Background: The suggested hypothesis of a direct anti-inflammatory property of mud-pack treatment has led us to speculate that its action on the cytokine network might counteract the heat-stress-related effects on platelet and endothelial cell function often reported following hot-spring baths. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the effects of a cycle of 12 daily mud-pack treatments on bio-humoral markers of inflammation, as well as on markers of in vivo platelet and/or endothelial cell activation, in plasma samples obtained from healthy volunteers.
Methods: Blood samples were obtained before (T(0)), at the end of the first treatment (T(1)) and after a cycle of 12 daily mud-pack treatments (T(2)). Plasma cytokines (TNF-alpha IL-1beta, and IL-6) and adhesion molecules (sP-selectin, sE-selectin and sVCAM) levels, as well as hematocrit and complete and differential blood cell counts were determined at every time point.
Results: Plasma sP-selectin levels were not modified during treatment, as were not sE-selectin or sVCAM. Similarly, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha levels were unchanged through a 12 daily mud-pack treatment. Conversely, plasma IL-6 levels were significantly lowered at the end of a 20-min 47 degrees C mud-pack treatment (p<0.01).
Conclusions: The lack of effects on in vivo platelet and/or endothelial cell activation suggests that hot mud-pack treatment might be used as a relatively safe procedure in patients with atherothrombotic disorders.