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Oil is used to treat to cure muscular, skin and bone conditions as well as gynaecological and neurological problemsOil is used to treat to cure muscular, skin and bone conditions as well as gynaecological and neurological problems (AFP Photo/Mladen ANTONOV)

Naftalan (Azerbaijan) (AFP) – Immersed up to her neck in a dark viscous liquid, Sulfiya smiles in delight, confident that the fetid substance will cure her painful condition.

Sulfiya, a Russian woman in her 60s, has travelled to Azerbaijan’s north-western city of Naftalan in the hope that crude oil baths at a local sanatorium will end her years of suffering from polyarthritis, a disease affecting the joints.

“This is so pleasant,” she enthuses, despite the reek of engine oil.

Her naked dip in oil heated

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