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If you haven’t experienced natural hot springs before, let’s cover the basics.
The healing benefits of natural mineral waters (hot or cold) is a popular method used to treat or cure disease. This practice is known as Balneology. This therapeutic application dates back centuries and is even referenced in writing by Hippocrates in 500 B.C. A hot spring is produced by geothermally heated water from under the Earth’s crust. As the water travels to the surface, it dissolves and picks up minerals from rocks along the way. This is how the springs are so naturally rich in mineral nutrients.
Many hot springs that are 100% natural require some walking or hiking to reach, but the reward of being in a fully natural hot spring, in a quietly secluded area, is worth the bit of extra work. If you are unable to make the hike, there are places that pull the hot springs water into man-made pools.
The soothing thermal water does more than feel good on a cool day. It increases your body temperature to help kill bacteria, increases blood flow and circulation, and expels toxins through sweat.
Natural springs most commonly contain the following minerals:
Sulfur: Contained in every cell of the human body, sulfur is a component of amino acids (which make up protein). Contained in keratin, sulfur is a mineral that helps keep your hair and nails healthy. It also helps your body make collagen to retain your skin’s elasticity.
Boron: This is a trace mineral that was found to help regulate the calcium, magnesium, phosphorus balance in your body for strong bones. Studies also show it increases brain activity, and can enhance cognitive skills such as visual perception and concentration.
Magnesium: As an essential mineral, magnesium plays a part in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It plays a part in the metabolism of carbohydrates—converting food to energy—and influences the release of insulin.
Potassium: This mineral relieves tension of blood vessels which can lower blood pressure. Potassium also aids the metabolic process, helping the body eliminate toxins and utilize nutrients.
Sodium: An important mineral in your body, sodium is needed to maintain your electrolyte balance. This supports healthy transmission of nerve impulses, as well as healthy contraction and relaxation of muscles.
There are hot springs all over the world and with some online research, you should be able to find one near you! I recommend giving it a try, at least once. It’s an experience that will cleanse and rejuvenate you— body, mind, and soul.
Photo: Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, Clearwater National Forest in Idaho