Mineral baths and hot springs are natural pools of water that are full of minerals. No one knows why these mineral pockets formed, or why the temperature of these baths is higher than most other water sources. Mineral baths have been used for thousands of years to relieve health problems and as a way to relax. Soaking in a mineral bath actually has several benefits.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, soaking in a hot spring can help with numerous musculoskeletal problems, such as joint paint, muscle fatigue, tissue damage, arthritis and ligament damage. The Chinese and Japanese have used hot springs to deal with these issues for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The main benefit of mineral baths for this issue comes from the warm temperature of the water, which soothes aching muscles, and from the minerals in the water, which soak into the skin. The minerals act as a stimulant for the natural bodily processes.
High Blood Pressure
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, mineral baths can also ease high blood pressure. Part of this benefit comes from the enhanced circulation that is provided by the springs. Increased circulation comes from the temperature of the springs and from the agitation of the water that is often present in mineral baths.
Eczema is a skin condition that is identified by chronically dry and flaky skin. Regular baths in mineral water and hot springs is reportedly able to reduce eczema symptoms. The largest mineral bath in the world, the Dead Sea, is visited by thousands each year to reduce eczema symptoms as well as to treat many other skin conditions and internal problems.
Mineral baths and hot springs typically have a high sulfur content. This can help individuals with nasal congestion. Dr. Weil believes that soaking in mineral baths may relieve many nasal congestion symptoms such as those appearing in allergy suffers or anyone with chronic chest congestion.
Mineral baths typically have a high sodium bicarbonate and calcium percentage in the water. The presence of these minerals in the water is reported to have a good effect on the circulation in the body. The temperature of the water can also influence the circulation in the body. Reduced gravity in the water also helps encourage blood flow.
According to Dr. Weil, soaking in saltwater can have an influential effect on the digestion of food. The salt content in the water encourages the natural function of the body to digest food. It is unknown why this process occurs, but many sources, such as Mineral Essential Skin Care, identify the digestion-boosting properties of mineral baths.
Regular soaks in mineral baths and hot springs can also improve fibromyalgia symptoms. A study reported in Rheumatology International in July 2007 ("Cost-Effectiveness of Spa Treatment for Fibromyalgia: General Health Improvement is Not for Free" by T. R. Zijlstra et al) outlined the increased comfort of fibromyalgia patients who took regular soaks in hot sulfur baths.