What follows is an explanation of the Dax curing mud "Peloide", where it comes from, how it works, how it is applied and
Quoted directly from the Tourist guide of Dax.
How Peloide was discovered and what creates it.
A voyage through time is required to fully grasp the true vocation of Dax, the number 1 spa town in France, perhaps going
even farther back than the presence of the Romans, who discovered and mastered the virtues
of the hyperthermal spring.
However, this cannot explain the geological phenomenon linked to the hydropathical destiny of Dax, a phenomenon which goes back as far as the formation of the Pyrenées, which literally overturned the region so to speak.
If we can imagine that under the ground there are immense cavities filled with merging waters and pierced through with galleries, then we are truly broaching "Potholing" or "Speleology" territory! The truth of the mater is quite different.
Once infiltrated, the rainwater progresses downwards, drop by drop. On the way it picks up the properties of an homogenous substratum (limestone), it increases in pressure and accumulates the heat of the Earth's depths (80°C at 2000 metres or 176°F at 6,500ft).
Our prehistorical story concludes at the precise moment when the water, during its travels, comes upon a geological accident (sort of rocky barrier), forcing it to go back to the surface (it is harnessed by 5 wells, which gush out at more than 7 million litres (1.6 million gallons) per day at approximately 60°C - 140°F).
Now the story of water continues with a different slant and new protagonist, the River Adour.
When this river flooded, it deposited the river base limestone along its banks and through the marshes, which had no other properties than those of any fluvial sediment. Now it seems that it was right here, that the hyperthermal waters rose to the surface and through this encounter, the river limestone, in turn, became enriched with the properties of the thermal waters, constituting a mud, which after prolonged contact with each other, becomes that natural thermal medicine "Peloide" (Hooray! we have arrived at the word).
Now, if all you think you have to do is mix river Adour limestone with thermal water and you arrive at Peloide, your wrong! ..Not so fast! It needs to be left to simmer just like any good recipe.
The Adourian limestone clay (with low sand content), is firstly extracted from the river
bed, then sifted and mixed. Then, in a cultivation basin, it is brought into contact with
a large quantity of hyperthermal water and this is where patience is required. It takes 4
to 6 months for the sun's rays to favour the progressive development of the algae
("bioglee"). At the end of this maturing period, an organic, bronze coloured,
semi-solid, smooth malleable substance is removed ...... Peloide, which is unlike any
ordinary mud. This thermal medicine, indispensable to rheumatology, joins the great
"Natural thermo-vegeto-mineral Muds" family.
The Peloid is delivered to the thermal hydropathic establishment in Dax on a regular bases (stamped with the words "ready to use" (in French of course) following laboratory controlled tests, which regulates a standard).
The Peloide is maintained at a constant temperature of approximately 45°C for preserving its therapeutic effects.
Of course, modern man has simply re-implemented an existing natural production process. Today, this technique offers other genuine advantages. It controls the regularity of Peloide production, which enables treatments to be given throughout the year and above all, it sees to the quality of the thermal medicine, subject to continuous local government scientific controls on the mud (under the supervision of the Municipal Laboratory and the Bordeaux Faculty of Pharmacology).
"Peleotherapy" ... The star of hydrotherapeutics
"Peloide" is a medicine. Peleotherapy is the administration of this medicine.
How is it administered ?
By the application of mud to the affected joints designated by the therapist, for a period of 12 to 16 minutes. The temperature of the mud varies between 38 and 44°C, giving a smooth sensation of heat and relaxation accompanied by slight drowsiness. Through its malleability, the mud stays easily in place on the joint. In similar conditions "Peloide" can also be use as a mud-bath.
How does it work ?
By a dual physical and biochemical action. The quick acting properties of the mud (malleability, adhesion, warmth) provide a
virtually immediate relaxation to the cramped muscles.
The heat accelerates the cardiac rhythm which generates an increase in circulatory flow, beneficial to all cartilaginous tissue.
Moreover, this heat softens the skin, favouring the subcutaneous transport of the Peloide's biochemical properties throughout the organism.
What are its effects?
After only a few days of treatment, a fairly rapid improvement to mobility is observed. It leads to an appreciable
decrease in, or even a complete disappearance of pain. However, the patient might feel a
slight yet momentary increase in pain, as this is how the organism manifests the changes
that are taking place.
The duration of relief is not the same for everyone: from 4 to 8 months. The effects of treatments have been known to extend to one year, and in some cases longer. The regularity of treatment is also a factor in view of prolonging these effects. A number of patients have also reported a decrease in their consumption of medication (anti-inflammatory).