Hot springs have long been a source of healing and relaxation. The warm, mineral-rich waters (including silica and sulfur, which gives some hot springs their characteristic rotten egg odor) soothe persistent skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis.
Bathing in hot water also helps improve circulation and relieves stress. But what else can soaking in geothermal pools do for you?
Relax Your Mind
There’s nothing quite like stepping into a naturally hot body of water and closing your eyes, breathing in the fresh air. Soaking in hot springs (also called hot potting, balneotherapy in a therapeutic and complementary health context, or hydrothermal therapy) is an ancient practice that can reap impressive wellness benefits.
These springs, heated by hot rocks deep within the Earth, often come with an array of dissolved minerals. Among them are sulfur, known to relieve joint stiffness and pain; calcium, for strong teeth, bones, and hair; boron, which helps your muscles work better; and sulfate, an anti-inflammatory.
While modern resorts feature amenities such as hot tubs, robes, and massage, some rustic natural hot springs still require a hike. These more secluded soaks offer seclusion and the potential for health-boosting properties.
Whether you suffer from chronic back pain or arthritic flare-ups, immersing yourself in natural mineral waters can ease sore muscles. While soaking doesn’t cure illnesses, it’s been shown to reduce symptoms and aid rehabilitation (via Circle DNA).
A resorts with hot springs vacation is also a great place to soak your body in minerals that nourish the skin and boost overall health. For example, sulfur in a hot spring helps with dermatitis and other skin conditions. And the calcium and sodium carbonate in many springs improves blood circulation, which can help lower blood pressure.
The magnesium in hot springs also boosts cellular oxygenation and encourages lymphatic system drainage. According to a 2016 study, the thermal water in hot springs may promote weight loss by improving cell metabolism and reducing inflammation.
Since the days of the Wild West, hot springs have been the source of healing, rejuvenation, and health improvements. From humble holes in the ground surrounded by woods to water channeled into artificial pools at luxury resorts, soaking in mineral-rich waters (that may contain dissolved calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and sulfur—the latter of which lends some springs their distinctive rotten egg odor) is said to relieve a host of ailments from rheumatism to inflammation.
For a soak that’s as soothing on the eyes as on the skin, the mineral-rich waters are visible in three natural rock grotto soaking pools and the main resort pool. You can also reserve a private soaking tub or a cozy cabin for a more intimate experience.
From bare-bones, eco-friendly camps that embrace nature to New Agey retreats and luxe resorts, these hot springs hotels take the soaking experience to the next level with luxurious amenities like spa treatments, farm-sourced meals, and cozy accommodations. And with a renewed interest in wellness tourism, the 21st-century revival of hot springs looks like it’s here to stay.
Hot springs are a tremendous stress-relief option because they relax the body and mind. Plus, most hot springs are located in breathtaking landscapes. Remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles for safety and respect wildlife and the environment.
Bathing in mineral-rich thermal water is also known to improve skin health. It softens dry, rough skin and soothes psoriasis and eczema. The silica in natural hot springs also helps reduce wrinkles and aging signs.
While more research is needed, soaking in hot springs may help relieve some chronic physical ailments. According to a study, it’s believed that hot springs soaks may alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and knee osteoarthritis.
While soaking in hot springs is a relaxing and healing activity, it is sedentary. So, if you have any medical conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking a dip. It’s also important to drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic beverages while soaking in hot springs. Hydrogen sulfide, a gas that gives some hot springs their rotten egg smell, can blacken silver jewelry, so be sure to remove any metal jewelry before soaking.