Home > Treatment Modalities > Bathing and Washing Methods > Enjoying natural springs to promote health
Enjoying natural springs to promote health
Hot spring water

Natural spring water can be of various temperatures, pressure and mineral content, depending upon the nature of the geology through which it passes. We drink cold spring water and bathe in hot springs.

When bathing in hot springs, the heat and pressure effects promote blood circulation, arrest swelling and pain. In addition, the mineral content of the water can exert particular health benefits. Hot springs are often classified by ions such as HCO3-, SO42-, Cl-, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+; gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, radon and certain tract elements such as Ferrum, Bromine and Iodine.

Types of hot springs

Pure springs Water temperature is above 25óJ; the content of carbon dioxide ions and solid compounds are below 1g/L.
Carbonic springs The water contains over 1g/L carbon dioxide ions, and the solid compounds are less than 1g/L. The spring water is clear and sweet, and is suitable for drinking.
Alkaline springs The water contains over 1g/L of sodium carbonate, and thus also called soda springs.
Salty springs The water contains more than 1g/L of sodium chloride; people will feel warmer after bathing.
Sulfate springs Also called gypsum springs, in which the water contains over 1g/L of sulfate; it has a bitter taste.
Ferric springs The water contains a high amount of ferric carbonate, which usually oxidized and red in color.
Alum springs The water contains a high amount of aluminum sulphide.
Sulfur springs The water contains a high amount of hydrogen sulphide. It should be only used for bathing, which is particularly good for exfoliation and disinfection.
Acid springs The water contains a high amount of mineral acids; this water cannot be drunk..
Radiate energy springs The hot water contains certain amount of radium or radon.

It is said that hydrogen sulphide promotes functioning of the body; sodium carbonate is beneficial for digestive disorders; chloride ions stimulate blood production and the development of ovarian cysts; calcium and potassium ions enhance cardiovascular functions, and also regulate neural endocrine activates; magnesium ions helps to calm down the neural system; sodium ions are important for muscular contraction.

The usual ways of taking hot spring therapies are immersion, cyclic jets and underwater exercise.

Partial immersion This is taken by sitting in a bathtub filled with water at the navel level and the upper part of body is covered properly.
Refreshment: sit in the tub while rubbing the body surface briskly and splashing water over the back region for 3 to 5 minutes. This is suitable for healthy individuals who suffer from depression or nervous debility. Start from 38 - 39óJ, gradually raise the water temperature each time.
General enhancement: sit in the tub, while, rubbing the body surface softly and splashing water over the back region for 3 to 5 minutes. This is suitable for individuals who are weakened or in early recovery period after a long-term illness. Keep the water temperature about 35 - 36óJ each time.
Cooling down: sit still in the tub quietly for about 10 to 15 minutes. Start from 38 - 39óJ and lower the temperature by 2 - 3óJ each time until the maximum tolerance. This is helpful for individuals who have overly active functional activates.
Full immersion This is taken by immersing the whole body in a bathtub with water filled to the nipple level.
Cool water: the temperature should between 33 - 36óJ and you should soak for 8-10 minutes. This can relieve heat and enhance body functions, and is usually used for rehabilitation.
Tepid water: the temperature should be about 37 - 38óJ and you should soak for 15-30 minutes. This can promote calmness and help induce sleep as well as relieving blood vessel contraction; this is particularly good for the management of joints or cardiovascular problems.
Hot water: the temperature should lie between 39 - 42óJ and you soaking should be for 5-30 minutes. This helps relaxation and promotes metabolism, which is beneficial for skin and joint problems. It overloads the heart and therefore this is not recommended for the aged and those with cardiovascular problems.

Bathing by cyclic jets are good for lumbar problems; during which the entire body or particular regions are splashed with a jet for 3 to 5 minutes. The water temperature lies between 38 -42óJ, and with a pressure of 1-3 Pa. Underwater exercise is usually performed during rehabilitation of injuries. Qi-gong, acupuncture, massage and wax treatment may be employed along with hot spring baths.

Precautions for hot spring baths

Generally, hot spring bathing should not be taken too frequently, for too long or at too high a temperature. Individuals with health problems should consult a professional before taking a hot spring bath, as it may acerbate their condition. For example sulfur springs are good for skin problems, however, it may also induce insomnia in neurasthenic individuals.

  • The usual temperature for spring bathing lies between 38 - 42óJ, however, some special springs such as carbonic springs, alkaline springs or sulphide springs, the temperature should be 37 - 38óJ or below, this can prevent vaporization of the gases that would mean loss of some of the therapeutic effects.
  • Usually soak for around 15-20 minutes, but the time is mostly subject to the individual's comfort level. If the pulse is over 120 beats per minute or if you feel tired, bathing should stop immediately. Hot spring baths can be taken once daily for 2 to 3 times and then rest for one day break. Alternatively, take 20 to 30 times as one cycle, and rest for 7 to 10 days, then start another cycle.
  • The first time that one has a hot spring bath some adverse reactions may be experienced. These include general symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, palpitation, dizziness, nausea, epilepsy, skin rashes or respiratory problems. There may also be pain or swelling in various body parts. If one or more of these symptoms are experienced, bathing should be stopped immediately.