The Ancient Healing Powers of Natural Hot Springs

Fire Mountain Retreat has natural hot springs and provides geo thermal hot tubs on a daily basis.  Here are some of the benefits of natural hot springs:


For centuries, Native Americans, early European explorers, and visitors from around the world have flocked to natural hot springs to bathe in the healing waters. "Taking the waters" through a soak or a sip, was believed to cure almost any ailment. But over time, the popularity of this practice lost its resilience…until now. In both Europe and Japan, hot spring therapy has been an accepted and popular treatment for musculoskeletal problems for some time now, believed to help those with high blood pressure, eczema and a variety of other complaints. The recent resurgence of wellness resorts and destination spas is bringing these ancient healing bathing rituals back in vogue here in the United States.

When you consider that the word Spa is an acronym for the Latin phrase, "salus per aquae" or "health through water," it's easy to see how soaking in naturally occurring hot springs can benefit everyone in today's stressful world. In fact, there are many hot-spring spa towns across the United States where mineral-rich natural springs are heated or cooled to comfortably warm temperatures for pools and tubs, surrounded by lovely parks and trails to enhance the health focus of the resorts. Click here for a list of hot springs around the world.

Although contemporary medicine has been slow to establish any scientific basis for the benefits of soaking in mineral-rich hot springs water, it's soothing beneficial effects cannot be denied. A tranquil hot springs soak is widely recognized as providing relief from the pain of stressed muscles and tired joints. The complex effects of hot springs minerals on the skins glands and blood vessels are just a few of the benefits found in these ancient springs.

Though American resorts cannot and do not promise healing through soaking in natural hot springs, they are thriving today. In fact, the hotel and spa industry has jumped into this ancient healing therapy, pouring millions into the restoration of 19th and 20th century resorts to their original magnificence, combining the practice with modern spa service menus.

What is it that makes soaking in hot springs so desirable? Generally spring water is warm, even hot featuring different properties in different regions. However, the temperature, while relaxing, is not necessarily the characteristic of these spring waters that call forth any healing effects. It's the mineral composition of the springs that really matter.

The practice of using natural mineral water for the treatment or cure of disease is nothing new. Known as "balneology," (defined as mineral water spa treatments including soaking, massage, and movement), springs found in natural environments receive the "qi" (life-force energy) of all five elements: earth (the ground in which the spring is held); metal (the various minerals in the spring-water); water (the water itself); wood (the surrounding trees, and/or the wooden benches etc. surrounding the spring); and fire (the heat of the water, and the sun overhead). It is not a leap to believe hot springs have the capacity to balance and harmonize our body and mind, quite naturally.

Soaking in highly concentrated mineral water also heats up your body temperature thus killing harmful germs and viruses, eliminating toxins, increasing blood flow and circulation, increasing metabolism, and absorption of essential minerals.

One naturally occurring mineral found near hot springs is sulfur, caused by sulfur dioxide gas escaping into the air. Sulfur is an essential element for all life. It is contained in literally every cell in your body as a component of three different amino acids (the building blocks that make up protein). Approximately 0.25 percent of your total body weight is sulfur. Known as "nature's beauty mineral," your body needs sulfur to manufacture collagen to keep your skin elastic and looking young.

Sulfur is not the only chemical element found in naturally occurring hot springs. Boron builds muscle mass while increasing brain activity and strengthening bones. Magnesium converts blood sugar to energy and promotes healthy skin. Potassium assists in the normalization of heart rhythms, and helps in reducing high blood pressure by eliminating body toxins. Sodium can ease the pain of arthritic symptoms while stimulating the body's lymphatic system.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is crucial to the health and function of the thyroid gland. Silica is one of the most important minerals for strong, beautiful, healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones. It is also shown to reduce the likelihood of dementia. While arsenic in larger doses is toxic in the human body, minute amounts may assist the body with plasma and tissue growth. Foot bathing in mineral waters with a high content of arsenic is used to address fungal conditions of the feet. Lithium is a helpful depression regulator and mood stabilizer. Dosage in mineral water is extremely small.

Heat, buoyancy, and massage are the three main ingredients in thermal water therapy. Together, they create an experience that is both relaxing and healing. Those who enjoy hot tub hydrotherapy on a regular basis say the physical health benefits go much deeper than just relaxation and pleasure. The water is so pure and simple, yet it can do the most amazing things. Whether you are experiencing joint or muscle pain, having trouble sleeping, or are just plain stressed out, spending time in a hot tub spa can provide therapeutic benefits for just about everyone.

So What Exactly Can Soaking in Natural Hot Springs Do?

1) Improve Circulation - Bicarbonate hot springs are thought to help with blood circulation, hypertension, nervous imbalances and atherosclerosis.

2) Treat Skin Infections - According to the website Alternative Doctor, bathing in sulfur-rich hot springs helps treat dry scalp and arthritic pain as well as internal problems such as menopausal symptoms and digestive disorders.

3) Reduce Stress - Everyone stepping into the natural hot waters of mineral hot springs immediately relaxes. There are so many health benefits found in relaxation from improved sleeping patterns and nutrient assimilation to creating healthy digestive tracts. The National Sleep Foundation says insomnia causes even more stress in your body, which can wreak even more havoc in humans. There are even benefits to the buoyancy of hot springs. This buoyancy can help increase the range of motion of muscles and joints.

4) Detoxify - It is believed that bathing repeatedly in hot springs can help tone your autonomic nervous system and normalize your endocrine system, as well as release toxins in your body through sweating.

5) Boost Immune System - Some proponents believe that iron content in hot springs, along with other trace minerals, might help build your body's immune system, making it stronger and more able to fight infections.

Soaking in natural hot springs does come with some warnings. The high mineral content in some waters that has so many health benefits can actually irritate the skin, particularly in cuts or open sores. Hydrogen sulfide, the gas that gives some hot springs a rotten-egg smell will blacken silver jewelry, so make sure to take any valuables off before sinking in.

"If you're going to bathe in a natural hot mineral spring, never put your head under water," explains Dr. Andrew Weil, an American medical doctor and naturopath, as well as a teacher and writer on holistic health . "A free-swimming amoeba called naegleria that lives in many hot springs can enter the body through the nose and can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a very serious, potentially deadly infection of the brain."

Weil also sites a study published in the August, 1992 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that cautions pregnant women from soaking in natural hot springs, particularly during the first trimester because of possible neural-tube defects (including anencephaly and spina bifida)

The good news is that there are many resorts throughout the United States that encourage visitors to slip into naturally heated tubs and experience this ancient form of healing. The Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa in Central California's Wine Coast Country, for instance derives all of its water directly from natural water sources found underground on the resort's 100 acres of forest, hills and meadows. This resort found exactly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles in the lush hills of the Avila Valley offers visitors a truly unique location with tremendous beauty and impeccable weather year-round. Featuring open-air hillside mineral spring tubs, guests can make individual reservations by the hour or book a soak for up to eight people per tub. Within walking distance to the beach, this historic property is a destination like no other, inspired by its mineral spring water and spectacular views making it the ideal environment to refresh renew and restore one's mind, body and spirit.

Susan Hartzler is a Public Relations Executive at Mental Marketing working with tourism clients generating feature travel stories and writing travel blogs. A highly innovative, self-motivated and performance-driven public relations professional, Ms. Hartzler is credited with inspired marketing campaigns that utilize both traditional media placements and social media strategies to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of editorial access across a broad spectrum of outlets. Acknowledged for her outstanding ability to create and deliver consistent brand messaging while using creativity to bring campaigns to life, she has extensive experience in the spa arena, consulting in the opening of a variety of world-renown resort spas. Ms. Hartzler can be contacted at 818-585-8641 or

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