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8 Aug, 2007 01:21

Magic Matsesta

Thousands of visitors to Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi enjoy the healing powers of the region's water. A special centre there uses water rich in sulfur to treat a range of health problems from heart disease to burn injuries.

Getting too close to the water is dangerous, you could be poisoned or even die but in the right hands the Hydrogen Sulphide it contains can cure all sorts of ailments.

At Matsesta sanatorium, a special health centre in Sochi, they have the know-how.

People suffering with a long list of problems including heart disease, arthritis and nerve damage come here for some rescue remedy

“The water improves blood circulation throughout the body and strengthens your immune system. Also, it has a sedative effect on your nervous system,” explained Larisa Lakoba, resort specialist.

The water comes from very deep underground and is kept at a heat of around 37 degrees.

The smell of the water is overwhelming, like a strong egg smell but it is worth it. There are eight different procedures available at the centre. One treatment focuses on the joints of the arms and legs. Another one is for your nose, ears and throat.

Specific areas of the body can also be targeted, something which is especially good for healing skin damage caused by burns. And of course you can always opt for the all-over treatment

“A year after I had this course I feel perfect, my joints and muscles aren't painful. It is a very useful procedure,” confirmed Igor Zhinakov, guest of the resort.

And with a 97% success rate it is also effective.

But there are some rules. Afterwards you must rest in an armchair for half an hour, avoid heavy exercise and most importantly not drink any alcohol. Instead there is a constant supply of Metsesta water. The water itself is checked daily to monitor the level of Hydrogen Sulphide. It should be about 50-150 mg per litre because anything higher could be toxic. But with the right balance the water has significant health benefits and has been trusted for over a century.

It first started in a cave, where after realising the healing powers of the water a doctor built a wooden bath in 1902 where people could come to relax and rehabilitate.

Even Stalin was a fan and personally ordered the construction of a sanatorium building in Matsesta in 1940.

Now, over 1000 people walk through the doors each day in summer, eager to experience the magic of the Matsesta.