All posts by Kate Sornson

Board Member Highlight: David Erlich

In this Highlight series, we get to know the leaders of BANA. 

Board Member Highlight: David Erlich, Spa Director at Spa of the Rockies, Glenwood Springs.

Mentor - David ErlichDavid Erlich is the newest BANA Board Member, appointed at the June annual meeting. His twenty plus years in the hospitality and spa industries led him to Colorado when he accepted the position as Spa Director at Spa of the Rockies, located in Glenwood Springs in its historic bathhouse.

Erlich’s career has taken him across the globe, from Hawaii to the Middle East, and he admits his new locale is quite a change from Hawaii’s near perfect year-round temperatures. As a passionate outdoorsman and competitive triathlete, Erlich says that living in Colorado is a great experience.

To live and work in a health conscious environment, “…….and to have the mineral waters available,” he says, “is part of the reason I accepted the position.”

During his tenure, he has established several health focused spa treatments. He recommends a maintenance program of mineral water soaks and healing massage to maximize one’s physical wellbeing.  “This should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” Erlich says.  Promoting maximum health and wellness is the community’s top priority, and it’s Erlich’s passion as well.

Where and When did you first ‘Take the Waters’?
My first exposure to hot springs geothermal water was as a young child in Germany. My father was stationed there in the military as a pilot. I was 8-10 years old in Heidelberg, Germany and we traveled throughout Europe extensively during those three years. I have fond memories in Stuttgart and Berchtesgaden along with soaks in Baden-Baden. I have been an avid soaker ever since!

What projects are you currently working on for BANA?
I am currently preparing to co-host a round table discussion at Manitou Springs Waterfest with Deborah Smith that will be a small panel discussion with an open format, discussing hot springs operational challenges and any other topic concluded for this format.

What is the current interest for Hot Springs in the United States and North America?
Hot Springs are where it’s at! Based on the most recent industry research from Spa Finder last year.

Board Member Highlight: Marcus Coplin

In this Highlight series, we get to know the leaders of BANA. 

Board Member Highlight: Marcus Coplin, ND, Doctor of Naturophatic Medicine, Bastyr University, Seattle, Washington.

drcoplinMarcus Coplin, represents North America in the nonprofit organization, International Scientific Medical Hydrology (ISMH). As a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, which has its roots in the German balneology movement of the late nineteenth century, Dr. Coplin’s vocation ignited his interest in balneology. In time, his interest turned to passion.

When he decided to leave his practice in New York City, and before moving back to California, Dr. Coplin took a six month sabbatical…..traveling throughout Europe and stoping at springs, baths and resorts to contrast balneology in Europe compared to the United States. Dr. Coplin found that, “Health communities and medical services surround natural mineral springs and baths. Balneology is respected and recognized for the physical and emotional benefits it provides.”

He is eager to assist BANA in its 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.” Dr. Coplin added that our proven symbiotic relationship with natural mineral waters should encourage the practice of balneology. He is convinced that the simple act of bathing in mineral waters relates to wellness; in relaxation, physical and emotional therapy, and prevention and treatment of disease.

Where and When did you first ‘Take the Waters’?
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What projects are you currently working on for BANA?
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What is the current interest in Hot Springs in the United States and North America?
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What industry opportunity to you feel BANA is ready to meet?
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What is your main goal for BANA in 2016?
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Board Member Highlight: Michelle Solloway

In this Highlight series, we get to know the leaders of BANA. 

Board Member Highlight: Michelle Solloway, PhD, MPA, RPP, Senior Research Scientist at the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University.

Solloway_Head ShotMichele Solloway, Board Secretary and Events Chair for BANA, brings to the organization a breadth of experience in health services research and policy, neuroscience, city & regional planning and other the social sciences, grant writing and fund raising, and organizational expertise. She is also a certified advanced polarity practitioner. She is another branch of diversity that BANA provides its members and the general public.

Dr. Solloway’s professional interest have led her to projects and goals that seek to help vulnerable children and families, “the underserved of society.” She is currently engaged in in a number of projects on childhood trauma and family engagement that bring together emerging neuroscience, epigenetics, and health care research on trauma and resilience to promote early and lifelong health and wellbeing, including mind-body approaches to healing. Balneology offers one such approach.

When she was approached by BANA to participate on the Board, she became aware of how mineral springs soaking for health and wellness (balneology), appeared to be a match for her many branches of research and interest, including her work as a body/energy worker. “There is scientific evidence that balneology can help with many physical and emotional disorders; osteoarthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, and PTSD. Through her work at the VA, she learned that in the early 1900’s many of the VA hospitals were built on hot springs sites, as it was one of the best and only remedies fat that time or “shell shock”, or what is now called PTSD.

Optimistic by nature, Dr. Solloway says, “Balneology is for anyone and everyone interested in their own health and well-being.”

Where and When did you first ‘Take the Waters’?
My grandmother was very forward thinking and lived in Europe early in her adult life, so was exposed to and loved taking the waters. I recall being very young (5 or 6 perhaps) and going to Dessert Hot Springs and mud baths with her when it was very undeveloped. It was an amazing thing to be exposed to as a child and of course I just loved it! Our soaking became a tradition for us and a deep bonding experience.

What projects are you currently working on for BANA?
I am the events coordinator and we are working on developing thought-leader conference calls and webinars on various topics, including health and wellness, geology and hydrology, water and environmental policy, and culture of the waters. Anyone interested in these calls and webinars, please contact me (msolloway@cahmi.org)! We are also collaborating with Peak Living Project for a “Waterfest” festival in Manitou Springs in September 2016. We hope you all can join us!

Board Member Highlight: Chris Devlin

In this Highlight series, we get to know the leaders of BANA. 

Board Member Highlight: Chris Devlin, FNP, EdS Nurse Practitioner for Alaska Tribal Health System.

bana pic for bioChris Devlin, who has been the Board Chair for BANA since 2014, takes his organizational development and leadership skills into BANA’s vision for the future.

Devlin sees BANA’s educational focus as most important “….in addition to touting 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”.

A family Nurse Practitioner for over 30 years, Devlin spent most of his career working within the Alaska Tribal Health system, including a decade as the Executive Director for a non-profit tribal health organization providing care throughout the Aleutian Islands. He describes himself as “semi retired” now and is engaged with developing a sustainable, 55 and older cooperative in Hot Springs, Montana. The town of about 600 people has several public outdoor mineral spring pools, as well as indoor private tub bathing options.

“The Alameda Hot Springs Retreat [which he is one of nine cooperative shareholders] is more low key, quiet and peaceful.” Guests can soak in mineral water in the privacy of their room.  He explained that the area was originally a peaceful gathering place, for nearby Tribes. Later, settlers moved to the Camas Springs area, and the town grew….for awhile. Prosperity was short lived. Like so many “mineral water” towns, the soaking boom began to fade in the 1950’s.

Devlin sees a resurgence happening in people soaking in hot springs for health and wellness. He spends as much time as possible soaking in hot springs, sometimes traveling to remotes parts of the world to do so! In addition to his interest in the balneotheraputic uses of thermal mineral water, he is also interested in the “direct use” of the resource in sustainable energy and permaculture practices.

Where and When did you first ‘Take the Waters’?
Liard Hot Springs, BC, Canada, in November 1974. Hitchhiking from Alaska to NYC. Saw a “hot spring” on the map and asked the driver to stop so we could check it out.  A wonderful memory of a first soak!

What projects are you currently working on for BANA?
 I’ve been focused on internal BANA governance issues and on “spreading the word” about Balneology to colleagues in the medical field.

What is the current interest in Hot Spring in the United States and North America?
I’ve recently participated in the development of a 55 and older “hot spring” housing cooperative in MT.

What industry opportunities do you feel BANA is ready to meet?
We can provide support and information to “hot springs communities” trying to re-new public interest in soaking.

What is your main goal for BANA in 2016?
I’d like to see progress on developing educational offerings for health providers.

Board Member Highlight: Janet Abbott

In this Highlight series, we get to know the leaders of BANA. 

Board Member Highlight: Janet Abbott, TLMT, teacher and researcher of integrative health and wellness systems and geothermal mineral waters.

Janet_PR 008Janet Abbott, Board President, brings to BANA a geological perspective of what lies beneath the earth’s surface. Her personal research and work with the US Geological Survey makes her the ideal person to set the course for BANA’s goals in 2015 through 2018.

Her years in the health and wellness field lend the perfect blend of guidance and wisdom to organizational goals; to inform, educate and raise general awareness to the benefits found in mineral water bathing. “We plan to add testimonials from our members because mineral waters can be transformational,” Abbott says.

As an advocate, “……bathing in mineral waters for health and wellness is one of our initiatives, and my intention is to help shape the organization’s vision for the future.” The general public needs to be educated,” Abbott added. “The positive health effects the body receives through a soaking experience in warm mineral water chemistry for therapy and healing is what BANA is all about.”

Where and When did you first ‘Take the Waters’?
In Bonita Springs, Florida near Shangri-La Health Resort in 1977.

What projects are you currently working on for BANA?
As President of BANA, I am working with all committee chairs on our current projects which include our Map Project, BANA Website as our outreach medium, BANA Periodical #2, Stories/Testimonial collections and the Manitou Springs Fall Water Festival.

What is the current interest in Hot Springs in the United States and North America?Hot springs continue to be of interest to all living beings throughout our history on this earth.  In the U.S., there are hundreds of hot springs in natural settings open to the public and some privately owned.  Water Stewards oversee destination locations ranging from small user-friendly styles to resort establishments with amenities. Seekers of warm mineral waters number in the hundreds of thousands coming from all over the world to visit sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

What industry opportunity to you feel BANA is ready to meet?
Developing relationships with water stewards to network mineral water interests through our Map Project.  Broaden the ‘Language of The Waters’ through our website and periodical to include guiding interests via education on the benefits of soaking in mineral waters and drinking mineral waters.  Outreach to water specialists at levels of government, university labs, hydrology, geology in order to establish an understanding of what, where, why, how, and when warm mineral waters are a valuable inclusion in practices of health and wellbeing.

What is your main goal for BANA in 2016?
To make anyone and everyone feel welcome to join BANA in acknowledgement and practice of The Waters in North America as valuable and beneficial to us.