Thursday, November 30, 2023

Top Hot Spring Spas


Native, Nature’s Nurturing … hot springs

Mineral waters and hot springs – the original spas – have been an important part of stress-relief and healing in many cultures for thousands of years. Towns with therapeutic hot springs grew into popular destinations for holiday retreats. Today this idea is intact but greatly expanded into modern health resorts offering total, integrated environments devoted to relaxation and re-energizing – and curing what ails you.

The spa trail may have been blazed by the Romans, who discovered the medicinal benefits of thermal waters, but many Native Americans developed their own traditions. According to Jayson Loam, author of “Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the U.S. and Southwestern Canada” they believed the Great Spirit resided in the earth’s center, and looked on these ‘Big Medicine Fountains’ as “a special gift from the creator.”

The central ingredient is a bubbly hot spring – the earth’s own champagne that’s hooked a new generation of spa-goers. Spa expert and professor of history and humanities at St. Philips College in San Antonio Texas, Jonathan Paul De Vierville, defines hot springs as being heated by the earth, not by technology, and the water of which contains unadulterated minerals with certain healing properties.

hot springs

Hot springs are ponds, portions of a lake, or pools in which water has been naturally heated underground. The body of water housing hot springs can vary in size. Geologists think a particular combination of rocks and minerals found underground work together to create hot springs. It is believed these rocks and minerals trap hot springs and allow them to become fermented, which heats the water up. The heated water becomes sterilized and cause bubbles to rise to the surface.

The temperature of the surface waters must be well over the normal ground temperature in order to be considered hot springs. While the ground temperature in many areas averages 57ºF, hot springs reach temperatures in the low to mid-100s.

In the United States, the use of natural springs, especially geothermal ones, have gone through three stages of development: first, use by Indians as a sacred place, second development by the early European settlers to emulate the spas of Europe, and finally, as a place of relaxation and fitness.

The Native American Indians considered hot springs as a sacred place of Wakan Tanka (“Great Mystery” or Great Sacredum” in the Lakota language) and thus, were great believers in the miraculous healing powers of the heat and mineral waters. Every major hot springs in the U.S. has some record of use by the Indians. They were also known as neutral ground, where warriors could travel to and rest unmolested by other tribes. Here they would recuperate from battle. In many cases, they jealously guarded the spring and kept its existence a secret from the arriving Europeans for as long as possible.  Battles were fought between Indians and settlers to preserve these rights. The early Spanish explorers such as Ponce de Leon and Hernando DeSoto were looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” which may have been an exaggerated story of the healing properties of one of the hot springs.

So, where to find these miracle geothermal waters?

There are over 115 major geothermal spas in the USA, and many smaller ones along with thousands of hot springs.

Saratoga Springs, New York, located north of New York City, had approximately 18 springs and hot wells discharging carbonated mineral water along a fault. The
Mohawk and Iroquois Indian tribes frequented the springs during hunting trips in the area.

Warm Springs, Georgia is another famous mineral springs in the U.S. The springs were used by Indians from as far away as New York, as they were on a major trail system. The trails later became military and post roads, with a tavern built in the early 1800s. A number of resorts were built in the area, including the very Victorian Meriwether Inn. It is known chiefly for the treatment of polio from the early 1920s to the 1960s. It was promoted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had polio and established the “Little White House” on the premises in 1932

hot springs arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas was one of the most popular commercial spas areas in the U.S., created to imitate the development of great spas of Europe. This natural geothermal resource consisted of about 47 springs producing a total of 4 million liters of  water per day. It is estimated that these hot springs have been used by humans for at least 10,000 years. The “Valley of the Vapors” was an honored and sacred place to the Indians. This was also neutral ground, where warriors of all tribes could rest and bath here in peace—a refuge from battle.

In Napa Valley, the Calistoga, California Hot Springs area was originally settled by the Pomos and Mayacmas Indians for at least 4000 years. These early people came from miles around to use the natural hot springs, fumaroles, and heated muds to soothe aches and pains.

They also built sweat houses and used the local cinnabar for red war paint. Calistoga is a geological mix of steaming geysers and hot marshlands that combines mineral water with volcanic ash from nearby St. Helena (not to be confused with Mt. St. Helens). It’s been one of the area’s main attractions since 1860.

When Mother Nature created thermal springs, she didn’t consider zip codes. Harbin Hot Springs, which sprawls across more than 2,000 acres in California’s somewhat remote Lake County, is a 2 1⁄2 hour ride from the airport in Sacramento or San Francisco. This is where the aquatic body work called Watsu originated, along with water dance and other esoteric treatments inspired by natural hot springs.

Hot springs come in a myriad of colors, from everyday clear water to sapphire blue to emerald green. Color depends on what wavelength of sunlight we see reflected off the pool’s surface.

The winter around the edge of hot springs comes in all colors, as well. In fact, water temperature can be estimated by the colors. Different microbes are present at different water temperatures. These microbes create the colors. “Cooler” temperature water is habitat for microbes creating darker colors. Microbes are colored by pigments like chlorophyll in green plants and carotene found in carrots. These microbes are known as thermophiles because they love heat, and you will love the heat and the benefits of these natural hot springs too.



Top Hot Spring Spa Benefits Abound


Coming from underground, generally spring water is warm, even hot.  When water crosses the underground layers of rocks, dissolve them and come to the surface as mineral water, it’s properties is different from region to region, even from spring to spring; the deeper the layer it comes from, the hotter the water.  But the temperature is not necessarily the characteristic of these spring waters – the healing effect comes mostly, from the mineral composition of this springs and the Geothermal energy of this underground water.

Although contemporary medicine has been slow to establish the scientific basis for the benefits of submersion in mineral-rich hot springs water, a long history of use verifies its soothing beneficial effects.  It is widely recognized that a tranquil hot springs soak provides relief from the pain of stressed muscles and tired joints.

The complex effects of hot springs minerals on the skins glands and blood vessels is the likely explanation for the numerous subtle benefits that are reported by those in tune with the hot springs way of life.

Though American hot springs resorts cannot promise any medically approved results, they are thriving. The medical community has yet to address this preventive remedy, but the hotel and spa industry has already jumped in, pouring millions into the restoration of 19th and 20th century resorts to their original grandeur while also creating modern service menus.

Thermal spring water facilitates healing in a number of important ways:

  • Bathing in hot springs gradually increases the temperature of the body, thus killing harmful germs and springs
  • Thermal bathing increases hydrostatic pressure on the body, thus increasing blood circulation and cell oxygenation. The increase in blood flow also helps dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body.
  • Hot springs bathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, bringing improved nourishment to vital organs and tissues.
  • Bathing in thermal water increases body metabolism, including stimulating the secretions of the intestinal tract and the liver, aiding digestion.
  • Repeated hot springs bathing (especially over three- to four-week period) can help normalize the functions of the endocrine glands as well as the functioning of the body’s autonomic nervous system.
  • Trace amounts of minerals such as carbon dioxide, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and lithium are absorbed by the body and provide healing effects to various body organs and system. These healing effects can include stimulation of the immune system, leading to enhanced immunity; physical and mental relaxation; the production of endorphins; and normalized gland function.
  • Mineral springs contain high amounts of negative ions, which can help promote feelings of physical and psychological well-being.
  • The direct application of mineralized thermal waters (especially those containing sulfur) can have a therapeutic effect on diseases of the skin, including psoriasis, dermatitis, and fungal infections. Some mineral waters are also used to help the healing of wounds and other skin injuries.


Lower Blood Pressure
A recent study at the Mayo Clinic found that soaking in a hot bath gives many of the health benefits of exercise with less strain on the heart! Soaking in a hot bath increases the heart rate while it lowers blood pressure rather than raising it as does other forms of exercise. Immersion in hot water first speeds up the heart to send blood to the surface and disperse extra body heat into the air. But after a few minutes, the warm blood causes the blood vessels to dilate, which lessens resistance to blood flow and lowers the blood pressure.

Sleep Better
Some medical experts recommend soaking in water of approximately 103 degrees Fahrenheit about two hours before bedtime (no longer than 15 minutes at a time) to help reduce insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) believes that many cases of insomnia can be traced to hectic, stressful lifestyles. Studies suggest this can ease the transition into a deeper, more restful sleep. The temperature change may be a signal to the body that it’s time to sleep, or the sensation of weightlessness may just be relaxing the muscles.

Improve Joint Mobility
The combination of warmth and buoyancy is extremely beneficial to arthritis sufferers. The buoyancy of the water relaxes the muscles, and supports and reduces stress on the joints which encourages freer movement. Relaxing the muscles helps to increase their range of motion. Many researchers now think rheumatoid arthritis patients can exercise safely if they follow tailor-made water exercises. Water therapeutically massages the joints with every movement. Water training can help increase aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and overall activity levels for RA patients. for more information visit

Eliminate Toxins
A hot bath is used for relaxation, lowering the body’s energy. It stimulates sweating and increases the elimination of toxins. One may use fresh herbs or the essential oils to enhance the process. Adding Epsom salt to the bath helps arthritis and rheumatism; and sea salt promotes healing, reduces inflammation and prevents infection.

The Hot Springs Mineral Content


The legal classification of a mineral spring varies in different parts of the world. Generally speaking:  A mineral spring contains greater than 1000 mg/l ( PPM ) of naturally dissolved springs mineral


Geothermal studies have established that different native mineral springs have unique chemical compositions.

  • Lithium: waters from the Lithia springs relieve depression and aid digestion
  • Iron: waters rich in iron benefit the blood and immune system
  • Soda: steam waters rich in soda promote tranquility and relieve digestive problems
  • Arsenic: While arsenic in larger doses is toxic in the human body, minute amounts may assist the body with plasma and tissue growth. Foot bathing in mineral waters with a high content of arsenic is used to address fungal conditions of the feet. arsenic is believed to improve skin conditions, arthritis and gastric ulcers.
  • Boron:  Boron builds muscle mass, increases brain activity and strengthens bones.
  • Magnesium:  Magnesium converts blood sugar to energy and promotes healthy skin.
  • Potassium:  Potassium assists in the normalization of heart rhythms, assists in reducing high blood pressure, helps to eliminate body toxins and promotes healthy skin.
  • Sodium:  Sodium and natural salts assist with the alleviation of arthritic symptoms, and may stimulate the body’s lymphatic system when used in baths.
  • Alkaline water that is high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium may assist the body in cleansing through the skin.

Sulfur and Sulfates:
Hot Springs rich in Sulfur, in Europe and Asia, are used to address a wide variety of conditions, including skin infections, respiratory problems, and skin inflammations.Hot springs rich in sulfates ( i.e. sulfur compounds ) have a far reduced “sulfur” effect as compared to Sulfur-rich springs. Such waters are often prescribed internally for liver and gastrointestinal conditions, as well as for some respiratory conditions with inhalation therapy, in European spas.


Saline hot springs are rich in sodium chloride. Mineral springs naturally rich in chlorides, in amounts between .5 – 3%, are considered by some researchers to be beneficial for rheumatic conditions, arthritis, central nervous system conditions, posttraumatic and postoperative disorders, as well as orthopedic and gynecological disease.

In Spain, a bicarbonate water is classified as such if the water contains more than 250 PPM of free carbon gas. However, springs that contain bicarbonate gasses ( sodium bicarbonate, calcium bicarbonate, carbon dioxide, etc. ) may also be utilized for the observed benefits commonly associated with bicarbonate hot springs.


Bathing in bicarbonate water, the balneologists believe, assist in opening peripheral blood vessels and helps to improve circulation to the body’s extremities.

European balneotherapists also utilize bicarbonate waters for bathing to address hypertension and mild atherosclerosis. For these conditions, tepid to warm baths are utilized (30 – 37° C).

Some researchers believe that bicarbonate baths also assist cardiovascular disease and nervous system imbalances.

Mineral adsorption via hot springs soaking is extremely small, and the amount adsorbed into the body is concentration dependent and varies depending on the mineral and its chemical form. Even so, medical balneotherapists have noted that even minute amounts of therapeutic minerals adsorbed into the body via the skin have a significant therapeutic value.

The ion exchange capacity of hot springs mineral waters also influences mineral and water adsorption, and is defined by the ionic dissociation of the minerals in the water. A higher free ion content equates to a greater ion exchange capacity.  In short, the osmotic qualities, the mineral concentration, the PH level, and the mineral form effect the transdermal carrier effects of any mineral waters, as well as the fluid conditions of the individual soaking.

Hot Springs … Who should not sweat it


Contraindications to Hot Water Natural Mineral Springs Therapy:

  • Conditions involving high fevers
  • Extreme Hypertension
  • Malignant tumors and cancerous conditions ( internal )
  • Liver, kidney, or circulation disorders
  • Conditions presenting the risk of hemorrhaging
  • Anemic Conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Congestive heart failure, recent stroke, or recent heart attack
  • Bathing under the influence of drugs or alcohol

The existence of these or other metabolic conditions does not necessarily mean that there would be no benefit derived from utilizing mineral waters. It does mean, however, that there is a risk associated that may out way any benefit to utilizing hot waters.

In any case, soaking in mineral waters should not be done at excessively high temperatures without medical clearance when any contraindicated condition exists. A tepid to warm bath ( ~ 95° F – ~ 99° ) is as safe as taking a bath at home.  If you have concerns you should always contact your doctor.

hot springs

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ Arkansas Hot Spring Spas


Quapaw Bathhouse
Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, AR

Hot Springs National Park has a new lease on spa life with the opening of the renovated Quapaw Bathhouse. The hot springs water once again flows into the only local spa facility with communal bathing along historic Bathhouse Row. Guests can stay at nearby hotels such as the Embassy Suites or the Arlington Hotel and spend their spa day at Quapaw Bathhouse. Nearby is the Fordyce Bathhouse, opened in 1915, which is now the Parks Visitor Center. Curiosities such as an old-fashioned gymnasium are preserved in honor of America’s spa heritage.

The vintage 24,000-square-foot landmark, built in 1922, once again welcome guests in July 2008, thanks to a 55-year lease between the National Park Service and Quapaw investors.

Quapaw Baths LLC, which rehabilitated the 86-yearold Quapaw Bath House under a 55-year lease with the National Park Service offers a new way to soak in Hot Springs’ famed thermal waters — through dips in a communal bathing area.  It also will offer massages and facials, semi private bathing areas as well as a gift shop.

The thermal waters, which originate from Hot Springs Mountain just to the north of the bathhouse, will not be chemically treated and will be disinfected only through ozonization.

The communal area features three thermal pool modules at floor level and one upper-tier pool that runs the length of the room.

The maximum depth is four feet, with benches line the perimeter of each pool.

On the second floor, spa guests have a choice of Swedish, hot stone or deep-tissue massages, couples massages and facials, including the “Quapaw Signature Facial.” Upgrades including eye and lip treatments can be added to the facials.

quapaw bathhouse

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ California Hot Spring Spas


Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
Sonoma, CA


The highest sybaritic profile in the Wine Country. The vast complex covers every amenity you could want in a spa, including several pools and Jacuzzis fed by local thermal mineral springs.

Enjoy the signature Bathing Ritual which is a self-guided experience. This co-ed Bathing Ritual is beneficial on its own or in combination with any of our fabulous spa treatments and is included with spa access.  Bathing suits are required.

The Bathing Ritual Experience is a great way to relax and enjoy the day.  This is a recommended routine.

  • First, use the Exfoliating Shower – Use the supplied thermal mineral kur shower gel to exfoliate and cleanse your skin.  Then enjoy the various thermal temperatures.
  • Warm Bath (Tepiderium) – Ease into the 96-98 degree warm mineral bath.
  • Hot Bath (Caldarium) – Relax in the 102 degree hot mineral bath with jets.
  • Re-hydrating Drink – Enjoy a tall glass of water, which is vital for re-hydration.
  • Cool Shower – Cool your body with a brief shower.
  • Herbal Steam – Rest in the herbal steam room.
  • Sauna – Enjoy a few moments in the dry heat of the sauna.
  • Re-hydrating Drink – Enjoy a tall glass of water, which is vital for re-hydration.
  • Cool Shower – Cool your body with a brief shower.

Rest – Recline in the serenity of the relaxation lounge as your body renews and restores

fairmont sonoma mission inn & spa


Solage Calistoga Resort
Calistoga, CA

Here, the 89-room cottage-style Solage Calistoga has a co-ed geothermal pool and separate men’s and women’s hot therapy and cold plunge pools in a 20,000-square-foot facility.

Spa treatments at this eco-chic resort blend the old with the new, creating the ultimate spa cocktail of volcanic ash mud bath, mixed with hot spring water. Step up to the “mud bar” to start a three-part circuit consisting of “The Mud,” “The Waters,” and “The Rest,” all part of a 100-year-old Calistoga spa tradition. The Mudslide may be enjoyed in private, as a group, or as a romantic shared experience.

Relax in one of the luxurious soaking tubs featuring Calistoga’s famed natural geothermal spring waters. Geothermal water therapy can be enjoyed by couples, families, friends and others who yearn to relax in a rural setting revved up with urban-caliber luxuries. State-of-the-art “sound chairs” that float you into zero-gravity, “mud mojitos” and lavender “mud-tinis” are designed to soothe jetlagged guests. Contemporary versions of claw-foot bathtubs filled with geothermal water guarantee the ultimate elixir for spa goers.

solage calistoga resort


Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
Calistoga, CA

calistoga spa hot springsThough its surroundings are less luxurious than some, this is the best choice if you have several hours to lounge around. A house special is “The Works,” a two-hour marathon of mud bath, mineral whirlpool, steam bath, blanket wrap, and massage. If you’re booking any treatment, you can pay $5 and get all-day pool access as well. You can relax in four pools of varying size and temperature until you decide on a favorite.

The Four outdoor naturally heated mineral pools That are available:

  • 80° F 82.5′ x 24′ L-shaped swimming pool (64 laps to a mile)
  • 100° F 40′ x 20′ soaking pool surrounded by a high bench; limited use for children
  • 104° F 24′ diameter covered octagonal jet pool with fountain and Jacuzzi jets
  • 90° F 20′ x 13′ wading pool with fountains

Besides some of the finest bath facilities in Calistoga. They also offer volcanic ash mud baths, mineral and steam baths, blanket wraps and massage.


Indian Springs
Calistoga, CA

Indian Springs preserves its past by harnessing an active geyser, diverting the thermal water to a holding area and then pumping it into an Olympic-size pool where spa goers have steeped since 1862. Serene Asian gardens surround the pool, which has lounges and seating for relaxation between plunges. Cottages and motel-style rooms come with fine linens, color-coordinated furnishings and fine bath amenities. A charming bathhouse with images of ladies from the 1930s decorate the spa, where bathtubs are filled with steaming mineral water, often with volcanic ash mixed in.

Volcanic Ash “The Mud”

Indian Springs’ property is blessed with a natural supply of volcanic ash. This ash, along with the natural mineral water, is the exclusive ingredients in the mud baths. It was deposited thousands of years ago when nearby Mt. Konocti and Mt. Lincoln, the little hill on the site, both erupted. These two events created a rich 10-to-15-foot strata of volcanic ash on the land. They mine the ash with a backhoe and then take the time to carefully hand-sift it before it is used in the mud baths. Indian Springs is unique for being the one spa that uses only pure volcanic ash.

The Water

The special quality of the water is what brings so many guests back to Indian Springs. The geologic sequence that created the supply of water took place millions of years ago. Calistoga sits above a fractured plate from which magma oozes upward, coming in contact with subterranean waters at a depth of 4,000 feet. These waters become superheated and are then forced up through ancient seabeds until they reach the earth’s surface as four geysers, escaping at 230 degrees.

This rich, highly mineralized water is fed directly into the Olympic-size mineral pool and the spa, steam rooms and heating system. They cool some of it to supply the showers and laundry. Very few sites in the country have access to a natural source of thermal water comparable to Indian Springs’.  Fortunate, guests can soak up the benefits of this wonderful water year round.

indian springs

Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa
Corona, CA

The Native Americans were the first to enjoy these sacred waters, followed by the Spaniards, and by the 1890s the place had mushroomed into a health haven. Today, guests book into local hotels (accommodations are not available on-site) and then head to Glen Ivy’s spa.  If you go on your birthday, you can have free admission.

Selections of soak-supplementing options are available: the legendary Club Mud, where you can cover yourself in red clay, a grotto for applying a hydrating body masque, massages and facials.  Afterward, enjoy a light lunch at the café which serves tasty, healthy dishes made with local ingredients.

Mineral Baths

It is difficult to say for certain when people first enjoyed the natural springs here at Glen Ivy. They know the Native Americans enjoyed the blend of cool and warm waters that flowed naturally from Coldwater Canyon in the Temescal Valley. As time went on, the popularity of the springs grew while people sought after the relaxing, health-promoting powers of the mineral and sulfurous waters. Today, visitors can enjoy a thorough soak in these soothing waters as minerals are absorbed through the skin and the warmth of the water helps heal what ails you.

Here is an analysis of the mineral water:

Element     Milligrams/Liter
Sodium Chloride 14.8 mg/L
Calcium Carbonate 25.6 mg/L
Sodium Sulfate 123 mg/L
Sodium Carbonate 41.3 mg/L
Calcium 10.3 mg/L
Sodium 70.0 mg/L
Fluoride 3.13 mg/L
Total Dissolved Solids 216 mg/L
pH Level 9.44


Glen Ivy’s mineral baths hover at a 104° in temperature, and yes, those minerals are going into your body.  If you have health concerns, ask a doctor before going in.  If you’re pregnant, they do not recommend staying more than 10 minutes in the baths.  (But you should check with your doctor anyway.)

Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa
Desert Hot Springs, CA

What could be hotter than hot springs in the middle of the desert? In the ’30s, even Al Capone could be found steeping in the waters at Two Bunch Palms.  Few know that when Al Capone wasn’t breaking laws, he was taking the waters. In the 1930s, Chicago’s most famous gangster visited Two Bunch Palms, an oasis of peace and percolating hot springs in Desert Hot Springs.

The Rich Mystique Of The Mineral Springs, Vital To Two Bunch Palms

The waters of The Grotto at Two Bunch Palms nurture more than skin and body. They touch the heart and soul. What has been readily apparent to guests throughout the years is that they feel and look better for having immersed in the mineral-rich artesian waters.  The mineral springs feeding The Grotto is rich in lithium, which is a mood stabilizer. The lithium dissolves into a salt which is absorbed into your system through the skin. Time spent floating in The Grotto positively impacts your mood.  The mineral waters cascade into a temperature-controlled grotto with two carved pool areas – one at 104 degrees and the larger at 99 degrees. It is one of the few mineral springs with no sulfurous odor, simply a woodsy scent. A canopy of trees filters the desert sun, but opens to the shimmer of moonlight and the sparkle of stars. The Grotto experienced at midnight is a heavenly delight, a thoroughly romantic indulgence, whether with someone or by yourself.

Today, celebrities retreat to this exclusive 256-acre spa to steep in the steamy grotto-style pool and soak in the soothing, therapeutic waters. The quiet nights are spent in the luxury of one- and two-bedroom casitas. Guided meditation, Reiki and other serious treatments are the mainstay at this vintage spa, which has everything you need to de-stress and detox. Except, that is, a high-tech gym. That’s part of the mystique.

Two Bunch Palms has preserved its notorious hot spring pool, and a security officer guards the entry gate as if this were Fort Knox. No wonder celebrities find peace and quiet here, and you can easily float by a Hollywood star quite by accident in the pool.

Harbin Hot Springs
Middleton, CA

One of the oldest and most beautiful hot springs in California, Harbin Hot Springs is now operated as a non-profit retreat and workshop center.

This is where Zen shiatsu met water, courtesy of therapist Harold Dull who dubbed it Watsu. Guests stay in simple rustic comfortable cottages or at the campgrounds with access to treatments not found elsewhere—from waterdance to cranial sacral balancing and Energy Work. The heart of Harbin, however, is the water—warm and mineral-rich, it fills natural spring pools throughout the 2,000-acre property.

The beauty of Harbin’s water supply is that it is drawn from local springs, with more than 50,000 gallons of mineral water flowing daily to our guests throughout our center. Their own Water Masters maintain the system of pipes, sand filters and holding tanks to assure an uninterrupted flow of water year round. In conjunction with independent laboratories, they also monitor the turbidity and purity of our water on an ongoing basis.

The spring water filling Harbin’s soaking and swimming pools arrives in its natural form, and is continually refreshed with a state-of-the-art ozone and peroxide-ultraviolet filtration treatment system. Harbin’s drinking water system also includes treatment and filtration to assure safe, delicious water from every tap on property.

Soaking water is constantly being pumped from all pools and passed through a state-of-the-art treatment system using absolutely no chlorine. This system combines filters, peroxide and ozone (peroxone) injection, and ultraviolet sterilizers to remove all foreign matter and bacteria before recirculating the water back to the pools.

More than 250 gallons per minute are passed through this system from the Warm Pool alone, assuring that its water is completely cleaned and replaced every hour. The Cold Plunge water is also replaced every hour.

Peroxide is water with an extra oxygen atom (H202), and ozone is oxygen gas with an extra oxygen atom (03). When organics are encountered, the extra oxygen atoms detach themselves radically oxidizing them and leaving behind nothing but water and oxygen. No chemical additives such as chlorine or bromine are necessary.

Peroxide levels in the pool water are closely monitored. If the Warm Pool water appears cloudy at times, take a closer look. You will see thousands of tiny oxygen bubbles at work, keeping the water clean.

Their  peroxone-ultraviolet system is on the cutting edge of modern pool technology, and exceeds health department pool-water standards.

harbin hot springs


Glenwood Hot Springs
Glenwood Springs, CO

In 2008, look for the opening of a new spa at Glenwood Hot Springs, an alpine retreat in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Home to the world’s largest outdoor geothermal pool—more than three blocks long—Glenwood Hot Springs captures the hot springs as they bubble up at 5,760 feet. The Yampah Indians gathered here, calling the springs “big medicine”—and the tradition is alive and well today. Guests can splash year-round in the mineral-rich waters, which are cooled down from 122 degrees to a more skin-friendly 104 degrees. A new 17,000-square-foot facility is planned for 2008, featuring affordably priced body and skin care treatments. The original lodge was built in 1890, but guests now stay in a more modern building—though the setting remains rustic.

The new Spa of the Rockies at the Glenwood Hot Springs, opening in September 2008, will feature massage therapy, body treatments, facials, hydrotherapy, manicure and pedicures.  The facility is in the historic 1888 bathhouse which contains 8 massage therapy rooms,(including 2 couples suites and 2 rooms for facials and/or massage), 5 soaking tubs, 1 hydrotherapy room with a Vichy Shower Treatment,  2 manicure stations, and  2 pedicure thrones.

The spa will focus on wellness and natural health practices, which has a deep-rooted history at this facility.

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ Colorado Hot Spring Spas

Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings
Ouray, CO

The Wiesbaden is a small intimate natural hot springs spa and lodge, known for its peaceful atmosphere, “casual elegance” and European flair. It is located in the small mountain town of Ouray, Colorado and is surrounded by the majestic San Juan Mountains.


The Wiesbaden’s Hot Springs

The soaking facilities at the Wiesbaden are fed by its continually flowing natural hot springs ranging in temperature from 102 degrees to 108 degrees. There is no recirculated water at the Wiesbaden. The water is pure as it emanates from deep under the earth’s surface and remains untreated with chemicals and additives as it continually flows through the pools. Because these waters are pure and unaltered the medicinal and healing qualities of the Wiesbaden’s particular springs are widely recognized and considered “unequaled” for their therapeutic distinction.


The Vaporcave

… located in and under the mountain, below the Wiesbaden’s main lodge area. The natural hot springs Vaporcave’s first chamber has a spring of 78 degrees cascading over natural formations. In the main Vaporcave the spring emanates from far below the mountain and is captured in an eighteen inch deep soaking pool ranging in temperature from 107 to 109 degrees. The Vaporcave is open to guests and the public from 8:00 am to 9:45 pm daily. Winter closing hours may vary.


The Outdoor Swimming Pool

… is fed by the continuously flowing waters of the Wiesbaden’s natural mineral hot springs. The pool is surrounded be the majestic San Juan Mountains of Ouray. The temperature of the pool ranges from 99 to 102 degrees.

The outdoor pool is open to the public from 8:00 am until 9:45 pm daily. However, guests staying in the lodge are welcome to use the Outdoor Swimming pool in the early morning and after 9:45 pm, if the utmost consideration of quiet is observed before 9:00 am and after 9:45 pm.

During open hours, guests of the lodge receive unlimited use of the continually flowing natural mineral hot springs Vaporcave and Outdoor Swimming Pool.

Outside Guests may use the Wiesbaden continually flowing natural hot mineral springs Vaporcave and Outdoor Swimming Pool for up to 3 hours consecutive use for $15.00 per guest.


The Lorelei

… is a secluded private soaking pool, fed by a waterfall of the Wiesbaden’s natural hot springs sources.

wiesbaden hot springs spa & lodgings

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ Indiana Hot Spring Spas


West Baden Springs Hotel
French Lick, IN

When this spa hotel, a symbol of Indiana’s Gilded Age, opened in 1902, its magnificent dome was called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” A remarkable renovation completed in 2007 honors this legendary past with panache and it’s now a National Historic Landmark with a serious spa dedicated to health and wellness. A new 27,000-square-foot spa facility features full-body capsules with the famous mineral water that put this Grande Dame in the spotlight, back when they called this part of the hotel the “natatorium.” Check out the exhibits of exercise equipment that was in vogue over a century ago.

The Gilded Age meets the Modern Age in French Lick, Indiana, where billionaire William Cook invested $34 million to renovate the West Baden Springs Hotel. This new 27,000-square-foot spa has 24 treatment rooms and full-body “capsules” filled with the site’s world-famous mineral water. Here and across America, hot springs are nature’s exclusive vacation prescription and a recipe for revitalization, too.

west baden springs hotel



French Lick Springs Resort
French Lick, IN

The Spa at French Lick pays homage to the great tradition of health and wellness at French Lick.  The serene environment will embody the grandeur and elegance. Guests will find a diverse menu of treatments including Vichy showers, facials and wraps and indulge your senses with opulent signature potions, perfumes, hand crafted soaps, jewelry, Pluto salts, candles and specialized spa products. For over 150 years, the Pluto Mineral Spring’s healing waters have drawn visitors to French Lick, and the spa still offers guests the ever-popular Pluto mineral baths.

french lick springs resort

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ New Mexico Hot Spring Spas


Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa
Ojo Caliente, NM


Deemed sacred by indigenous Native Americans of Northern New Mexico, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs has been a gathering place and a source of healing for hundreds, even thousands of years. Come retreat to our secluded refuge. Relax with a massage and our signature Milagro Wrap. Rejuvenate in their legendary waters.

In addition to 10 mineral pools, the 1,100-acre property has a historic hotel, a restaurant, and a full-fledged spa. (Massages begin at $80 for 50 minutes and must be booked in advance.)

Ojo Caliente is the only hot springs in the world with a remarkable combination of four different types of mineral water: lithium, iron, soda and arsenic. Their ten pools are filled with different types and combinations of waters with temperatures ranging from 80-109 degrees.


The Lithia Spring
Located at the heart of the springs, the historic pump has been dispensing this unique water since the nineteenth century. Lithium is believed to relieve depression and aid digestion.


The Iron Spring
A Native American legend tells that the giant rock in the iron pool guards the place where the ancient people of the mesa once received food and water during times of famine. The warm, iron-rich water bubbles up from the natural pebble floor, providing hot spots to discover in this mystical outdoor cliffside pool. Iron is considered to be beneficial to the blood and immune system.


The Soda Spring
The rock walls in the enclosed Soda “steam” pool create a soft echo providing a sense of calm and relaxation. Water from the Soda Spring is said to have been used to relieve digestive problems.


The Arsenic Spring
The arsenic water is believed to be beneficial for relief from arthritis, stomach ulcers and to heal a variety of skin conditions. Water from the iron and arsenic springs is blended in various pools throughout the property.


For the ideal spa experience, a session in the mineral waters can be combined with another spa service. Yoga and mountain biking are also available for guests of the resort. In the spa, the widely celebrated Sundari skin treatments are available. The Ojo is also well known for its Signature Milagro Relaxation Wrap. This dry blanket wrap is an Ojo original. The spa encourages guests to soak in their geothermal waters first to increase their core body temperature. Then clients are wrapped, first in a light cotton blanket, then a heavier wool blanket, which accelerates the release of toxins from the body. All the while, Native American flute music is played softly in the background.

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ Nevada Hot Spring Spas


The Healing Center and Spa Steamboat Hot Springs
Reno, NV

Steamboat Villa Hot Springs is unique among spas, offering customers a chance to experience the positive effects derived from true natural healing waters of volcanic origin. The waters contain numerous sulfate minerals as well as extremely rare minerals found nowhere else in the United States.

The Steamboat Springs are classed as “thermal waters” of volcanic origin maintaining high heat as well as high mineral content. The temperature of the water as it reaches the surface is between 200 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit. The artesian well produces super-heated steam that has been measured at 300 degrees, along with the water. The mineral water flows into a system of holding tanks and a cooling tank. Therefore, they have a supply of both hot and cool mineral water.

Water is piped from the holding tanks into the Spa building where all of the water supplied to the soaking tubs is mineral water.  Our steam room is also supplied through the hot mineral water, just as it comes out of the ground.

The mineral water contains numerous sulphate minerals derived from the weathering of sulphides deposited from the hot water. Some of these minerals are extremely rare. One type found here has been hitherto known only in Chile in South America; another is a borax mineral not known before in the United States.  Some of the minerals include silica, antinomious anhydride, phosphoric anhydride, magnesium, soda, Lithia and potassium. At Steamboat they combine hydrotherapy with color, light, and massage therapy creating a complete system that promotes health and healing. They  are committed to searching out and incorporating the latest effective techniques and technologies to better benefit our guests in the process of rejuvenation.

The Healing Center & Spa at Steamboat Hot Springs is a respected and firmly established wellness destination with a focus on helping to raise people’s understanding of the integrated human being through the therapeutic art of energetic healing.

the healing center and spa steamboat hot springs


Top Hot Springs Spas ~ New York Hot Spring Spas


Gidion Putnum Hotel Resort & Spa
Saratoga Springs,  NY

The government gets into hot water, literally, at the Roosevelt Bathhouse in Saratoga Springs, in upstate New York. Guests staying at the Georgian-style Gidion Putnum Hotel Resort & Spa, built in 1935, will find themselves amidst 2,200 acres in Saratoga Spa State Park.

This American classic has hot spring-inspired baths and treatments comparable to those you’ll find at the great spas of Europe. A major difference is that while a “cure” at a traditional European spa could take three weeks; stays at Saratoga tend to be much shorter. But guests still get revitalized, not just by the waters but by the turn-back-time ambience, replete with a horse and carriage parked at the hotel’s entrance.

The mineral water is combined with hot tap water to bring the water temperature to 97º Fahrenheit. This keeps the carbonation at its peak. Using the mineral springs can have physical benefits and psychological benefits, reducing stress and strengthening the body’s overall functioning.

The Spa offers a full menu of services, including massages, facials, scrubs, body wraps, waxing, manicures, pedicures and hair styling.  Any choice will leave you feeling revitalized and refreshed.

gidion putnum hotel resort & spa

Top Hot Springs Spas ~ Virginia Hot Spring Spas


The Homestead
Hot Springs, VA

At this classic American spa, the menu focuses on mud wraps and their signature mineral baths, enhanced with fragrant, floral footnotes. The Homestead’s Southern charm and hospitality date back to the days of Thomas Jefferson, the spa’s most famous guest. During the three weeks he spent here in 1818, he bathed in the springs waters thrice daily. Today’s guests can don a vintage swimming suit for a plunge in the rejuvenating waters.

The East Coast isn’t without its hot springs. Thomas Jefferson is said to have been a regular at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. Possibly taking a cue from the traditional three-week European spa cure, in 1818 he spent time “taking the waters” in what was then known as the Gentleman’s Pool House. He would immerse himself in the hot springs thrice daily, deeming them to be “of first merit.” In his honor they were renamed the Jefferson Pools, and they continued to soothe the aches and pains of those who took his endorsement to heart. Today spa-goers are invited to steep here at $15 a plunge; they can even borrow a vintage swimming suit. (Think: pantaloons!) The Homestead’s 20-25 minute “Signature Mineral Bath” is a restorative treatment for those who find natural healing in the buoyant 104 degrees.

the homestead


Top Hot Springs Spas ~ West Virginia Hot Spring Spas


The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, WV

Listed on the National Historic Register, The Greenbrier resort has been welcoming guests, presidents, dignitaries and other celebrities for over 229 years. This Allegheny Mountains landmark sits majestically among the 6,500 acres in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The timeless resort estate features sculpted landscapes and beautiful, classic architecture. The main hotel is a stunning example of Greek revival architecture with its columns and grand porte corchere.

The interior is just as grand with gilded chandeliers, marble floors and expansive public areas. Famed interior designer Dorothy Draper’s signature style is evident throughout the resort’s main hotel building, from the black and white marble floors to the colorful floral window treatments. Guests will feel as though they stepped back in time as they wander through the elegant ballrooms, library and lobby.

The Greenbrier is an ideal destination for romantic getaways, offering luxurious accommodations, and special activities such as carriage and sleigh rides and picnic lunches. The resort is also a good choice for family vacations. Families may choose to request one of the many cottages, found throughout the grounds instead of staying in the main hotel. There are many activities for children, including pony rides, nightly movies, and the Adventure Zone, which offers a full day of programming for children age 3 to 12. There are also special programs for teenagers like hiking and kayaking trips.

Thanks to an extensive $50 million renovation project, this exquisite blast-from-the-past resort has it all, from a world-class spa to fine dining. But natural mineral and sulphur waters are the pride of this 40,000-square-foot facility, and they’re utilized in two signature treatments. The Waterworks include a dip in one of three mineral baths and a cascading vertical body spray, while the Sulphur Soak is known for easing tired muscles and soothing aches and pains. The Greenbrier is one a handful of American spas that honors European spa traditions, and has done so for 229 years.

the greenbrier

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Healing Waters


There are many wonderful Hot Spring spas throughout the USA, and many are being revitalized and reopened.  If you have the chance, you definitely should explore these many wonderful calming, mineralizing hot spring spas.  If you do not have one near you, consider having a hydrotherapy or balneotherapy treatment at a spa near you.  Some spas will utilize mineral bath formula combined with heated submersion baths.  These special blends of minerals, enzymes, and other natural enriching agents to activate the body’s self healing mechanisms. The combination of heat, water and dissolved mineral substances helps increase circulation and relaxation of muscles and tissues. It stimulates the body’s natural cycle of recuperation and healing.  Locate a spa near you today.

healing waters



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