For centuries, people have used hot springs to bathe, relax, and weather the cold. From Japan to Turkey, these pools have been part of an ever-evolving tradition that contributes to today's spa culture. But, it turns out, hot potting, which is the practice of soaking the body in natural hot springs (like ingredients in a hotpot!), is not just good for our weary minds and travel-hungry souls.
The natural healing properties of hot springs are not a mere part of folklore. Balneotherapy, or the use of natural mineral waters and baths to treat illnesses, has long been considered an alternative to orthodox medical treatments. This form of therapy has contributed to the physical and psychological relief of several patients, particularly those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and anxiety.
Let’s soak in some knowledge of why hot springs are advantageous to your health!
Why Bathing in Hot Springs is Good for You
Hot springs are typically formed when geothermal water deep below the Earth emerges to the surface. This groundwater is heated by magma and rises from cracks and fissures near volcanic areas. Some hot springs, however, are formed when rainwater is warmed by other geothermal elements as it circulates through the faults.
Thousands of natural hot springs are found worldwide. Many of them are popular tourist destinations, visited by millions from all over to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Well, it’s not just all fun and pleasure. It offers a lot of benefits that nurture overall health and wellness!
Soaking in the calming warmth of spring waters is a self-care session you never knew you needed. Here are some of the potential health benefits that you may experience while in the company of hot springs and nature.
5 Benefits of Hot Springs
1. Reduces Stress and Promotes Relaxation
Hot springs can help us achieve a better mental health state. The hot waters may induce relaxation and reduce anxiety, lowering cortisol levels in our blood. Cortisol, which is often called the stress hormone, is linked to depression and chronic illnesses. Moreover, the temperature and the minerals ease the pressure in our bodies, leading to muscle relaxation.
Like when swimming in an ordinary pool, floating in a hot spring removes the strain and stiffness in the joints. In addition, since breathtaking landscapes usually surround hot springs, you can rejuvenate your mind while enjoying meaningful conversations and basking in the wonders of nature.
2. Relief for Skin Conditions
Although bathing in hot springs doesn't directly cure any illness, it can serve as a therapy for those suffering from certain skin conditions. Thermal water, the same water found in natural springs, is packed with minerals that nourish the skin. It's a good source of sulfur, a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
The water's silica content can also moisturize dry skin and soothe irritations. It helps remove dead skin, heal scars, and provide relief to those with skin conditions like eczema, athlete's foot, and dermatitis. A 2019 study shows that Persian mineral waters can reduce psoriasis symptoms.
3. Improves Blood Circulation
Bathing in hot springs leads to the rise of hydrostatic pressure, a pressure that improves blood circulation and oxygenation in our bodies. The same thing happens when we exercise! Consequently, immersing ourselves in thermal water helps strengthen our hearts and other organs and tissues.
Research suggests that intermittent hot water immersion creates a significant positive impact on our vascular system. Thus, it can serve as an alternative treatment for patients with cardiovascular problems but with low exercise tolerance.
4. Helps Relieve Pain
The salts in hot spring waters function as natural painkillers. They block pain receptors, resulting in temporary pain relief. In addition to reducing muscle spasms, it can fight fatigue and mitigate pains associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and joint problems.
Due to its ability to relieve pain, mineral baths are now paired with therapeutic services like massages and acupuncture. In some spas, it's done before massages to warm the tissues and relax, making the massage more satisfying and effective.
5. Promote Restful Sleep
Since hot spring baths boost stress relief and relaxation, expect a more restful sleep after taking a dip. Like when taking warm baths in a tub, enjoying warm thermal waters raises the body temperature. Once you get out of the water, the body rapidly cools down, inducing better sleep.
Bathing in hot water is a natural sleep remedy recommended by health experts. People who want to address their insomnia are usually advised to take a hot bath a couple of hours before bedtime to initiate deep sleep, even without prescription remedies. This will also help them clear their minds and sleep faster.
Experience the Benefits of Hot Springs For Yourself
Keep in mind that some hot springs contain harmful microorganisms that you should avoid, so it’s best to turn to local experts for advice on the best (and safest) hot springs to visit. Nevertheless, there are thousands of hot springs out there that are safe and easily accessible. Few have regular access to a natural hot spring, so if you’re one of them, don’t miss the chance to bathe and experience tons of therapeutic benefits.