All posts by Janet Abbott

Hot Springs Good Medicine


Glenwood Hot Springs-Proves Good Medicine for Spine-Injured Kayaker

Nate White soaks in the thermal waters at Glenwood Hot Springs

After a devastating back injury, Carbondale kayaker Nate White is walking again, in part because of therapy he did at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool.

​Late in the day on June 25, 2016, then-32-year old Carbondale, Colorado resident, teacher, and athlete Nate White was kayaking with his buddies in Crested Butte. It was the last pass on a river he’d navigated several times before. For White it would be a routine run — until it wasn’t.

An accomplished kayaker with extensive experience on Class IV and Class V whitewater, by White’s standards the waterfall he was about to drop from wasn’t particularly difficult or dangerous. He paddled toward the falls and watched as the nose of his kayak plunged over the edge into the frothy water below, something he’d done countless times. Within moments though, White knew something went catastrophically wrong. He’d hit a submerged rock and couldn’t move his legs.

White was evacuated by helicopter to Swedish Medical Center in Denver, where physicians determined he had an injury known as a burst fracture in his lower back, specifically to his second lumbar vertebrae. The lumbar nerves of which there are five pairs control leg muscle function. Soon after his arrival at Swedish, White underwent the first of two surgeries. In order to stabilize his back, doctors fused his spine with titanium rods from his T12, the lowest of the thoracic nerves, through the fourth lumbar vertebrae. A week later, doctors removed one of White’s ribs for a lumbar spinal surgery to join the vertebrae above and below his injury.

“The Glenwood Hot Springs lifeguards have been amazing. They are always willing to offer a helping hand.”


After 10 days at Swedish, White was transferred to Craig Hospital in Denver, the world-renowned facility that specializes in neuro-rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries as well as traumatic brain injuries. Over the course of a two-month stay, White’s primary job was learning, or rather, relearning how to do just about everything he once took for granted. Things like how to get dressed, maneuver in and out of a bed or a chair, and navigate using a wheelchair, his new mode of transportation. A typical day for White at Craig Hospital included a slew of therapies: physical, occupational, recreational, and pool therapy, all designed to maximize his neurological recovery. Rehab was rigorous, exhausting, and the learning curve was often steep.

On top of bodily healing, White had to mentally confront his altered future. “The scariest part was the uncertainty,” he said. “I was pretty sure I was going to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair,” a reality hard to come to grips with for the once competitive mountain biker, kayaker, and ski coach. White was lucky though, something he readily admits. “When I was at Craig Hospital, I felt like one of the most fortunate people there. A lot of the people around me had way worse injuries, yet they stayed hopeful and positive. That kind of attitude rubs off on you.”

After returning to Carbondale, at his father’s suggestion, White also started frequenting the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. With its warm 93°F mineral water, the huge hot springs pool was the ideal place to build strength and practice regular physical therapy. “It’s great to be able to move around in that water. The heat is good for stretching and the minerals aid in muscle health. Our bodies were made to move. Even if a part is paralyzed, it’s important to exercise for circulation, digestion, osteo-health, and neurological function,” said White. His self-designed physical therapy entailed holding onto the edge at the deep end of the pool where his body was nearly weightless. Gradually, he was able to tread water and swim laps. Over time, White was able to incrementally work his way from the 12-ft. deep end to the 3-ft. shallow end of the pool allowing his legs to hold more and more of his body weight and simulate the motion of walking. White credits the pool’s guard staff with helping him with everything from getting his wheelchair to cheering him on. “The Glenwood Hot Springs lifeguards have been amazing. They are always willing to offer a helping hand. I’ve been to a lot of pools and that’s not the case everywhere.”

In addition to his regular workouts at the Hot Springs Pool, White also works on his mobility with Bridging Bionics Foundation, a non-profit based in Basalt. Through the use of a battery-operated robotic exoskeleton that utilizes bionic technology, White is able to stand and walk — an experience he once thought impossible.

But White was just getting started on breaking through barriers. Once home in the Roaring Fork Valley, it wasn’t long before he was back at work teaching English lit to students at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, a private high school in Carbondale. The school went above and beyond to help out their colleague as well, providing an adaptive living and working environment for White. “One thing they told me early on in rehab was the number one factor for success in overcoming an injury like mine was having a support network. I have that and I attribute my success to those around me,” he said.

That communal spirit may explain why giving back is so important to White. “People were helping me and doing so many things for me. I needed to get back to work; to have a purpose, to serve others,” he said. In addition to inspiring kids to love the Classics, White is also uniquely qualified to mentor a student who is recovering from his own spinal cord injury.

It’s been a year since White broke his back kayaking. In that time, he’s transitioned from using a wheelchair to crutches to walking with a cane. Since it’s summer, White has a few school-free months off. What’s he doing? Kayaking, of course! After an accident like White’s, most people would be too shaken or scared to “get back in the water.” Not White, who recently returned from a multi-day camping and kayaking trip in Idaho. “Kayaking is a sport I can do without any adaptive equipment. It’s hard to believe, but in the kayak on the river, I can forget about my injury.”

And, that’s just how Nate White rolls; not just in a kayak, but in life.

BANA Open Conversation about Balneology



Balneology is the science and art in practice of therapeutic mineral water bathing

If you have received this evite it is because BANA has identified you as an important voice in the future of North American Balneology.

We will be holding open conversations in 2017 on

November 15 2017  2PM AST- 3PM PST-4PM MST-5PM CST-6PM EST

December 13 2017  2PM AST- 3PM PST-4PM MST-5PM CST-6PM EST

to hear your voices on topics we see as instrumental in bringing the practice of “health in earth’s mineral waters” into the 21st century.

The topical focus may include:

Balneology -practices of mineral water bathing/soaking

Mineral waters nature of healing

Mineral water stewardship

Environmental policy for mineral waters

Mineral water concerns pertaining to the spa industry

Host: Janet Abbott, President

We are excited to hear from you!

RSVP Requested

If you have any questions, please send them to


BANA Board of Directors

BANA Presents at Manitou Springs, Colorado Waterfest Sept 30 – Oct 1, 2016


Manitou Springs, CO Waterfest Sept 30-Oct 1 2016

Manitou Springs, CO Waterfest Sept 30-Oct 1 2016

BANA-Balneology Association of North America -Presentations at Manitou Springs Waterfest 2016


Culture and History:
Professor, J. Paul De Vierville, Ph.D., MSSW, LCSW, LPC, Director: Spa Cultures, Dream Times & Cosmos and Deborah Harrison, Local author and historian will share great images and explore the history of Manitou Springs and the development of global spa cultures.
Solloway_Head Shot        drcoplin
Health & Wellbeing:
Michele Solloway, Ph. D, MPA, Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Marcus Coplin, ND, naturopathic practitioner will review  the science, best practices, and health benefits of mineral water therapy.
Mentor - David Erlich  Copy of Committee - Deborah Smith
Business & Economics:
Deborah Smith, MBA, CMC, Smith Club & Spa Specialists and David Erlich, Director, Spa of the Rockies, Glenwood Springs, CO will facilitate a interactive roundtable for Mineral Springs Owners & Operators. Sharing and learning about challenges & opportunities for the 21st century.


Hot Springs Festival-Truth or Consequences, New Mexico May 13-15 2016


May 13-15, 2016
Truth or Consequences Hot Springs Festival
Friday, May 13th – Afternoon and Evening
Clothing Swap
Keynote – Janet Abbott, President Balneology Association of North America
Welcome Dance featuring the New World Drummers
Saturday, May 14th

Guided morning hike of the Healing Waters Trail
Music by Azaima Anderson, Phydeaux 3, Rob Carey, Cactus Tractor, Elise Brianne, Double Clutchers, New World Drummers
Vendors from 10am-8pm.
Workshops and Presentations
Art in Adobe with Francisco “Pancho” Ochoa
Weaving with Caroline Kral
EcoBuilding by Catherine Wanek
Aromatherapy/ Raindrop Therapy by Jeannie Nichols
CranioSacral Therapy with Sydney Wilkes
Worm Casting with Rand Berger
Solar by George Szigeti
Tincture Making by Yarrow Dankert
The European Approach to Taking the waters by Dr. Joann Love
Dog Yoga by Tamra Temple
Untame Yourself by Rev. Azaima Anderson
Drinking from the Well that Sustains Us by Rose Gordon
Sound/Vibrational Healing by Chris Slate
Chakras and Reflexology by Kamy Shaw
Healing Springs: The Importance to the Apaches by Chris Adams
History of Healing in Truth or Consequences by Sherry Fletcher
Midwifery, Natural Birth, and Prenatal Care by Heather Rische
Other Activities
Massage/Reiki/Reflexology Area
Children’s Activities
Hot Springs Tours
Hikes of Hidden Canyon
Field Trip to the Crystal Labyrinth in Animas Creek
Scavenger Hunt
Flute Maker/Player Ingrid Burg
Portraits by Leo Neufeld
Tai Chi
Authors Corner
Second Saturday Art Hop 6-9pm
Sunday, May 15th
Community Breakfast and Keynote Speaker- Stormwater Harvesting and Conservation by Van Clothier
Field Trip to Kingston’s Black Range Lodge Open House – Home of EcoBuilder and Author Catherine Wanek
Most events are free. Some will charge a nominal fee. Tickets for those events will go on sale April 21st. Schedule is subject to change.


Blackstone Hotsprings
Charles Hot Spring, Motel & Spa
Fire Water Lodge
Indian Springs
La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa
Pelican Spa
Riverbend Hot Springs
Sierra Grande Lodge


BANA Annual Meeting in Glenwood Springs

BANA Annual Meeting in Glenwood Springs

Balneology Association of North America (BANA) convened in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for its third annual business meeting. The nonprofit organization Board Members gathered with local community leaders, including BANA member, Kjell Mitchell, CEO of Glenwood Hot Springs. The Lodge at Glenwood Hot Springs hosted the group with a reception and introduction to The Waters.

The town, located in Glenwood Canyon and the Roaring Fork Valley, is known for its thermal mineral springs. Glenwood Hot Springs…the largest geothermal mineral waters pool in North America and an ancient sacred healing site with bathing pools and vapor caves is used continuously by humanity from a time before written history.

It was the perfect location to explore one of the most pristine examples of good stewardship and use of mineral waters as a natural resource. The town has developed around the springs, but, always with conscientious planning, historic preservation, and conservation in mind.

“The exchange of ideas in a place like Glenwood Springs is very important,” says Janet Abbott, newly elected president.

11742659_1013570662017178_2649594509504322992_n-2Facilitating the business meeting was Chris Devlin, Board Chair for BANA since 2014, who takes his organizational development and leadership skills into BANA’s vision for the future. Devlin addressed the organization’s three-tiered approach to promoting BANA; health, stewardship, and wellness tourism.

Devlin sees BANA’s educational focus as most important“…..not only in recognizing the benefits of bathing in mineral springs, but, also, in providing a source and network that can cross all lines of balneological interest and study”.

As to specific goals, Devlin spoke on the “map project,” the first of its’ kind. Through the map project, BANA hopes to educate those who are interested to explore this century’s options for optimum health and maximum well-being.

We are discussing events for the more immediate future,” says Board Member, Dr. Michelle Solloway. BANA is planning to facilitate regional educational and experiential meetings. “Balneology is for anyone and everyone interested in their own health and well-being.”

A final item on the agenda was to nominate and vote on a prospective Board Member, David Erlich, Director of The Spa of the Rockies (located in Glenwood’s original bathhouse). “To live and work in a health conscious environment, “…and to have the mineral waters available,” David says, “is part of the reason I accepted the position.”

The following board member presentations touched on ‘Inspiration for BANA Vision next 3-5 years’ and a synthesis of common and divergent themes.

Dr. Jonathan Paul De Vierville, Board Vice President, gave a presentation of Glenwood Hot Springs History and Context. He began his presentation by noting that the group convened in one of the most pristine examples of good stewardship in the use and sharing of The Waters. “Glenwood Springs is a great example of a large, hot, single source mineral spring, with a network of vapor caves.” He reflected upon the area’s first peoples……the nomadic tribes that trekked across the land for thousands of years.
Although times are different from the earlier Taking-the-Waters movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, De Vierville sees “… research, information, knowledge and understanding with mineral springs and balneology.”

Janet Abbott, Board President, presented a visioning overview and opened strategic planning discussion. She explained that as an advocate, “……bathing in mineral waters for health and wellness is one of our initiatives.

“The general public needs to be educated,” Abbott added, “The positive health effects the body receives through an experience of warm mineral water chemistry for therapy and healing is what BANA is all about.”

Board Member, Marcus Coplin, who represents North America in the nonprofit organization, International Scientific Medical Hydrology (ISMH), spoke at the International Scientific Meeting of Balneology, Medical Hydrology and Climatolgy, held in conjunction with the 39th ISMH World Congress in Kyoto, Japan in May 2014. Dr. Coplin recapped his presentation, Responses of the Human Body to Stimuli from Nature, before the BANA Board.  “Everything from listening to the surf roll in and roll out to a soak in warm mineral waters “…..has an affect on the body’s chemistry,” Dr. Coplin says.

He is interested in development of site specific information regarding the nine geological regions of North America.  “…… so people can make a more informed decision when choosing a specific type of mineral water. For example, a highly sulfurous spring is excellent for various skin conditions.”

Deborah Smith, Board Treasurer, spoke to the assembled group and presented a plan to further BANA’s goals. She asserts that by “…..broadening BANA’s outreach, through many different communication platforms, societal awareness will motivate change in the health care industry and in people’s lives.”

“We intend to plan,” says Smith, “an outline that supports responsible development and operation of mineral springs sites and facilities.”

Another organizational focus, Smith says, is Wellness Tourism. “BANA hopes to support those involved in local or regional economic development and/or commerce, adding that people are seeking out “wellness destinations.”

The group’s purpose for their Colorado weekend was BANA and the business at hand for the new year, however, time was made to enjoy Glenwood Springs and its surroundings. Board members spent time soaking in Glenwood’s mineral water pools. They enjoyed the vapor caves at Yampah Caves and Spa, and concluded their Annual Meeting at Avalanche Ranch, located in nearby Crystal River Valley.

We thank and acknowledge Diane Elliott, journalist and writer about hot spring sites for this narrative on BANA: Annual Conference at Glenwood Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.