Bathing In Crude Oil
While most people head to the spa for an indulgent massage, facial or pedicure, those in Naftalan, a city in Western Azerbaijan do things slightly differently.
This small town offers all sorts of unique spas, such as crude oil baths. Azerbaijan has tons of natural resources, such as underground gas and crude oil, giving the country the nickname The Land of Fire.
According to ancient records, people would bath in the oil as early as the 6th century. Under the Soviet Union, the treatment became popular once again, and is now embraced by Azerbaijans.
The people who were brave enough to give it a try describe it as similar to chocolate, believe it or not. Apparently, it makes a tingling sensation. The bath is warm, and does smell as strong as one would expect.
The treatment itself lasts for ten minutes, since any longer could be dangerous for the heart. It is followed by a cleaning process of 40 minutes that scrapes the crude oil off of the body.
A medical specialist in the area claims that it kills fungi, bacteria and viruses, and can cure 70 diseases. It is supposed to help skin and neurological disorders. The crude oil used in Naftalan is not the same as people use in their cars.
Not everyone agrees with the claims of the health benefits, and believe that it could cause cancer and other side effects. But on the other hand, where else in the world can you emerge yourself in a bath full of warm oil?
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