A vacation to natural hot springs is the wellness trip you should take this winter
As temperatures drop across much of the United States, you might be looking for a warm getaway – and if you want to get off the beaten path of exotic islands, you’re in luck. A hot spring vacation is what you should take this fall, according to wellness experts. While you may have seen social media posts about – or even visited some – famous hot springs, like the Blue lagoon in Iceland there are many great options scattered across the United States. All you need to do is get in your car (or on a plane, train, or bus) and you can be submerged in soothing warm geothermal water in no time. There might even be one in your backyard – or at least nearby – and you might not even realize it.
In addition to their calming effects, hot springs are also good for your body. Research has been shown to help relieve musculoskeletal problems, like aches and pains, as well as skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. And hot sulphurous water is good for your blood circulation, too (despite its infamous smell). There’s even a scientific term for using mineral waters from natural hot springs to relieve ailments and reduce inflammation: Balneotherapy. For this, the water temperature must be at least 20 degrees Celsius and have a mineral content of at least 1g / L. 37. (True, few of them walk around with a thermometer or device to measure the mineral content of a hot spring before entering it, but it’s safe to say that they still have therapeutic powers.)
Nathaniel Altman, author of Healing Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters, also works HealingSprings.info, which he says has the world’s largest online directory of hot and mineral springs. His book is the first to provide medical proof that mineral sources can both cure and prevent disease. “There is ample medical evidence that mineral sources can prevent and treat a wide variety of health problems, including arthritis, rheumatism, heart, liver, kidney and circulatory disease, skin disease, gastrointestinal disorders. -gut and diabetes, âhe told TZR in an email. . âBathing in hot springs is also great for reducing stress and boosting the immune system. And balneotherapy is part of the mainstream medicine in many European countries.
Hot springs are good for your mental health too
Besides the physical benefits that hot springs provide, they are also excellent for your mental health and are so relaxing that they can help you sleep better. âGoing to a hot spring provides an opportunity to disconnect from the routines, concerns and stresses of everyday life,â says Altman. âHot spring baths are an essential part of social life in Japan and Taiwan, which is good for body and soul. He adds that bathing in a warm or hot mineral spring is very soothing. âOur first home was the liquid environment of our mother’s womb, so hot water baths allow us to recall primary feelings of comfort and security,â he says.
Lennart Klipp, an emotional wellness coach and meditation teacher in Los Angeles, also believes that soaking in a hot spring is good for your mental health. âIn today’s climate of anxiety, many of my clients experience increased levels of stress and anxiety,â he told TZR in an email. âThey tend to overthink things, live ‘in their heads’ a lot and seek relief. In my practice as an emotional wellness coach, I help people overcome these complaints by letting them reconnect with their emotions and their hearts.
While he says there are many ways to do it, it’s important to do self-soothing and self-care rituals that help you relax, like visiting a hot spring. “[It is an] experience designed to create space and time for you to relax and eat, âhe says. âIt is essential to create a safe space for yourself in which you can let your guard down and accommodate whatever passes through your body and mind. Not to fight it, but to welcome it and accept it. He says that once you do, your painful and difficult thoughts and emotions start to organize and heal themselves naturally. âThis is exactly what the body-mind system does when we relax: restore and rejuvenate,â he says. He adds that the human body is made up of around 60% water, so being surrounded by hot water is naturally safe and relaxing. âIt makes us feel comfortable and at home,â he says.
Beforehand, read up on some famous hot springs – and more hole-in-the-wall (er, on the ground) – that you should definitely take a bath this fall and winter.
Berkeley Springs in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
Berkeley Sources is famous for being the very first spa in the United States and it is one that Altman highly recommends. It has many spa options, such as a Roman bath. (Fun fact: he says George Washington went there often.) It is located in the mountains of West Virginia, just 90 minutes from the Washington / Baltimore metro area. So you can enjoy a remote location, as well as close enough to a larger city.
Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa, Hot Springs, SD
On a car trip Across South Dakota a few years ago, I stumbled upon the cutest town: Hot Springs. And, yes, it’s full of all-natural hot springs, like the scenic Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa (which was still under construction when I saw it in person, but has rave reviews yet).
Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, AR
You can have a very immersive experience in nature when you visit Hot springs national park. In addition to the hot springs that have been around for hundreds of years, you can also go hiking or visit one of the nine public baths. (There is also a public baths museum for history buffs!)
Calistoga Spa, Calistoga, California
Altman says Calistoga, California is one of the most important spa towns in the United States. One of the hot springs is the Calistoga Spa, known as âThe Authentic Napa Valley All-Season Hot Spring Spa Experienceâ. You can also opt for a massage before or after your geothermal mineral water bath.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs, CO
You will find Strawberry Park Hot Springs in the heart of the Rockies in Colorado. The pools are separated by natural rock and the pool floors have sand for padding to further maximize your comfort. You can sit in the spring day or night – the latter is perfect for stargazing, of course – then stay in a rustic cabin or pitch a tent and camp out. Anecdote: at night, it is reserved for adults and clothes are not compulsory.
Hot Springs Resort & Spa, Hot Springs, North Carolina
You will find the 100 acres Hot Springs Resort & Spa – in the aptly named village of Hot Springs, North Carolina – in the scenic mountains of western North Carolina. The village has been a thermal attraction for over 200 years, since the Amerindians discovered restorative mineral waters there. You can stay in a suite or cabin, or camp across the road for a more rustic experience.
Bozeman Hot Springs, Bozeman, MT
For over 100 years, people have been soaking up the Bozeman Hot Springs. There is also a spa and fitness center on site, in case you want to work out before relaxing in the thermal water. There are 12 pools to choose from, and some are a bit cooler than others (if that’s your thing), with temperatures ranging from 59-106 degrees.
Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel, Desert Springs, California
Altman says Desert Springs, California is another major spa town in America. One place you can visit is the Spa Desert Hot Springs Hotel, known as a natural spa with hot mineral water. You can go there to retreat after spending the day at a nearby attraction, like the Joshua Tree National Preserve.
Homestead Crater, Midway, UT
For those who think the more unique the location the better, you won’t want to miss out on a dip in the geothermal waters below. The farm crater located at the Homestead Resort in Midway, UT. It is hidden in a 55-foot-high volcano-shaped limestone rock and took about 10,000 years (!) To form. Sunlight enters through the hole at the top and the mineral water stays warm inside, ranging from 90 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Besides swimming, you can also swim, paddle board, snorkel, and scuba dive. (Fun fact: According to the Homestead Resort, the crater is the alone hot water scuba diving destination in the continental United States)
Recreate a hot spring experience at home
While nothing can replace the real thing, if you really can’t get away from it all and visit a hot spring – like one of the ones below – you can try recreating one at home (smell of sulfur no. included). âIt’s possible to take a hot bath with Epsom salts added at home,â says Altman. âIf you don’t have a tub, you can soak your feet in a tub of water with bath salts.â He also notes that it is sometimes possible to buy hot spring mineral salts online. âBut it’s not the same experience as going to a natural hot spring or spa,â he says. Klipp also supports the idea of ââtrying to recreate a hot spring experience at home. “Pour in some of your favorite essential oils or elixirs in your bath, âhe says. âLight a bunch of candles and play your favorite music. Develop your own ritual and do whatever appeals to you. He emphasizes that the key to relaxation is joy. âFind joy,â he adds. âOh, and make sure you have time. It’s time to be.