Article | Category: Glossary Terms

Fango is the Italian word for mud. Used in treatments, a highly mineralized mud may be mixed with oil or water and applied over the body as a heat pack to detoxify, stimulate the circulation and relieve muscular and arthritic pain.

Sometimes only an area such as a shoulder is covered. Otherwise the whole body is dipped or covered. "Parafango" is similar, using mud mixed with paraffin. This treatment relaxes the body, alleviates sore muscles, and softens the skin. Radioactivity is present in the mud at several spas. Pregnant women and women in their reproductive years should not risk possible genetic mutation by avoidable exposure to radioactivity. Fango creates an all-encompassing, gooey warmth and works like a poultice, softening the skin. Natural ingredients, such as peat moss and sea kelp, often are mixed into the mud to help contain the warmth and increase mineral content.


Other Names:
Fango, Mud Mask, Clay, Peat, Pelotherapy 

Description of Offering
Fangotherapy is the application of mud, peat, and clay on the skin for healing purposes.
This offering has its roots in ancient practices.

Origin of Offering
Early Civilizations (6000+ years ago)

Brief History of the Offering
Although using mud and clay on the body for healing dates back to ancient times, fangotherapy first gained popularity in the early 1800's in Europe. Over the centuries, people have traveled to enjoy the healing properties of natural thermal fango. Traditionally the mud was used in its natural state, but now it is ‘matured’ in special tanks to improve its therapeutic properties.

Fun Fact
Different items such as seaweed, herbal  infusions, essential oils, and natural food products (yogurt, honey, milk, fruit juices, and mashed fruits) can be mixed into clay to make the treatment more interesting.

Primary Benefit Received
Improve Appearance
Other Benefits
Body Maintenance, Increase Circulation in Body, Pain Reduction.

Research Publication
The efficacy of Brazilian black mud treatment in chronic experimental arthritis. Britschka, Teodoro, Velosa & Verissimo de Mello, Rheumatology International (2007) 28, 39-45.

Primary Findings of Research
The results demonstrate a protective effective of Brazilian mud on this model of arthritis, suggesting that this therapy may be useful as a complementary approach to treat articular diseases.

Typical Length of Offering
45 - 60 minutes
The offering is most often provided one guest at a time.

Offering is primarily suited for:
Day Spa (wellness focus), Resort/Hotel/Cruise Ship Spa, Destination Spa, Medical Clinic/Spa, Club Spa (day or residential),

How many treatment providers are needed to produce the offering?

Common License/Certification or Training necessary to provide the offering:
Esthetician (skin care specialist), Cosmetologist (cosmetics specialist, make up artist), Massage Therapist (general training), Massage Therapist (with supplemental training).

Information about the most often used offering protocol
Natural Spa and Hydrotherapy, Chapter 6
Ann Mihina and Sandra Anderson, Chapter 6 - Pelotherapy (2010), 179-192

Type of space/facility most often used for the offering:
Private Wet Treatment Room (Vichy, Baths, Watsu Pool, etc.)

Type of space/facility that can be use for the offering:
Private Dry Treatment Room, Specialty Space (labyrinth, infusion room, color therapy, etc.),

How many towels are used?
4 - 7

Does the guest generally use a robe and/or a wrap for the offering?
Yes, robe only.

How many sheets are used?
1 - 3

Does the offering require the use of products (i.e. lotions, lacquers, scrubs, cleansers, etc.)?

How many different products are used?
5 - 7

Approximate product cost per treatment:
$8 USD

Products used:
Clay, peat, or mud, foaming cleanser, exfoliant, finishing cream/lotion. Optional: essential oils, skin toner.

Does the offering require the use of disposable supplies (i.e. cotton squares, balls and swabs, lancets, etc.)?

How many different disposable supplies are used?
3 - 5

Describe/list the disposable supplies used?
Cosmetic sponges, plastic wrap, gloves.

Equipment and supplies needed to provide the offering:
Raised massage-style table, supply trolley (or table top surface), hot towel unit (cabinet), water source (sink or shower), mixing/product bowl(s). Optional: application brush.

Including only the following items (products, disposable items, linen laundry, and other direct costs---not labor), what is the typical cost of the offering?
$8 - $15 USD

Typical single session price of the offering.
$45 - $120 USD


Publication used to prepare this submission.

Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage TherapistsAnne Williams, Fangotherapy Chapter 9 (2010).

Fangotherapy Fun, Why Smart Girls play in the Mud , Anne Williams (2007)

Fangotherapy- TheraMOOR, Benefits of Fangotherapy,  (2012)

Author Information
Jenna Hocking
Florida Gulf Coast University

Author Biography
Jenna is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University studying Resort and Hospitality Management with an expected graduation of summer 2017. She is pursuing a career in the hotel food and beverage industry.

Editor Information:
Mary Wisnom
Professor, School of Resort & Hospitality Management, Florida Gulf Coast University, USA