The healing powers of mud and clay have been touted throughout history. Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba used the black mud of the Dead Sea for its beautifying and healing powers. Socrates prescribed green mud to heal ulcers, fevers, migraines, and broken bones. And it turns out they were onto something. Pure mud can detoxify, re-mineralize, balance hormones, and act as an anti-inflammatory. Its medicinal benefits claim remedies for rheumatism, bronchitis, hormone imbalance, pulmonary diseases, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, sciatica, skin diseases, arthritis and swelling, and relief for pain in stiff joints. Not to mention clear and youthful skin. But not any old mud will do. The therapeutic effects of certain muds and clays derive from a particular mineral and biological profile, unique to its geographic and climate conditions.
Enter Herceg Novi-Igalo, Crete and Formentera. Paradises for sunshine, breathtaking beaches and healing waters (both of the sea and spring varieties). These three distinct locations also offer therapeutic muds and clay in spas and in nature, as well as countless techniques to “get-your-mud-on.” Mud masks, mud baths, mud wraps, mud packs, mud walks, you name it… mud’s got you covered.
A HOTSPOT FOR HEALTH TOURISM
Aptly known as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean,” shelled between the waters of the Adriatic Sea and the Montenegrin mountains, Montenegro boasts beautiful bays, beaches, and idyllic historic towns. Equally appealing to tourists, Montenegro has been known for centuries as a natural healing destination. In particular, the neighboring towns of Herceg Novi and Igalo attract thousands of health tourists from all over the world each year.
Herceg Novi and Igalo lie at the crossroads between East and West in the heart of the Mediterranean, situated at the entrance of the beautiful bay of Kotor on the Adriatic Sea and the foot of Mount Orion. With over 260 days of sunshine a year in a balmy year-round climate, warm and shallow swimmable waters, legendary curative mud, and mineral springs, it is no wonder that Herceg Novi -Igalo is the most sought out health and spa destination in the Mediterranean.
MOTHER EARTH´S SPA
In Igalo, the mud is extracted from the sea in the shallow waters of the bay of Kotor. Its therapeutic properties include increased blood and lymph circulation, reducing local inflammation, increased regenerative processes, as well as treating analgesic and spasmolytic effects. In addition to its famous sea mud, Igalo also has a famous mineral spring, producing water called “Igalika,” rich in chlorides, hydrocarbons, sulfates, calcium and magnesium. The mineral water is used in treatments to improve circulation, pain, relief, and improvement in the functioning of the locomotor system. In spas and wellness centers, the therapy is individually tailored to meet the therapeutic needs of guests with amenities like showers, application of sea mud or algae paste, and the inhalation of sea or mineral water fog.
For those who prefer do-it-yourself treatments, beaches for sun lovers abound in Montenegro, including beaches that boast Montenegro’s famous therapeutic muds right under your beach chair and umbrella. The star location is Blatna plaža, which means “Mud Beach.” Here, beach goers can enjoy the natural scenery near the Sutorina river and the health benefits of the natural Montenegrin mud smeared over their bodies to dry in the warm Mediterranean sun, and rinsed off with a dip in the sea. At Strbine Beach, the curing muds can be found in a virtually untouched and naturally beautiful location. Again, slather it on, let it work its magic, and jump on in. And don’t miss Ulcinj, where the sand and mud contain over 25 natural compounds that have been found to counter the effects of rheumatism and spinal diseases. On this beach, look for “Ladies’ Beach,” an area blessed with a nearby river with natural sulfurous compounds that folk legend says improve some female health issues and fertility.
BLENDING ANCIENT WISDOM WITH MODERN TECHNIQUES
Did you know that Hippocrates, the father of Medicine, was the first to expound the therapeutic benefits of seawater in 400 BCE? Thalassotherapy derives from the Greek word “thalass” meaning sea, and “therapy,” and today thalassotherapy consists of treatments that utilize and combine natural elements from the sea and seashore. All-natural ingredients include marine climate, sea water, sun radiation, aerosol, sea keloids (mud), sand and seaweeds. What better place to experience thalassotherapy than at its source. Enter Crete, Greece’s largest island!
Crete is a stunning island, known for its varied terrain, ranging from the White Mountains (Zeus’ birthplace) to fine sand beaches. With hot sun, superb beaches, surrounded by the sea, and one of the healthiest diets in the world, Crete captures the Greek spirit of health and healing. Not surprisingly, Crete’s thalassotherapy and spa facilities offered at luxury hotels are among the best in the world. In most centers, treatments consist of a combination of seawater, sea plants and mud, aiming to provide the human body with all the beneficial components of the sea.
A top tourist destination for health and healing, top spas and facilities combine scientifically certified staff and innovational techniques with the use of modern equipment. You name it, Crete’s got it – relief from physical and emotional ailments as well as the gift of pure relaxation. Crete is also of course the home of the ultra-healthy Mediterrean diet - a centuries-old gastronomic culture of fresh delicacies from the abundant bounties of the sea and land.
HIPPY VIBE AND BOHEMIAN CHIC
Ah, Formentera – with stunning Beaches, unforgettable sunsets, and some damn good food – the smallest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is shaped like a lopsided dog bone. It is a speck of unspoiled beauty, just a quick yacht ride away from the high-rises, crowds and debauchery of your favorite hotel in Ibiza. Ah, Formentera, a destination for day-trip yachties in the afternoons and filled with laid-back revelers of sunsets by night, you are not an island of glitz and glamour. No, Fomentera, you are the real thing. At least for now.
Relaxation, seclusion, some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, clear blue waters, and fantastic restaurants serving exquisite fresh fish. There are no long-lined discotheques, or for that matter, bathing suits (unless you choose otherwise; at most beaches bathing suits are optional). This is back-to-nature health and healing, complete with a do-it-yourself “feel good” mud bath on Espalmador, a small uninhabited private island just a few hundred meters north Fomentera. A short ferry ride away.