Lo Pagan Spain
Interesting article about Lo Pagan Spain, location of the renowned healing mud baths.
Lo Pagan Spain - Mud Glorious Mud
Mud glorious mud, surely we can’t be talking about Spain? Indeed we are, and the place to find all this lovely mud is called Lo Pagan.
Mention the Mar Menor to most people and they think of La Manga (The Sleeve) the well know sports resort and over-developed strip of land which forms the Mar Menor (Lesser Sea), investigate a little more closely and you will find some excellent resorts dotted along the Mar Menor’s coastline.
One of these splendid resorts is the small village of Lo Pagan, located just south of the San Pedro del Pinatar salt flats, Lo Pagan could easily be missed, but missing it would be a mistake as it is a lovely little village with a wonderful sandy beach and shallow, clear, warm water. The temperature of the water in the Mar Menor is typically around 5 degrees warmer than the surrounding Mediterranean and although it has an area of about 170 km2 and is the largest inland sea of its kind in Europe, it is only around 7 metres at its deepest point making it ideal for water sports.
On arriving at Lo Pagan you may just want to head for the beach and enjoy the sun and the warm shallow water, however you might easily be confronted by a strange and unusual sight, what exactly are those black objects drying in the sun? People is the answer, people covered in black, smelly mud, and grown people at that, not children. Is this some quaint ritual, or do they know something that we don’t? Indeed they do know something and that is the special healing effects of this foul smelling mud, the knowledge of which draws people from all over the world to the village of Lo Pagan.
The beneficial effects of certain muds and clays have been known from man’s early history and the Chinese in particular used mud for making poultices to heal wounds and inflammations.
The mud at Lo Pagan is confined to a part of the salt lake known as ‘La Puntica’, and it has formed due to the climatic conditions of the area, long hours of sunlight and an extremely high salt content in the water. The sediment that has formed contains high levels of important minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, fluorine, sulphur and chlorine and it has been discovered that applying it to the skin and allowing it to dry in the sun results in beneficial effects for many ailments.
The mud is recommended for many types of skin complaint such as acne, ulcers, abscesses and inflammations, it is also recommended for arthritis, rheumatism and gout. Due to a small amount of grit in the mud it also an exfoliating effect on the skin, similar to that used in beauty treatments, mud face packs etc. It leaves the skin feeling silky smooth and fresh (if you can get rid of the smell!).
Over the past couple of years a number of wooden platforms have been constructed leading out to the best areas of mud and there are steps leading down to the water to make the experience easier to enjoy. You will find the mud to be about six inches deep and very warm, you simply apply the mud to affected areas (or as most people do all over!) and allow it to dry in the sun. When the mud is dry you can then wash it off in the same lake, it is not allowed to wash it off on the main beach as this spoils the prime bathing areas.
There are also areas (rather like moats) of excessively salty water where people bathe to relieve the effects of arthritis, tendonitis and rheumatism, the warm salty water reputedly increases blood circulation and eliminates toxins giving relief to stiff and painful joints.
Close to Lo Pagan are the salt flats of San Pedro del Pinatar, declared a Nature Reserve and Regional Park in 1985, it is the most important area of marshland in the region of Murcia and is an important area for bird life. The saltworks here have a documented history going back to the 14th Century and two windmills which still exist today were used to pump the salty water of the Mar Menor into the salt lagoons. The windmills are no longer working and have been replaced by electric pumps.
Lo Pagan can be easily reached via the N332 coast road, signposted from San Pedro del Pinatar, and is also well signposted from the AP-7 motorway (Junction 777).