intervention groups had better mobility and stronger leg muscles than those in the third group, who received traditional therapies.

The pain levels for the two mud bath and mineral groups also fell during the treatment. When compared with the control group, the two mud groups had a much lower level of pain while in motion or changing positions. The average percentages of symptoms, stiffness and pain of the intervention groups were significantly better than those of the control group.

So, next time you get an invitation to a spa weekend, remember the effects that the mud bath can have on your joints, and don’t pass up the offer!

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