There are many health benefits to bathing in natural hot springs. The water, typically heated naturally from deep within the earth, contains numerous minerals it picks up on the way up to the earth’s surface.
When you hear the word “spa”, what comes to mind? You may immediately think of “relaxation, healing, and tranquility”, yet the term, whose origins are rooted in the town of Spa, Belgium, literally means “health through water”.
Soaking in a hot spring, whether it is primitive or developed, is one of the best ways to feel renewed. These waters have been heated by geothermal factors, typically measuring around 90-110°F (32-43° C) in most of the baths.
However, they can be found cooler than that in “warm springs”, maybe as low as the high 60 degrees, or on the flip-side, can reach the surface well over 115 degrees and are too hot to soak in, and must be cooled down before bathing is safe. Anything between 105-115°F (40-46°C) is best for very short durations (minutes), and anything much higher isn’t recommended for soaking.
Every degree makes a difference. Around 100-104° F (37° C) is a nice sweet spot for a fifteen-minute soak, before breaking for a little while, maybe taking a cold plunge, and then re-emerging. When done properly they provide numerous physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.
Physical Benefits of Hot Springs Bath
There are numerous advantages one can reap from mineral water and plenty of fun, interesting facts about hot springs to back up these claims.
Skin – High acidity and antibacterial properties can help reduce the redness and itching of eczema and psoriasis as well as skin irritations and infections. The alkaline waters are also known to have a cleansing effect, which leaves your skin smooth and beautiful.
Musculoskeletal Issues – Soaking can reduce swollen joints and help with arthritis and muscle soreness.
Circulation – Due to the hot water temperature, blood vessels expand and increase blood flow throughout the body, which can lower blood pressure.
Detoxify – Increased circulation helps your body discharge toxic substances from your body and encourages healing.
Relaxation – The feeling of floating helps decrease stress. Waters between the 98.6°F -104°F range helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nerve, causing your heart rate to slow and your body to relax.
Relieve Pain – You can find relief from pain and fatigue by soaking in the hot waters, as noted by an Israeli study which was published in Rheumatology International. The heat lessens the pain receptors in your body, allowing you a break from the widespread pain.
Weight Loss – Just soaking in hot springs can help you burn 140 calories an hour! What an easy way to relax and burn off a little extra weight.
Better Sleep – Just like a warm bath before bed, a hot spring bath will help you sleep more deeply. The contrast between the warmth of the bath and the coolness of your bedroom should send you to dreamland in a blink of an eye.
Mental & Emotional Benefits of Hot Springs Bath
Close your eyes (meditate or pray) and let your mind relax. Soaking in hot springs is the perfect place to enjoy the tranquility of nature in the warmth of a bath. Take the time to be in the moment and don’t think of the world that awaits you.
Balneology is the study of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs for treatment, and it has shown the restorative benefits of soaking in mineral hot springs can be felt 2-3 weeks later! What is in these waters that make them so healing?
A few minerals can make a big difference:
- Sulfur – helps relieve respiratory and skin problems
- Magnesium – assists in creating smooth, healthy, and clear skin
- Sodium – diminishes swelling and pain in joints and aids the lymphatic system
- Potassium – encourages skin health and eliminates toxins
- Radium – alleviates joint, muscle, and nerve pain
Consider shopping online for a bag of healthy mineral salts (affiliate link) to add to your home bathtub ritual to gain some of these restorative effects.
Creating A Spa Experience At Home
If you can’t get to a hot spring, many sites extract and sell their unique blend of minerals, in a bath salt form, for home use. There are a variety of salts sold, especially if you are looking for a specific type of mineral. Run a hot bath, pour in a packet, and let the relaxation begin.
You Should NOT Soak if:
- You’re pregnant: These high temperatures and minerals are not good for women who are pregnant or nursing.
- You have high blood pressure, severe arthritis or diabetes, a fever, sensitive skin, heart or kidney disease, or are elderly.
- If you have been drinking or using drugs.
Otherwise, soak away in proper short durations and drink plenty of fluids. Happy hot springs!