Mud, minerals, water…ahhh!

Earth, nutrients and water are the fundamentals of growing food. But today I had the chance to experience these fundamentals from an entirely different perspective – a mud bath and healing waters in a Slovak health spa.

Spa Piestany is renowned the world over for the restorative powers of its mineral springs and rich mud. People have been coming here for almost two hundred years to experience its healing substances for musculo-skeletar and neurological disorders. The town of Piestany itself claims the most number of sunny days in Slovakia annually and lies on the banks of the second largest river in the country, the Vah.

Now luckily I don’t suffer from any of those kinds of ailments, but those of us on the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists tour here today were given the chance to try out the mineral waters and mud bath.

So what makes these muddy waters so special? Well, just like in farming, location is everything. Piestany sits on a thermal mineral spring that is two kilometers under the surface of the earth and sediments created in areas where this water reaches the surface of the river Vah are the basis for the sulfuric mud. The water itself has 1,500 mg of mineral substances per litre.

My spa visit started off with a cool shower, followed by ten minutes in the mirror pool – sulfuric water 38C warm and then ten minutes in the mud bath. The water and mud combination were about 40C. After climbing out and showering off, the crowning touch was a ten minute rest as we were all wrapped in blankets and left to relax.

Now it could just have been the heat, but I could swear I really did feel the toxins come out of my skin. In any case, with or without my toxins, I did come away feeling rested and relaxed. Our hostess told us the average spa stay by their customers is about 10 days – now there’s a vacation!

The photo here is of me sitting outside the spa building. The treatments are mostly enjoyed “starkers” – to quote one of our English colleagues – so for obvious reasons, there is no footage of the interior of our spa visit…

Lilian’s participation in the 2008 IFAJ Congress is funded in part by the IFAJ 2011 Development Initiative, supported by Pioneer Hi-bred and Syngenta.

IFAJ 2008 Congress photo album

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