The Ancient Healing Powers of Natural Hot Springs

By Susan Hartzler Public Relations Executive, Mental Marketing | June 29, 2014

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.

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