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Free Pelotherapy 101 Information
Brian Skinness, President
Joint Adventure
April 2007

What is Pelotherapy?

Pelotherapy is the use of natural clay from the earth for therapeutic purposes. Most are familiar Pelotherapy in the form of a facial “mud” mask, but the applications include any form of external poultice and even include the ingestion of clay. Basically speaking, when activated with moisture, clay has a unique drawing capacity that provides it’s detoxifying benefits. It is useful to understand a little about the three primary actions or properties of clay.

Properties of Clay

Absorption: The capacity to bring elements inside the molecular structure of the clay and hold onto them. This process is complex to describe, but is due to the single bond between silicon and aluminum. This bond is responsible for the electrical appearance on the internal and external molecular surfaces. The structure of the basic silica tetrahedra creates a negative charge on the external surface. This polarity attracts cations, most of all polarized water molecules through their cationic entity. In addition to water, clay absorbs aliphatic and aromatic molecules, and hydrocarbons. This property explains how clay is used to reduce certain types of swellings or tumors, drain abscesses and cysts, and cleanse in general.
Adsorption: The capacity to attract elements to the outside of the molecular structure of the clay and holds onto them. The process is similar to absorption except that the bond is created on the external surface instead of the interior. This capacity increases the ability of clay to bind larger toxins and micro-organisms.
Ionic Exchange (CEC): The capacity to alter the electrical charge of a contacted surface. Clay is continually interacting with its surrounding environment. It is known that ions exchange from the clay to the environment in a non-predictable, yet measurable way. It is non-predictable because specific environmental variations cannot be fully comprehended and therefore, the specific exchange cannot be predicted. The cationic exchange capacity (CEC) is responsible for the balancing effect of clay and is one of the most unique and beneficial therapeutic factors.

Molecular Structures

All clays exhibit the absorption, adsorption and ionic exchange actions; however, clay is formed with a range of molecular structures that change the relative strength of the three main actions.
Montmorillonite
: Named after the Montmorillon region in Southern France, where the clay originates. This clay is similar to the common bentonite clay except that Montmorillonite does not contain the volcanic ash present in bentonite. Montmorillonite has a weak bonded, 3-layer structure giving it the capacity to expand, therefore increasing its CEC and its ability to capture large material. The higher CEC is the important distinction of this type of clay. Montmorillonite clays are used for purification, cleansing and balancing. It is used for its high catalytic action.
Illite: Illite clays have a 3-layer structure similar to montmorillonite, yet with the presence of potassium ions, which limit the inter layer expansion. This makes it stable clay with possibly the optimum safety/efficiency ratio of all the clays. It is chosen for drainage, swellings, edemas, water retention and secondarily for purification, detoxification and balancing.
Kaolin: Kaolin has a 2-layer structure with a lesser distance between the layers, making it much less aggressive. It is preferred for its gentle action and is suitable for sensitive individuals, infants or the elderly. Though it is less anti-infectious than the montmorillonite type, kaolin is preferred for wound healing to ensure faster and better repair with less scar tissue formation. It is an ingredient in antidiarrheal preparations (Kao-tin, Kapectolin, K-C, K-Pek, etc) with names that are obviously derived from Kaolin. It is gently cleansing and pH balancing; therefore used for gastritis and heartburn.

Applications

Preparing a Poultice

Clay comes in the form of a dry powder and a poultice is made by adding pure water. The water should not be chemically treated, as in city tap water, but pure or preferably distilled. Different clays use a slightly different ratio, but mix roughly equal parts of clay and water together. It is important that the clay is not too dry, since it is only active while remaining moist, it should not be too soupy either. A little experimentation will help get the hang of the mixture, but basically add water if too dry, or clay if too wet. Since clay interacts with its environment, it is recommended to avoid using metal mixing bowls or utensils.

Using a Poultice for a Facial Mask

 Clay facials are one of the most well known uses for medicinal clay. The objective is to draw impurities from the skin and balance the skin. The choice of clay will determine the specific actions. The clay poultice should be applied over the skin in a thickness of up to 1/4 inch. Generally speaking, the thicker the poultice, the deeper the draw. Allow the clay to dry, then remove and discard the clay. It is not advised to try and reuse the clay since it has removed and now holds the toxins, etc.

Using a Poultice for Drainage

Poultices can be used to reduce swellings and assist in drainage, even to the point of drawing out foreign objects from the body that are beneath the surface of the skin. There is a relationship between the thickness of the applied poultice and the depth from which it will draw. The normal thickness for this type of poultice is 1 inch, in some cases thicker, but rarely thinner. The thicker the poultice, the longer it will remain wet and therefore, active. The duration of this type of poultice is generally at least 4 hours, if this becomes uncomfortable, it can be removed and a fresh layer applied soon after.

Preparation and Usage of a Clay Colloidal Solution

A colloidal solution is prepared by mixing about ten parts water to one part clay. Simply put, about a teaspoon of clay to a large glass of water. A colloidal solution can be used as a mouthwash to reduce bad breath and acts as a disinfectant, helping to cleanse and purify the mouth cavity. This same solution can be drank to affect the gastro-intestinal tract. It is very useful during detoxification. Due to its anti-infectious properties, clay is useful in helping with vaginal candidosis and helps to cleanse and balance the terrain. A colloidal solution of clay is excellent for using as an enema. It is cleansing and detoxifying without noxious side effects.

Specific Clay Types

Blue Montmorillonite: Called “blue”, but somewhat more gray with a blue reflection. This is active clay with the highest CEC of all the clay choices. Used mainly for detoxification, balancing, catalysis and cleansing.
Green Illite: This is versatile clay that is a good choice if you want a clay for a variety of purposes. It is known affectionately as “The Green Clay” in France and is considered by many to be the “Mother of all Clays”. Used for drainage, cleansing, balancing and poultices.
Pink Kaolin
: This clay is the first choice for cosmetic facial masking. Pink Kaolin is a combination of Red and White Kaolin clays. This combination provides a smooth clay with good cleansing and detoxifying characteristics without being overly drying to the skin.
White Kaolin
: The mildest of all the clays. Preferred for its high aluminum content that helps in tissue repair and reduces scarring. The aluminum is in a non-toxic ionic form so does not present a toxic danger. It balances pH and is among the best acid balancers for the stomach. Used for cleansing, gentle skin care, wound healing, heartburn and diarrhea.


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