All around the world, geothermal pools have gained a reputation for healing properties and not without reason.
Ancient Romans were loud in their praise of the curative powers of hot springs. However, they were not the first people to enjoy these natural spas – Paleolithic man used these springs on every continent to cure a number of ailments. And natural hot springs are still used today to bring comfort and healing to people.
Hot springs occur in areas with a fair amount of geologic activity. Rain and melt water from snow will trickle down through fissures in these areas until it comes into contact with magma. This superheated, semi-liquid rock heats up the water, often adding minerals to it in the process. When this water reaches the surface, it forms natural hot springs.
Soothing and Healing
Everyone knows how relaxing a hot bath can be, and natural hot springs just magnify the benefits. Besides providing warm water that sooths aching joints and eases tension out of knotted muscles, the waters of hot springs often contain minerals that provide treatments and cures for a number of ailments.
The use of hot springs for healing is often referred to as hydrotherapy. It is not only the heat of the water that provides healing, but also the mineral content of the spring. Depending upon what rocks are present where the spring is located, the water can contain:
- Sulfur, which has antibiotic qualities, is good for treating skin ailments. Breathing the vapors rising from the hot water (which has an eggy odor) can also provide benefits to the respiratory system.
- Some hot springs contain iron, which helps treat anemia and eczema. These springs often contain other minerals, such as lithium, copper and manganese, which are absorbed into the body through the skin.
- Carbonate springs likewise provide support to the skin, not only in curing skin disease, but also in helping to keep it looking younger. Carbon springs help to dilate the blood vessels, increasing circulation, especially to the hands and feet, which is important to diabetics.
Healing Hot Springs
Part of the reason why hot springs have been so valuable to mankind is because they raise the temperature of the body. In addition to the relaxation and general easing of pain, a higher body temperature also helps to remove disease-causing viruses and bacteria.
Soaking in the soothing water of a hot spring, especially if done on a regular basis, has been found to improve sleeping habits, lower blood pressure and give support to the immune system, too.
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