YESSENTUKI, November 29. /TASS/. The largest mud therapy center in Yessentuki, a popular Caucasus resort town, daily uses over eight tonnes of spa mud to treat 700 patients who visit the facility.
The center was built roughly a century ago in the form of an antique Greco-Roman temple with columns. Its entrance is decorated with statues of lions and ancient Greek gods, Asclepius (god of medicine) and his daughter Hygeia (the goddess of health and cleanliness).
"The construction of the mud therapy center began in 1913. The building was designed in the manner of ancient Roman thermal bathhouses… The opening ceremony took place in 1915," Anastasia Ivankova, the center’s marketing manager, told TASS.
At first, the mud center was named in honor of Prince Alexis, the only son of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. In the 1920s, it was renamed after Nikolai Semashko, the first Soviet health minister.
Atlantes and Tritons buttress the spa center’s ceiling and its interior is adorned with bas-reliefs and sculptures of Apollo, Hermes, Venus, Daphne and other ancient gods. The main building is surrounded with cozy courtyards for promenades.
"The floor tiles, chandeliers, crystal glass and even furniture have been preserved since 1915," Ivankova said.
"During World War II, our center was turned into a hospital, and mud was used for the treatment of wounded soldiers," Ivankova said.
"The center has four buildings but only two of them are open at the moment," Ivankova noted. "All sanatoriums of the Caucasian Mineral Waters complex used to send their patients to our center earlier but most of them started offering mud treatment themselves. Therefore, we have up to 700 visitors daily in summer but their number declines during the off seasons."
Mud is brought to the center from Lake Tambukan, 28 kilometers from Yessentuki, and is placed to special storage rooms. Mud is pumped from these storages to medical rooms where nurses manually mix cold and hot mud until it reaches 38-40 degrees Celsius. After that, the mud is used to wrap the patient’s body. The chest is the only body part, which is not covered with mud to avoid heart problems.
The full body treatment lasts for 15 minutes and requires some 80 kilograms of mud. Then the mud is washed off. Patients are advised to take a shower with no soap to prolong the therapeutic effect.
"We perform about 100 such treatments daily. Therefore, the center’s daily ‘mud turnover’ is more than eight tonnes," Ivankova said.
Mud therapy was known since the times of ancient Egypt. This treatment has anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, analgesic, relaxing and revitalizing properties.
It is used to treat injuries, arthritis, gastritis, skin conditions, diabetes, obesity and many other diseases. However, mud treatment is prohibited for patients with heart diseases and tumors.