There has been a strong belief in the healing powers of hot spring minerals for thousands of years. For centuries, healers believed that soaking in hot spring waters could result in many health benefits. The earliest accounts date back to the Greco-Roman era, where hot springs were believed to soften hardened limbs and cure rheumatism, gout, paralysis, and even melancholy.
Nothing beats the warm, soothing waters of natural hot springs to help ease your aches and pains while improving your circulation, mood, and overall health. Lori Miller from Fairmont Hot Springs Resort explains, “Hot spring water is particularly beneficial for the skin and is often sought out for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.”
The water in hot springs can be heated to temperatures of over 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 Celsius). This very high temperature is widely accepted as having positive effects on human health when used properly. Although hot springs can be used for therapy at any time of year, the therapeutic benefits are most effective when the outside air temperatures are below 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius). This might be why hotels with hot springs are more popular in the colder months of the year.
Below are some of the benefits of hot springs:
Skin Benefits of Hot Spring Minerals
For thousands of years, humans have been soaking in natural hot springs to treat various skin conditions. Some ancient civilizations, such as the Romans and Greeks, even constructed large bathhouses by natural hot spring pools to use their precious thermal water for public bathing. Hot springs contain high levels of silica and sulfur, which have been linked to treating skin ailments such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema.
Sulfur is a mineral needed for collagen production, without which the skin would be unable to retain its elasticity and smooth texture. In addition to sulfur, hot springs are a rich source of other minerals such as silicon. Sulfur in the hot springs helps remove impurities from the body pores, making it suitable for treating dry scalp. Silicon gives the skin a smooth look and feels and helps treat nails, hair and brittle bone conditions such as osteoporosis. Silicone also keeps the skin from losing its elasticity over time by helping form a protective layer on top of the skin.
A spa treatment known as balneotherapy is rich in a history of treating ailments with hot springs water. Aside from its historical use, balneotherapy has recently gained popularity as alternative medicine and recreational activity. Many health and spa resorts offer balneotherapy to their clients.
Hot Springs Improve Blood Circulation
When you immerse yourself in hot springs, the increased hydrostatic pressure stimulates your body’s natural functions to improve your blood flow and metabolism. Hydrostatic pressure is the weight of the fluid that surrounds you in a hot spring, and it’s primarily due to the rich mineral content of the water. In addition, this pressure pushes your blood through your veins easily, improving your metabolism and cardiovascular function. A Japanese study shows that going to a hot spring once a week for an hour will increase your blood circulation by 40 percent. This is said to improve your metabolism and give you a better overall sense of wellness.
Proponents of hot springs claim that spending time in a hot spring can improve disease symptoms, especially for patients with heart conditions. If you have heart issues, you’ll find hot springs to be therapeutic. A study in the journal Heart and Vessels found that people with chronic heart failure bathed in hot springs had better cardiovascular function and reduced inflammation.
Hot Spring Waters Alleviate Stress and Promote Good Sleep
Your body has its own methods for regulating stress. When you’re stressed, your body produces adrenaline and cortisol, which are primary stress hormones. Stress is a factor in almost every disease, and scientific evidence shows that spending time in hot springs reduces stress and promotes sleep. The relaxing effects of hot springs are particularly beneficial for individuals who experience stress or anxiety. Hot springs can help improve your breathing patterns, which may help lead to better sleep. In addition, the warm water enveloping you nurtures tired muscles, soothes an aching back, relaxes the mind.
Potassium and lithium are vital micronutrients used to create a healthy nervous system by helping to transmit signals between cells, regulate nerve impulses, and calm the body. For example, the mineral content of hot springs can help relieve anxiety on a chemical level, including reducing or blocking pain from any source.
Soaking in Natural Painkillers
Believe it or not, there’s more than luck and wishful thinking involved when it comes to hot springs and their ability to relieve pain. When we step inside a steaming-hot pool, we can sometimes feel pain relief within mere minutes. There’s a scientific explanation behind all the benefits of hot springs: They contain natural chemicals that block our pain receptors.
Lori Miller from Fairmont Hot Springs Resort explains, “Hot springs are natural painkillers, which is why so many people feel great after a soak in our hot springs. The warmth from the hot springs relaxes sore muscles, while the mineral-rich water softens stiff joints, relieves inflammation and improves circulation.”
Soaking in a hot spring can be especially beneficial for patients suffering from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis. This is because the gradual increase in temperature helps relieve pain and stiffness without causing excess stress on muscles or joints.
The next time you find yourself in a situation where your joints are aching (travelling is an obvious example), try stopping at a natural hot spring on your trip instead of popping over-the-counter medicine. If nothing else, the experience will help you relax and can also help ease the pain. Although bathing in hot springs is a widespread practice, not everyone should take the plunge. Never take a dip in a natural hot spring without consulting your doctor.
The Bottom Line
If you have a genetic skin condition, you might want to try soaking in hot spring minerals. Your CircleDNA report will include a skin profile based on your DNA, to help you make sense of your skin and what it needs.
Even without the skin benefits, hot springs are still beneficial for many other reasons. We all need some time away from the pressures of daily life to relax and unwind. It’s essential to take some time for ourselves, and it can be done in many ways. Soaking in hot springs is one of the most popular ways to unwind. There is a reason why resorts with hot springs draw such a crowd and boast about the health benefits they provide. There are a variety of hot springs and thermal baths all over the map that you can visit for an afternoon or even stay for a weekend. After learning about some of the natural remedies for skin troubles and body pains that can be found in many hot springs, you might want to take a dip for good measure even if you’re not feeling under the weather.