The properties of Estonian balneological peat
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Balneological peat is widely used because of its curative effects. For the present study seven study areas were chosen according to the research and mapping of Estonian peatlands. The studied peat deposit has mainly been formed by lake paludification. The mineral subsoil is represented by sand-clay, the vegetation consists of pine forest, the bog derives its nutrients from precipitation; the degree of humification is 40–50% and moisture content 85–90%. The peat types varied, but cottongrass sphagnum peat predominated. The content of trace elements was lower than on average in Estonian peatlands peat. The content of humic, fulvic, and especially hymatomelanic acids varied largely between peatlands and even in different layers in the same peatlands. In Parika peatland the concentration of bioactive substances was the highest, including 39.3% humic, 19.3% hy- matomelanic and 1.3% fulvic acids.
Medical tests with Parika peat were performed on 23 patients. Peat was heated up to 42 °C and the patients kept their hands in a plastic bag filled with peat for 25 min. The procedure was repeated 10 times. Clay will be used as the control treatment for 27 patients. Balneological peat improved the strength of hands and flexibility of fingers and reduced pain.