As long as there have been people and hot springs, there have been claims of beneficial healing powers associated with libations and soaking in these springs. In the modern world, many believe these properties are real and the benefits are easily explained.
Many claim that the body-mind mechanism reacts positively to the combination of the heat and minerals found in these waters. Since the human body is made up of these same minerals and is 60% water (1), it isn’t too far a logical stretch that the benefits of soaking in a hot spring are not mysterious at all.
Geothermal waters come from as far underground as 3,000 feet. These waters are heated by the earth’s natural core temperature. The water seeps back up above ground through various cracks and splits it makes in rocks. One of the typical telltale signs of a hot spring is the unmistakable smell of Sulphur.
The practice of soaking in hot mineral springs is known as “taking the waters”. In America, this health treatment reached a peak of popularity from the mid-1800s well into the 1930s. (2)
Filled with Minerals
Wiesbaden Hot Springs
Located in Ouray, Colorado, Wiesbaden Hot Springs lists the many minerals found in their waters along with the healing properties each brings to those who bathe in the geothermal waters. It’s believed that the healing process has two components. The first is the water temperature and the second is the various minerals typically found in these waters.
Some of the benefits listed on the website include detoxification, tension release, stimulation of circulation and immune system, pain-killer properties, muscle relaxants, calming effects and nourishing the skin. You can find a complete list of the various minerals in these springs along with the healing each promotes, such as Silica for healthy skin, hair and nails. This mineral also aids in strengthening connective tissues, bones and joints.
Other minerals include Sulfate (detoxifier), Bicarbonate (aids circulation and balances nervous system), Calcium (strengthens bones), Magnesium (muscle tissue and heart rhythm and blood sugar regulator), Potassium (skin, bones and kidneys), Sodium (arthritic relief) and Lithium (brain function and memory). (3)
You can stay at the Wiesbaden Hot Springs either in one of their suites, an apartment or a historic small cottage. The soaking facility is fed by natural hot springs that range in temperature between 102 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit (F).
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Hot Springs, Arkansas is probably one of the best known natural hot mineral springs. The thermal waters are typically 143 degrees F. A national park since 1832, the waters flow throughout the area. According to the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Hot Springs National Park is “…America’s only national park located inside a city.” (4)
Another fascinating find for therapeutic use of the mineral water is Levi Hospital. Founded in 1914,the hospital still operates today as a non-profit Surgery and General Medical Care Hospital. It also offers an outpatient rehab service with “a 3,000 square foot gym and a 50’ x 20’ pool filled with thermal waters … the only place in the world that a person can get physical or occupational therapy in the Hot Springs National Park Thermal Water.” (5)
There are numerous spas and bath houses where visitors and guests can take advantage of the city’s greatest resource, the hot springs mineral waters.
Jewels in the Rough
Chena Hot Springs
This Fairbanks, Alaska jewel was discovered centuries ago, but it wasn’t until gold miners soaked in the warm waters that it became a resort destination around the world. Visitors can enjoy the “natural outdoor hot springs rock lake”. (6)
Claims of Healings at Wilbur Hot Springs
Over the centuries, people have claimed to have been healed of all types of ailments from regular soakings in hot springs or hot mineral waters. Wilbur Hot springs is part of a 1,800 acre nature preserve in Colusa County California. (7)
According to the website, the waters have “…remarkable healing properties, which enter the body in a way similar to how a transdermal patch releases medicine.” You can find numerous testimonies on the site by guests. Many cite that they felt rejuvenated or their arthritis was temporarily relieved and all remark about experiencing release from stress.
Hot Springs, North Carolina
With mineral waters at 108 degrees F, the Cherokees and other Native Americans were the first to recognize the healing properties of the geothermal waters in Hot Springs, North Carolina. James Patton of Asheville, NC purchased the land and by 1837 had a 350-room resort, Warm Springs Hotel.
For over 50 years, people traveled to the resort to partake in what many believed to be the miraculous healing waters of the springs. The hotel burned down in 1884, and a 200-room hotel was built in 1886. When another spring was discovered with hotter waters, the town changed its name to Hot Springs. People today still enjoy the soothing mineral waters, perhaps not on as grandiose a scale, but the combination of the waters and the lush mountain ranges still inspire and soothe. (8)
Desert Hot Springs, California
Once more it was the indigenous people who first discovered this oasis of hot mineral waters. The Native Americans called this area Palm Springs. None of the tribes lived near the waters, fearing that the springs were “alive”. Dr. Wellwood Murray built the first hotel and opened it in 1887. The resort included a bathhouse built over the springs. The sulphur content of the waters is very high, but its crystalline form prevents it from emitting the typical rotten egg odor. (9)
All over the world, those who use these special earth spas claim to receive decided benefits. If you’ve never experienced the therapeutic waters of a hot spring, then you may wish to treat yourself. Hot springs are found all over the world. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) (10) or Deep Creek Hot Springs (11) offers complete lists of the over 160 thermal springs found throughout America.
References & Image Credits:
(2) Chena Hot Springs
(3) Wiesbaden Hot Springs
(4) Hot Springs Chamber
(5) Levi Hospital
(6) Chena Hot Springs
(7) Wilbur Hot Springs
(8) Hot Springs NC
(11) Deep Creek Hot Springs
(12) O_S_H via photopin cc
(13) musubk via photopin cc