Jane’s personal review of a mud treatment at the Balnea spa at the Danubius Esplanade hotel.
Mud is thicker than water. Considerably so, you discover, when it’s heated up and slapped over your bare flesh. Its unique sulphuric properties attract thousands to spas like this one in Slovakia, from around the world. So what actually happens? And how much does it cost?
I arrived for a 10.20am roll call at the mudpack treatment area, with around half a dozen fellow female guests at our spa hotel. There is a separate male section. Our names were checked and we were taken down a corridor and assigned our own cubicle adjoining our individual mud treatment area. This is a small part of a vast spa complex here; clinically clean, shiny and well equipped.
My guide asked me to undress completely, and sit on a narrow bed to await my therapist. Five minutes later, Susannah arrived–smiley, professional and efficient, with an excellent grasp of English, even though there are very few UK visitors to this hotel at the moment.
I’m not mad about walking around naked in front of strangers, but a day after a one to one mineral bubble bath session, I’m kind of getting used to it. Susannah asks me to wait a meter or so away from her while she starts ladling hot, sloppy mud onto the top third of another narrow treatment bed against the wall in a clean, spacious salon-style room.
Beckoned over to join her, she explains that I must sit on the edge of the bed, then lower my back and shoulders into the thick layer of mud. She warns me that it will feel very hot at first, but that she’s checked it, and I will be fine. I flinch at first at the heat–around 45 degrees centigrade–but follow her instructions and relax into its squelchy warmth and, yes, it does all feel a bit ‘wrong’ at the moment as it oozes its way from back to front… but I’m going for it! Susannah asks if I have any particular problem areas–aches and pains for example, or any problems with my heart that she should know about.
I’m pretty healthy but reckon my knees might welcome a bit of attention, so….they get plastered in the sulphuric substance (not as odious as you might think, by the way…!)…and so too, my feet. The team here can officially focus on four areas of your body in a session like this. Any more and you need approval from one of the spa’s medical team–on site, in force, by the way to check you over, make treatment recommendations or carry out a range of tests. Mud applied; Susannah wraps me up tightly in a cotton sheet, with an extra layer of towels on top. She assures me she’ll keep checking on me, and shows me a coiled metal water dispenser in case I need an emergency cool down.
The lights are dimmed. Some relaxing music surrounds me …and there I am. Swaddled, sweating slightly, but determined to relax and enjoy the cosiness.The mud, I read later, cools down four times slower than water, which explains why you do feel super-warm for most of the session as the aim is to ‘over-heat’ you during the 20 minutes.
Susannah leans over me every five minutes or so to dab my forehead and check I feel OK. When the session’s over, I’m gently unwrapped, and led, slightly alarmingly, dripping soft clods of mud, to a shower, in which I manage to remove the rest of it and sympathise with the staff who’ll have to clean up afterwards.
A knock at the shower door means it’s time to dry off and relax in my private cubicle, lying on the bed, wrapped in a crisp white sheet (which feels a bit odd against my shower-damp flesh….) with heavy towels on top. A few minutes later, Susannah pops back to tell me my session is finished, and to ask if I enjoyed it. I did, I tell her….leaving with soft, refreshed skin and a very peaceful state of mind.
How much does it cost?
I paid 35 euros for my 20 minute session. Prices may vary for treatments targeting certain conditions or ailments, and the spa website and the on site team can advise what’s right for you. You can read more about our three night stay at The Danubius Health Spa Resort- Esplanade, here.