Mud Bathing in Costa Rica
Remember playing in the mud at some point in your life? Our parents weren’t likely impressed. As an adult, there is a much healthier way of getting the Mud Treatment while getting ‘down and dirty’. Mud baths are associated with relaxation, body detoxification, improving circulation, balancing the bodies pH level and preping muscles for a massage, Mud bathing is also credited with alleviating skin conditions, easing assorted aches and pains in the joints.
At Costa Rica’s Blue River Resort and Hot Springs, their Mud Bath Treatment is ranked among the “can’t miss” activities. The all-natural mud is sourced from the Rincon de la Vieja volcano. Guests make their way deep inside the botanical gardens to a spot between a fresh water stream and a hot springs creek. Beginning with a natural sauna, built over top of the hot springs creek to catch the steam, guests then apply the Volcanic Mud. Lather up! Then relax, while the mud dries before showering off in the fresh water creek. Due to its popularity, the mud can also be purchased at the Resort’s Blue Spa for use at home. What a great gift for family and friends!
A Volcanic Mud Treatment Is Special
What makes a mud treatment with volcanic mud different from others – you may ask? In an earlier blog, under, ‘Elements of a Spa’s Menu‘ we identified volcanic mud, wraps, and scrubs as essential elements of the menu. Other scrubs are mere substitutes for genuine volcanic mud. Volcanic mud possesses the properties needed to cleanse, heal, and beautify the skin.
This is not a new discovery. Centuries ago, people living near volcanoes used this precious balm for relaxation and medicinal purposes. Manufactured scrubs are used by persons living too far from a natural source of volcanic mud. Convenient they may be, they are less effective than the Rincon de la Vieja volcanic mud.
The benefits of applying a warm layer of genuine volcanic mud are recognized world-wide. Volcanic mud’s high sulfur content also gives the mud its distinctive odor. We must confess that the odor from mud along the Rincon de la Vieja is strong. However, let the paste dry on the skin as it begins to draw toxins from the body through the skin’s pores and the odor dissipates. Finally, rinsing it away with clean water the odor will be gone. The feeling afterwards is like no other; fresh, clean and refreshed. The skin tightens and feels youthful again.
Volcanic mud has medicinal, antibiotic and curative powers for skin conditions and muscular injuries. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approves the use of sulfur for treating acne. That makes volcanic mud ideal treatment for adolescents experiencing flare-ups of acne and blackheads.
Where Can Volcanic Mud Be Found?
You can only get the real thing in an area with an active volcano.
Anything Else is Just Mud
Avoid the imitation goo sold by the commercial spas and beauty-aid shops. Other manufacturers offer similar products made from lava ash mixed with water or other liquids, they are not the same. Ash is only one element in the formula; the other minerals are missing in the making of their product. Find a volcano and then you will be moving on the right track to finding real volcanic mud.
Locating Volcanic Mud
The ‘real deal’ is at the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs. The property is ideally developed on the northern side of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano. It is one of the foremost volcanoes in the Country and supplies a constant flow of fresh volcanic mud to the Mud Pool at the Resort.
Rincon de la Vieja volcano is a ‘complex andesitic stratovolcano‘. Its crater is 3.5 miles (5.3 km) away from the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs and it produces pure volcanic mud in a pool at the Resort.
Making Volcanic Mud
A combination of natural factors come together to produce volcanic mud. First there is the rainwater, it falls daily in the tropical rainforest, it then seeps into the ground sinking deeper through the layers forming the Earth.
The Earth’s layers are:
- The asthenosphere (the upper level of the mantle)
- The lower mantle
- The outer core
- The inner core (Temp. 9,000F; Pressure 45,000,000 lbs. psi)
The rainwater travels for miles through the mantle towards its super-heated core. The total distance from sea-level to the inner core is over 3,200 miles (5,150 km). As water travels deeper it dissolves minerals that it mixes with silica and squeezes it back to the surface.
The soil here is a mixture of eroded volcanic discharges. It is rich in the minerals- sulfur, hydrogen bromide, and fluoride. The mineral rich water transports the particle mixture, under great pressure, to the surface where it bubbles and flows gently. The silica and ash particles in the mud are suspended in the mixture; they do not dissolve in it.
Mud-pools formed in areas with high-temperature geothermal flows lack pressure and minerals needed to create genuine volcanic mud. Mud pools are not as beneficial to the skin as are volcanic mud pools.
The Blue River Resort and Hot Springs is in a very special place, it enjoys the amazing Blue Rivers (Rio Azul and Rio Penjamo), its hot springs with mineral rich water flowing into natural pools. The volcano is a constant source of heat for the sauna, and the warm volcanic mud pool. They are all 100% pure; as natural as the other ‘Spa Elements’ featured there.
Mineral Content of Volcanic Mud
Volcanic mud is nature’s best skin treatment and the finest exfoliant available. It is a unique combination of ash particles blended with water. The fine beads of silica, ash (less than 0.025 mm in diameter), sulfur, hydrogen bromide, and other trace elements are blended by the volcano’s pressure.
Uses of Volcanic Mud
Volcanic mud is used to counter toxins and bacteria that attack the skin in many situations. Sulfur is the ingredient promoting healing. For centuries, persons living close to a volcano have applied the mud to treat wounds, injuries, and other problems associated with skin.
Common uses include:
- Cellulite Removal; the extraction of oils and fats beneath the skin.
- Wrinkle reduction- General tightening of skin.
- Stretch Mark Removal- Tightening, and removal of skin discoloration.
- Skin Parasites
- Reduces Inflammation
- Relieves Pain
Many of the applications in use today, date back to the era of the Roman Empire. Soldiers used mud packs to help heal their injuries. Anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of the genuine volcanic mud saved many lives and limbs.
Volcanic Mud Scrubs
Volcanic mud is gently rubbed over the skin removing dead skin from the epidermis in the process. It cleanses the pores, extracting unwanted oils, fats, and toxins. They are all freed from the skin by the fine particles in the mud; a fresh water rinse completes the process.
Volcanic Mud Packs
The soft mud is firm enough to remain in place when applied as a mask. The volcanic mud should be applied ‘warm’ but ‘not hot’. The warmth opens the skin’s pores, releasing toxins, fats and other unwanted body secretions.
Placing the mud pack on muscles and joints soothes them and relieves and tension.
Under supervision of a doctor, mud packs can be applied directly to some wounds. *
*CAUTION: Before applying anything on an open cut or injury, seek the expert advice of a medical doctor.
Mud Pools & Mudpots
Around the world people enjoy benefits of Mudpots (aka ‘Mud-Pots’ or mud baths), although they are inferior to volcanic mud treatments.
Warm volcanic mud provides warmth and relaxation for the bather. The mineral content of volcanic mud goes beyond relaxation to provide benefits to the body. Remember however, regular mud may contain active bacteria cultures which are harmful to the body.
Some spas go as far as mixing their own ‘home-made’ version using volcanic ash diluted with water; it’s just not the same. Lacking easy access to real volcanic products they improvise. Always investigate the composition of substitute scrubs, some may be harmful.
Get-it All at Blue River Resort & Hot Springs
Blue River Resort and Hot Springs is an authentic Costa Rica experience. Whether a hotel guest, dropping in for a visit; or coming for a 1-day tour, the mud bath and natural sauna will be among the “highlight” experiences for most. The perfect complement to the mud treatment is soaking in the hot springs and a spa treatment at the Blue Spa. The natural hot springs are one of Costa Rica’s jewel – all natural mineral and green. Soak in 3 hot springs pools, swim in two fresh water pools, ride the bullet water slide and the blue river (Rio Azul). Enjoy leisurely strolls in the butterfly gardens, and the botanical gardens with over 700 varietals; bird sanctuaries, lagoons, fish, turtle and caiman ponds. Then, before getting too relaxed, join one the many Eco-adventure tours into the rainforest jungle. Tours include zip lining, horseback riding, dips in the grand waterfalls and Blue Rivers, hikes, water tubing and rafting – all on-site and nearby. And kids love Dino Park, with life-size, animatronic dinosaurs. So no wonder the February 2017 edition of the Costa Rica Star, rated Blue River Resort & Hot Springs among the top tour guide companies and hotels for families in Costa Rica.
And before you leave don’t forget the packaged containers of ‘Volcanic Mud’ to continue treatment at home, available for visitors at the spa.