Health benefits provided by Calistoga mud baths include stress relief and pore cleansing. It is also believed that the baths relieve joint and muscle pain, remove toxins from the body and improve skin complexion, although these claims are not proven.
As of 2014, there are five places to take a mud bath in Calistoga: Doc Wilkinson's, Golden Haven, Indian Springs, Calistoga Village Inn and Spa and Roman Hot Springs. The majority of the locations use a mud bath recipe that was originally invented by Wilkinson, although some have changed the formula a bit. The recipe includes volcanic ash, hot spring water and peat moss to provide comfort and help the body float in the mud bath. Doc Wilkinson's uses the original formula, whereas Indian Springs omits the peat moss, and Calistoga Village Inn and Spa adds white clay to its mud baths.
Each location offers the same basic process for taking a mud bath. Clients soak in the bath for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, and then they are helped out of the bath by an attendant who gives them ice water to drink and applies cool cloths to their heads. The mud is then washed off. The services that follow the bath vary by location.