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

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.

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.


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’?

What projects are you currently working on for BANA?

What is the current interest in Hot Springs in the United States and North America?

What industry opportunity to you feel BANA is ready to meet?

What is your main goal for BANA in 2016?

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 (! 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.

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