There is nothing that makes me feel better, physically, mentally, or emotionally, than a long soak in searing hot mineral springs. My aches and pains fade away along with my stress and cares. My skin and hair look radiant and vibrant. My spirit becomes more vital. My soul is restored and I feel like myself again.
The art and science of balneology is a practice that is not well known or widely practiced in the United States and other parts of North America. However, the use of hydrotherapy, pelotherapy, thalassotherapy, and balneotherapy is increasing dramatically worldwide.
In fact, in modern Europe and Japan, the medical science of balneology is already an integrated part of allopathic medical practice and preventative medicine. In France and in Japan, “taking of the waters” is covered on the national health care plan. These therapies are extremely popular in Scandinavian countries as well.
Natural hot springs, comprised of geothermally heated groundwater, can be found all over Colorado; a few of my favorites are found at Glenwood Springs, Idaho Springs or Hot Sulfur Springs. There are many natural “hippy dips” along the Colorado and other rivers. These hippy dips are naturally occurring springs along the banks of the river. In some cases, people have painstakingly taken river rocks and build rock wall hot tubs on the banks of the river: hot water captured in the tub and icy cold mountain water swiftly flowing past. It is a true gift to be welcomed into these secret and sacred spaces. I relish my time relaxing and letting the mineral rich water flow into my pores. I make it a practice to visit hot springs at least once a month for my health and for my sanity.
Water from Colorado hot springs appears either slightly yellow-brownish or milky and emits a faint smell of rotten eggs (sulfur dioxide). These waters are laden with sulfur, silica, radium, selenium, boron, magnesium, manganese, lithium, calcium, sodium, potassium, silver, and many other minerals. The minerals in the water have positive therapeutic effects on various skin ailments, pms and menopause, asthma, neuralgia, arteriosclerosis, rheumatism and shoulder, neck and wrist pains; they also have a detoxifying and mucolytic effect.
From: Glenwood Springs Pool website:
Health Benefits of Mineral Hot Springs
2009, Glenwood Springs, CO… People have been “taking the waters” at the natural hot springs that feed the Glenwood Hot Springs for centuries. The Ute Indians were the first to discover the miraculous healing powers of the local mineral waters, calling them “Yampah” meaning “Big Medicine.” These early Colorado residents considered this a sacred place and used the waters to heal their sick and wounded.
In the late 1890’s, the hot springs mineral water was bottled by the Glenwood Hot Springs Company under the name “Yampah.” The beverage was served in the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad dining cars and eating establishments and was distributed by druggists. Hot mineral water from the “drinking” or “cocktail” spring, a stone structure built in 1888, was served up in goblets and still exists for those who can brave the pungent sulfur aroma.
The practice of using natural mineral water for the treatment or cure of disease is known as “balneology”. Soaking in highly concentrated mineral water is thought to have many health benefits such as increasing body temperature thus killing harmful germs and viruses, eliminating toxins, increasing blood flow and circulation, increasing metabolism, and absorption of essential minerals. Many have come to the Glenwood Hot Springs to treat their ailments. The famous gun-slinger, Doc Holliday, who suffered from tuberculosis, came to Glenwood Springs to ease his symptoms. During World War II, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool was used as a therapeutic tool by physiotherapists to rehabilitate emotionally and physically disabled sailors and marines.
Today, heat from the waters continues to have a relaxing, soothing effect on muscles and the mind. The Yampah Spring flows at 3,500,000 gallons per day at a temperature of 122° F (51°C), one of the hottest in the world, and is cooled to 104°F (40°C) before it is piped in to the Glenwood Hot Springs therapy pool. Many come to the Glenwood Hot Springs to rejuvenate, revitalize and get back to nature. Visitors often feel healthier, happier and renewed. Perhaps it is the fountain of youth?
Glenwood Hot Springs 970-947-2954
- Benefits of Sulfur-Sulfur is a mineral naturally occurring near hot springs and volcanic craters. Sulfur has been used medicinally since ancient times, and it is contained in every cell in your body. It is a component of three different amino acids (the building blocks that make up protein). Approximately 0.25 percent of your total body weight is sulfur. It is most concentrated in keratin, which gives you strong hair, nails, and skin. It is known as “nature’s beauty mineral” because your body needs it to manufacture collagen, which keeps your skin elastic, beautiful, and young looking. Sulfur is used primarily to ease the red, itchy rashes of conditions such as eczema and diaper rash. It also helps to protect your body against toxins in the environment. In addition, people with arthritis may find pain relief from taking a soothing bath in hot sulfur springs. Sulfur is shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Benefits of Selenium-It is a powerful antioxidant and is crucial to the health and function of the thyroid gland.
- · Benefits of Silica-Silica is one of the most important minerals for strong, beautiful, healthy skin, hair, nails, and bones. It is also shown to reduce the likelihood of dementia.
- Benefits of Arsenic – While arsenic in larger doses is toxic in the human body, minute amounts may assist the body with plasma and tissue growth. Foot bathing in mineral waters with a high content of arsenic is used to address fungal conditions of the feet.
- Benefits Boron – Boron builds muscle mass, increases brain activity and strengthens bones.
- Benefits of Magnesium – Magnesium converts blood sugar to energy and promotes healthy skin.
- Benefits of Potassium – Potassium assists in the normalization of heart rhythms, assists in reducing high blood pressure, helps to eliminate body toxins and promotes healthy skin.
- Benefits of Lithium-Lithium is a helpful depression regulator and mood stabilizer. Dosage in mineral water is extremely small.
- Benefits of Sodium – Sodium and natural salts assist with the alleviation of arthritic symptoms, and may stimulate the body’s lymphatic system when used in baths.
Hydrotherapy: water therapy for pain, such as cold or hot tub soak
Pelotherapy: natural clay therapy, clay packs and massage
Balneotherapy: mineral water spa treatments including soaking, massage, and movement
Thalassotherapy: Seawater specific therapy