Soaking in a hot spring need not be solely reserved for a relaxing vacation or a weekend getaway. These mineral-rich baths offer a slew of natural health benefits you may not know about. The healing powers of hot springs have been used for thousands of years and are widely accepted in Europe and Japan as natural treatment options for various common ailments. The therapeutic use of water, or balneotherapy, could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to relieving pain, stress, skin woes and more.
Boosts Blood Circulation
The water found in natural hot springs contains a variety of different minerals, including calcium and sodium bicarbonate. When you bathe in a hot spring, your skin soaks in these minerals and your hydrostatic pressure rises. As this process continues, circulation and oxygen flow increases -- much like when you exercise. An oxygenated circulatory system is beneficial in keeping not only your heart, but your body's other vital organs and tissues, healthy and strong.
Reduces Stress, Promotes Sleep
Stress relief doesn’t have to come in the form of a pill. Excess stress can be remedied naturally by immersing your body in a hot-spring water bath. The minerals in the water can contribute to the psychological healing process, while heat relaxes tense muscles. Improved sleep can be an added benefit; when you soak in warm water, your body temperature rises, then quickly cools down when your bath is complete. This body-cooling process can help you relax and fall into a deeper sleep.
Relieves Pain, Naturally
If you suffer from chronic muscle pain, arthritis or even fibromyalgia, soaking in a pool of hot-spring water can effectively improve pain. An Israeli study found in the journal "Rheumatology International," shows evidence that hot mineral baths may aid in pain relief and fibromyalgia fatigue. Additionally, when your body is submerged in hot-spring water, the buoyancy encourages freer movement by naturally supporting your joints.
Solves Skin Problems
When applied directly to the skin, mineral-rich hot-spring water can help to naturally relieve certain skin conditions. The high silica content found in hot springs can smooth and soften dry, rough skin. Similarly, the medicinal properties of the water's sulfur content can relieve uncomfortable eczema and psoriasis symptoms.
Before You Soak
Always check with your doctor before taking a soak in a hot spring, especially if you're pregnant, elderly, have cardiovascular problems or another serious illness, to be sure the practice is safe for you.
- Dr. Weil: Whole Body Revitalizers: Mineral Baths
- The Balneology Association of North America: Mineral Waters
- Sleep: Nighttime Drop in Body Temperature: A Physiological Trigger For Sleep Onset?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide: Sulfur
- Rheumatology International: Balneotherapy for Fibromyalgia at the Dead Sea
- Dr. C Health and Beauty: Balneotherapy