Hot and mineral springs spas have long been revered for their healing benefits. “The evolution of our DNA and of all species is inseparable from the hot springs journey of the water itself,” says Amy McDonald, CEO and owner of Under a Tree Consulting and chair of the Global Hot Springs Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute. “With at least two-thirds of our body composed of water and at least 6 percent of our body composed of minerals derived from the water, we are, in fact, part hot springs. Perhaps this explains why soaking in hot springs often feels like ‘going home.’”
The hot spring at Glen Ivy Hot Springs.
Medical research, mainly in Europe where hot springs are often looked to as “cures” for various ailments, has proven that water can provide a healing effect. “What water is doing is helping to facilitate the body’s own healing systems,” says Jonathan Paul DeVierville, Ph.D., founder and director of the Alamo Plaza Spa (San Antonio, TX) and a member of the Hot Springs Initiative for the Global Wellness Institute. From boosting circulation, stimulating the body’s lymph system, and more, he notes, there are multiple ways water can affect a healing response. Some spas are even going beyond with innovative programming like Toskana Therme (Bad Sulza, Germany), which features water from the largest saltwater lake in Europe. There, spa-goers can experience the Liquid Sound Temple, an extraordinary domed bath where they bathe in color and sound. It’s just one example of how hot spring spas are adapting with original offerings. In North America, while there are several hot springs with a history of healing, like Glenwood Hot Springs Resort (CO) and Glen Ivy Hot Springs (Corona, CA) to name a few, McDonald notes that there is still the challenge in getting the general population to understand the significance of hot springs and their health benefits.
The hot springs at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.
As a result, this year, the Global Hot Springs Initiative is focused on collecting existing research and supporting new studies on the health benefits these geothermal mineral waters produce as well as to enhance www.wellnessevidence.com as a resource. “Concurrently, we will begin creating a comprehensive and sustainable best practices profile for water sanitizing and recirculation,” says McDonald. “Additionally, we hope to develop a map of mineral hot springs destinations across the globe. It is important to unite this global community and work toward common best practices along with ensuring that this precious natural resource is protected, honored, and continues to be used for the benefit of human health.”