Moinaki mud bath
Curative Mud and Brine (Rapa)
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Василиса 27 июня 2007
Tourism advertisements invite fans of exotic tourist locations to visit, among other places, the Red Sea, where, due to the water's high salt concentration, swimmers do not sink. But those who wish to bathe in water that keeps them buoyant to not have to travel to the near east. In Evpatoria's estuaries the water is as salty and 'dense' as in this strange sea. In addition, the waters of Evpatoria's Lake Moynaki possess strong medical properties. Under the influence of the sun's scorching rays, water evaporates and the layer of material resting on the lake bottom thickens and changes into brine - a thick solution containing the concentrated salts sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as many others.
The Crimean peninsula contains a large number of salt lakes, many of which are mined for table salt. The following salt lakes and mud estuaries are used for medical purposes: Lake Saki, near the city of the same name, Lake Moynaki, located in Evpatoria (where the as-yet-unexploited Lake Sasik-Sivash is also located) and finally Lake Chokraske near Kerch.
These lakes appeared more than five thousand years ago as water gradually filled depressions located on the open steppe. Over time, seawater deposited sand and created a barrier to the open sea, forming shallow lakes.
The sea water of these salt lakes and mud estuaries is thickly condensed under the sun's rays to become a type of brine called "Rаpa" in Russian. Rapa has been dramatically altered by constant water evaporation and other physical and chemical-biological processes arising from activities of microscopic plant and animal organisms. Rapa is a saturated saline solution of yellowish color with a strong hydrogen sulfide odor. The concentration of salts in Rapa is approximately ten times higher than that of sea water.
There are many theories as to the affect of this therapeutic brine, or Rapa, on the human body. The healing effect of the mud is explained by its great compositional complexity and characteristics as well as by the body's strong reaction to contact with it.
The mud, acting like a massage (through pressure and friction), speeds up blood and lymph circulation and increases metabolism. Scientific studies have proven that some of the mud's chemical materials (such as hydrogen sulfide, iodine, ammonia, organic acids, sulfuric acid, ferrous oxide and others) penetrate the skin. The mud, absorbing foreign particles, gases and bacteria from the surface of the body, cleanses the skin and thereby improves its activity. Radioactive elements contained in the mud (uranium, radium, actinium and others) also act upon the body.
For more than a century the opinion dominated that the only real affect of a mud bath on the body came from the bath's high temperature. But this theory was shaken when positive results were seen when using mud at low temperatures (from 38 to 41 Celsius). However, the effect of high-temperature mud baths cannot be completely discounted.
The academician V. Filatov confirmed that at the time of the transition from life to death, a living cell secretes a special material capable of intensifying the life stability of an organism and increasing its resistance to disease. Filatov named this material the 'biological facilitator' and has attempted to explain the mechanics of the healing action of mud as follows: There are huge amounts of bacteria, single-celled organisms and protozoa in the mud, which at the moment of death secrete a special material that enters through the skin into the blood during a mud bath and thereby stimulates the body.
Undoubtedly, mud applications provide a medium for general resorptive action.
There is a great amount of data indicating that mud baths influence nerve endings located in the skin that send impulses to the central nervous system. The transferal of nerve impulses from the skin to the internal organs causes various changes in the body's vital activities. While skin functions independently, it is also inextricably connected to all of the body's organs and systems. Stimuli from mud procedures are sent to the brain cortex, which directs and regulates all of the body's functions. Mud baths cause increased perspiration, increase the skin's ability to breathe and cause a temporary increase in external and internal body temperatures, blood circulation, pulse and metabolism.
In this way, mud therapy works upon many important organs and systems of the body. Complex processes occurring in the nervous system, endocrine glands and blood under influence of mud therapy, reorganize the body to increase its general resistance to disease and to reduce pain.
With mud therapy there are the so-called general and local balneological reactions.
Earlier, the general balneological reaction was seen quite often during intensive mud therapy sessions using mud at temperatures around 44-50 Celsius (where the therapeutic efficiency of mud treatment was attributed almost solely to the effect of heat). Balneological reactions were evidenced by a general fatigue, an increase in temperature, tachycardia, headache and weakness as well as problems with metabolism. After studies on the mechanics of mud therapy, procedures became more moderate and therefore this general reaction was seen less often.
The local reaction is seen as an increase in pain, hyperemeia (the increase of blood flow to a body part), puffiness, tissue swelling and other signs of an increase in the local inflammatory process.
Mild, localized reactions from mud therapy, which almost always occur after a procedure, do not indicate a breakdown of a body's physiological functions. Patients will only receive mud therapy after careful clinical examination where each person's physiological constitution, idiosyncrasies and tolerances are taken into account.
If a strong balneological reaction occurs with a sharp deterioration of the patient's general condition and an increase in the pathological process, mud therapy will be stopped for several days or the interval between procedures (3-5 days) will be increased. The temperature of the mud therapy procedures will be reduced to around 38-40 Celsius and the duration of the procedures will be shortened to 10-15 minutes, accompanied by a simultaneous application of medication (such as bromine, analginum, pyramidon, vitamins, etc).