Mud and mineral baths have been found to be potentially viable natural treatments for osteoarthritis.
A study by a group of Lithuanian researchers has found that hot mud treatments and sodium chloride mineral baths may relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
OA is the most common articular disease in the world
According to Medical New Today, Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative disease that causes pain and stiffness in the joints, most commonly affecting the knees, hips, and hands. OA is the most common articular disease in the world and affects more than 20 million people, including 10% of men and 13% of women aged 60 and older, in the United States, alone.
The current first line of treatment is a combination therapy that includes pain medication and non-pharmaceutical treatments like physical and occupational therapy. OA can’t be reversed but treatments can reduce pain, slow the progress of the disease and improve movement.
Mud, minerals are less expensive, drug free interventions
The new study examines peloid therapy and balneotherapy as potentially less expensive and drug-free interventions. The first is the use of clay or mud to ease symptoms and the second is the practice of immersing the body in mineral rich water or mud. The findings were published in the International Journal of Biometeorology.
The researchers wrote, “The treatment of OA using pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures remains a topical subject. The purpose of this study is to assess the effect of natural factors (mineral water and mud) on changes in the functional state of patients with knee joint OA.”
Ninety-two participants – aged an average 64.6 years – were involved in the study, with females representing 87% of the group. All participants had low to moderate knee-joint OA and their symptoms were graded on a variety of physical measures, including walking speed, range of motion and extension, and the speed with they could sit down and stand up five times. Subjects were divided into three groups. Over the course of one month, all groups received physical therapy every other day, while the first group also received mineral water baths, the second received mud application procedures, and the third received physical therapy alone.
The researchers found significantly greater improvement in levels of stiffness, pain, and physical activity in the groups that received either water or mud treatments combined with the physical therapy than in the group that received physical therapy alone. Symptoms were also better one month later in the intervention groups than in the control group.
Improved pain and functional state
They wrote, “Balneotherapy and peloid therapy effectively reduce pain and improve the functional state of patients with OA of a knee joint.”
Previous research has found that mineral water baths show advantages in reducing pain and improving functional state compared with freshwater baths, and that mud therapy significantly reduced pain, stiffness and improved functional state.
The researchers say future randomized controlled studies, and larger studies, are needed to confirm their results.
Be sure to keep your guests informed about the latest research on treatments commonly available at spas and wellness retreats that may ease their symptoms.
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