Take the Plunge into Healing Waters
~ By Kirsten Antony R.N., C.R. ~
Since recorded history, humans have believed in the healing abilities of water. The Greeks bathed in water to become closer to spirit. Ancient healers perceived water as a holistic means to health. Soaking in mineral waters was seen as a way to a healthy body, mind and spirit. Water has been used in rituals to cleanse and purify the body. In current times, we have medical terms for water therapy. It can be called balneotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Balneotherapy by definition is bathing in water to treat disease. Balneotherapy may be advised for disease ranging from arthritis to certain skin disorders. Hydrotherapy is similar in that water is used to treat the body for pain relief. Certain exercises in water may be prescribed. Hydrotherapy may be used for vasoconstriction and vasodilation which constricts or dilates blood vessels.
Here in Colorado, we have a variety of hot mineral springs available to use. Some are private and cost an admission price. Some are secluded pools of hot mineral water that can be hiked to and free of cost. Colorado is home to the largest hot springs swimming pool in the world. Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool boasts a swimming pool, therapy pool and geothermal steam baths. As you drive into Glenwood Springs, you may notice a distinctive odor. Glenwood’s mineral waters, or “Yampah” meaning “Big Medicine” as the Ute Indians would call it, contains sulfur, or hydrogen sulfate. Sulfur is a beneficial mineral known as a natural antibiotic.
Not all hot mineral springs may contain amounts of sulfur. Many contain a variety of properties, such as lithium which can help stabilize moods and sodium chloride that can help alieve arthritic pain. Other minerals such as calcium and sodium bicarbonate can increase circulation and oxygen flow while you soak. Hot Springs can have a variety of minerals such as potassium, boron, selenium and iron. Other benefits of soaking may include reduced stress and increased sense of well-being.
Whether you are looking for specific healing from the waters or just general relaxation, be aware that soaking for prolonged periods of time is not advised. As well as for pregnant women, the elderly, and those with cardiovascular diseases or other illnesses, it is advised to seek medical advice before taking the plunge. Also, be aware that there are amoebas that thrive in high temperature water. If you are in a hot springs that is not a regulated swimming area, please be aware to not submerge your head underwater.
Besides Glenwood Springs, some other popular Hot Springs areas include:
- Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop, Colorado
- Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- The Springs Resort and Spa, Pagosa Springs, CO
- Wiesbaden Hot Springs, Ouray, CO
- Sand Dunes Swimming Pool, Hooper, CO
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Certified Reflexologist. Kirsten is a holistic health care practitioner and specializes in foot and nail care. She provides care in Denver are facilities and also makes house calls. For more information visit www.kirstenantony.com or call 303-668-8992.