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Seeking the Waters for Wellness

By Janet Abbott

Natural mineral waters have always provided benefits to living creatures on earth. There are both cold mineral waters as well as thermal waters that are naturally heated by the earth’s core. Water travels through the depths of geological time, dissolving minerals on its way to the surface and emerges as springs with a unique chemical composition that can be used to hydrate and heal.

Most commonly found beneficial minerals are calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, bicarbonates, sulphur, chlorides, silica, lithium and boron. Native people in countries around the world were the first to use natural mineral waters and often referring to them as sacred healing waters.

In North America, Lakotas named their waters “Wakan Tanka” or “Great Mystery”. The Salinan Indians from Paso Robles called them “Heaven’s Spot” for their health benefits. The springs were also respected as sacred neutral grounds among warring tribes for resting and recuperation.

Natural mineral water spas subsequently developed around the globe with unique styles for bathing based on culture, climate and quality of the waters. The Romans were the first known to have developed “Thermaes “, vast bath houses where people would soak in pools and steam in saunas to recuperate and revitalize. These community bathhouses were such a popular place for people to meet regularly for health and conversation, that Rome established Thermaes throughout the Roman Empire for the use by all citizens.

Balneology, the science of using natural mineral waters through soaking, drinking and steam cures has provided significant research that proves the health benefits for people who seek the waters for wellness. Both the temperature and mineral composition of natural spring waters have been validated for their specific healing qualities.

Thermal water brings about healing through the beneficial effects of both the minerals and the water temperature. Naturally earth heated mineral waters are also known to contain a high concentration of negative ions which contribute to good health.

When immersed in thermal mineral waters, the body reactions also stimulate health.

First, the pores in our skin dilate, allowing only the necessary amount of minerals to be absorbed, such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur and chlorides. For instance, sulphur water can cure many skin conditions such as fungal infections, dermatitis and psoriasis.

The heat also increases blood circulation which helps to stimulate the removal of toxins from the body as well as regularize gland functions.

Balneology research has proven that within 2 to 3 weeks of using natural mineral waters that are specific to your health condition, full health can be restored.

Sources: Balneological Use of Thermal Water in the USA. John W. Lund
Healing Springs. The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters. Nathaniel Altman

A Rustic Soaker’s Guide to Bathing Etiquette

by Marcus Coplin

There are many different thermal mineral springs all over North America. The range of experience is vast. Many are well established resorts and smaller stewarded sites. These places tend to have their own rules of conduct and as a guest in any place, one should follow those guidelines respectfully. But, there are also hot spring sites that are considered rustic or off the beaten track. It is for these places and in hopes of maintaining their uniqueness and intimate healing environment that the following guideline of hot spring etiquette was written.

  1. A rustic spring must be shown in person. Never give out directions to someone who you are not taking yourself and pass that rule along to anyone you do bring. In this way the respect and reverence for the site can be shown by example and the tradition of care-taking can be directly passed along.
  2. NEVER pollute a site. If you pack it in, pack it out. And if you see any old trash, pack it out.
  3. The spring is for healing. Keep respect for this by:
    – Keeping Alcohol and Recreational substances away from the water.
    – Being mindful of your voice. Many times the conversation at a spring can be wonderful, but chit-chat is distracting. Choose your words carefully.
    – Soak nude. Give your skin the chance to fully soak in the minerals, while keeping the pool free from any potential chemicals. Acknowledging that nudity is not the normal social experience is part of the disarming that can occur in order to facilitate healing at a rustic spring. It is never appropriate to stare, make suggestive comments or advances to anyone. This is a sacred space. Act right, everyone who enters a spring is there to heal on some level, keep that in mind. If you experience unwanted attention, just remind the source of that attention of why you are there and thank them to please not direct that towards you. People listen.
  4. The native tradition around many healing water sites is that they are places of peace. Weapons would be laid down around the periphery and feuds put to rest whilst in the area of the spring. This shows respect for the gift of the healing water as being a universal gift. Do not bring your anger, hostility or weapons to a hot spring site, only the willingness to heal the injury underlying them.
  5. Be Responsible for your health. Even experienced soakers can overdo it. If your heart rate is going too fast or too strong, take a break. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and that you have dry clothes to change into.
  6. Make room for others. Everyone loves coming to a rustic spring and getting to stretch out in the pool. Sometimes everyone shows up to love that experience at the same time. Remember that trying to control that or getting upset about it will not facilitate your healing. Go with it, make room for everyone to have a soak and take turns.
  7. Give thanks. The waters are listening.

Glenwood Hot Springs Patron, 98, Keeps on Swimming

Life in the Lap Lanes: Glenwood Hot Springs Patron, 98, Keeps on Swimming
Still swimming at 98 years old.

Carbondale resident and Glenwood Hot Springs Pool regular proves age is no reason to stop doing what you love.

​​​For more than 45 years since he moved to the Roaring Fork Valley, John D. Lawyer has been a regular at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, logging hundreds of miles in the pool’s lap lanes over the decades. These days, closing in on 100 years young, Lawyer doesn’t make it to the pool every day, but he still swims twice per week. “It’s only because he no longer drives that he doesn’t go every day,” said his daughter Illène Pevec.

Born October 18, 1918, Lawyer grew up in Evanston, Illinois within walking distance of Northwestern University. In fact, it was at the university that Lawyer first discovered his passion for the sport of swimming, a love affair that has lasted a lifetime. He wasn’t a student though; he was just a kid. “As a 5 or 6 year old,” John recalls, “I signed up for swimming lessons. As it turned out the man teaching the lessons was Tom Robinson, the Northwestern swim coach. Tom was an excellent coach and instructor. He taught me how to swim and I’ve been, well, swimming ever since.”

John brings up Tom Robinson frequently during the conversation, a man who clearly had a profound impact on his life. “My father’s love of swimming speaks to how having a wonderful mentor can shape a life and have an impact forever,” said Pevec.

I like to swim laps, not sit around.

JOHN LAWYER, 98 YEAR OLD SWIMMER AT GLENWOOD HOT SPRINGS

Pevec explained that her parents started coming to the Aspen area in the 1950s. John and his family instantly fell in love with the area and made a point to visit twice a year, every year, once in the winter for the skiing and once in the summer for the concerts. Unable to resist the call of the mountains any longer, John officially transplanted the family to the Roaring Fork Valley in the 1970s.

After the move, Lawyer worked as – you guessed it – an attorney. He later became Carbondale’s first municipal judge. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he taught classes in astronomy at Colorado Mountain College, another passion he picked up while living in close proximity to the university.

With the help of his family who transport him from Carbondale to Glenwood Springs, Lawyer is able to swim at the Hot Springs on regular basis. Since having a bout with shoulder bursitis, he prefers the sidestroke. When asked if he likes to soak in the Therapy Pool, he waves a hand and laughs, “I like to swim laps, not sit around.” A clue to his longevity perhaps? Even when he was recovering from knee replacement surgery in his 80s, Lawyer didn’t sit idly by. He consistently practiced his physical therapy exercises in the thermal waters, which according to his daughter helped him bounce back.

Lawyer can’t speak highly enough of the lifeguards and staffers at Glenwood Hot Springs, “They all know me by name and I feel very safe, knowing they’re watching out for me. I get the feeling they keep a special eye on me, you know because of my age,” he joked. “It’s comforting to me that he feels looked after and welcome at the Pool,” added Pevec. As a thank you for being a loyal pool-goer and overall inspiration, Glenwood Hot Springs gave Lawyer an annual pool pass. “It was such an unexpected surprise,” said Pevec.

As for some sage counsel, Lawyer’s advice is ageless, “Whatever your passion, you have to keep at it, stay motivated and never give up on anything you like doing.” Words of wisdom indeed.

About Glenwood Hot Springs

Glenwood Hot Springs is a historic Colorado landmark resort located along I-70 at Glenwood Springs, approximately 165 miles west of Denver and 90 miles east of Grand Junction.

Six Geothermal Mineral Water Spa Towns

By: Cynthia Josayma

Throughout North America there are significant cold and thermal natural mineral water sources that are being used extensively for health purposes, some for over 10,000 years. Here are profiled six major spa towns in the United States that have at least five mineral water spas on site. All locations have played a significant historical role in the health of people who came to take the waters. The balneological differences between these regions are determined by the kind of minerals in the water, as well as the heat, climate and peliods(muds) of the region.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico [33°8’1”N 107°15’10”W, Temp 98-115°F/36.6-46°C], which lies along the historic Spanish trade route between Mexico and Santa Fe, New Mexico, also has one of the largest thermal water basins in North America. The waters have one of the highest concentrations of sodium, calcium chloride, and bicarbonates thermal mineral waters in the country, and the water is naturally heated between 98-115 degrees. There were once 40 hot springs spas, with a constant flow of people, coming to take the waters for arthritis and digestion problems.

Hot Springs, Arkansas [34°29’50”N 93°3’19”W, Temp 43°F/61.6°C]. These hot springs were used for centuries by the Tunicas Indians, who introduced them to the Spanish conquistador, Hernando De Soto for their healing benefits in 1541. The waters were later designated as the first Public Land grant to the citizens of the United States in 1832 and later became a National Park. There are numerous mineral water springs on location, containing principally bicarbonate, silica, calcium and carbon dioxide, emerges at 143 degrees, and are used for rheumatism, skin conditions and rehabilitation. There used to be 20 bathhouses with over 50 attending doctors prescribing water cures for over 2 million people annually. Today there are only three places that medically use the waters; a rehabilitation center, and two hospitals, Libbey Memorial and Levi hospital.

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia [39o37’32”N 78°13’37”W, Temp 74.3°F/23.5°C]. The waters here are known for becoming the source for the first privately owned hot spring spa, directly after the founding of the United States. President George Washington purchased the site from the Iroquois Indians. He had been introduced to the waters healing benefits in his youth and had subsequently used them often to heal his solders after battle. The waters are lightly mineralized, principally infused with carbonates, sulfates and trace minerals, with a geothermal temperature of 74 degrees. It is used predominately for rheumatism, arthritis and skin diseases.

Thermopolis, Wyoming [43°38’44”N 108°12’53”W, Temp 72-133°F/22-56°C] sits alongside of Yellow Stone, the first National Park selected specifically for its geothermal sources. The town is rich in healing mineral water sources that were long used by the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian Tribes. Yellow Stone National Park, Hot Springs State Park claims to have the largest mineral hot spring in the world, also has numerous thermal springs that people from around the world come to bath in. In Thermopolis, there are eight hot springs that emerge at 180 degrees, with 27 minerals including bicarbonate, sulfate, chloride calcium, magnesium, and sodium, with over 2400 mg. of dissolved minerals per liter. These waters are used commonly for arthritis, rheumatism and stress.

Calistoga, California [38°34’53”N 122°34’58”W, Temp 180°F/82.2C°C] was used for centuries by the Wapoo Indians and was subsequently developed as the first major spa town in California in the 1870s. These waters which emerge at 180 degrees are high in sulphur and there are significant quantities of volcanic mud that are used in treatments. There had been 30 resorts in Calistoga at its peak; today there is only four that use the mineral waters.

Desert Hot Springs, California [33°57’40”N 116°30’29”W, Temp 85-200°F/29- 93°C] is the healing water home to the Cahuilla Indians, and has been a mineral water spa destination since the 1950s. It is unique in that the water is drawn from two geological water sources, an ancient deep coldwater table and a thermal lake. The minerals include sulphur, sodium chloride, bicarbonate and silica which are used for arthritis and joint pains.

Sources: Balneological Use of Thermal Water in the USA. John W. Lund
Healing Springs. The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters. Nathaniel Altman

Hot Springs Good Medicine

 

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

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.”

NATE WHITE, AVID KAYAKER

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 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 “…..new 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.

BANA is moving right along!

The Balneology Association of North America (BANA) will meet for our 2015 annual meeting in Colorado, USA.  We are reviewing regions for our upcoming map of North America mineral water sites, developing our programs and touring Glenwood Hot Springs.

Results from our annual meeting will be posted in our next newsletter. Please join us to be included in our network of Balneology of North America.

3.0HeroWinterYou are invited to Join BANA and get access to an informative ‘members only’ section.

The Balneology Association of North America (BANA) is publishing periodic newsletters with the intent to inform and direct the reader’s attention towards the various geo-thermal mineral water sources and sites, springs and wells, baths and pools found widely spread and mapped across the North American continental landscape.

In most places these site-specific water sources offer direct and regular opportunities for personally experiencing the numerous benefits of Balneology.  Balneology is the study and practice of the arts, sciences, applications, therapies and communities for Baths and Bathing.

The BANA Newsletter plans to bring new research, information and education about The Waters, Seasons and Climates of North America, especially as this information relates to the proper and regular use of natural mineral waters for wellness, health care, therapeutics and rehabilitative benefits.The hygienic, healthful, and therapeutic use of natural mineral waters is accomplished by means of soaking, floating, steaming and drinking The Waters as well as resting and sleeping at these sites.

Throughout North America there are natural hydrologic districts and watershed commonwealths that include distinct geothermal regions.  Within these Regions there exists extensive natural geo-thermal mineral water sources that have been used for centuries, if not millennia, for wellness and health, therapy and healing. Also, these Regions are identified and distinguished by various latitudes, longitudes, and altitudes along with their seasonal weather and climatic conditions.

In each BANA Newsletter, we plan to present Regional profiles and maps of the natural mineral water locations along with introductions as to how The Waters have been/are being/and in new locations will be used for wellness and health, therapy and rehabilitation.  This may include first hand personal experiences and stories that are hoped to inspire and contribute to the Vision and Mission of BANA.

Glenwood Hot Springs Pools and Vapor Caves, Colorado: A Brief Profile
Buried high and deep within the long chain of the great Rocky Mountains at a central point in the North American continent are several ancient Vapor Caves through which hot (F 122)mineral waters have been flowing for millions of years; or as the indigenous families and tribes of the Ute once told in their healing stories…”since a Time before Time.” On the surface and rushing out from under the rocks at a rate of 3.5 million gallons per day and pouring into a 19th century stone edged floating pool (1888) and 20th century swimming pool (the largest natural geo-thermal mineral water pool in the Americas) are The Waters of Glenwood Hot Springs.

The Waters of this site-specific source emerge onto the surface and into the floating pools after having worked their wandering ways within, around, up, and out of the deep earth.
Along the way and passing over and through centuries of geological strata The Waters have become infused with an abundant supply of Nature’s minerals including: sodium chloride, potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate and calcium bicarbonate, with traces of boron, lithium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, silica, zinc, fluoride, phosphate and nitrogen.
The Source of The Waters at Glenwood Hot Springs in the State of Colorado is centrally located midway between the Canadian and Mexican borders as well as  distant from the Atlantic, Great Lakes, Gulf, and Pacific Coasts.

West of the lower Great Plains and east of the high desert, where rainfall is sparse, each spring, high in mountains, the melting snowpack flows into rocky streams, swelling springs, rivers and lakes in turn transforms the landscape, plants, animals and humans with renewed life.
It is estimated that around 13 millennia ago, perhaps longer, the Ute, a nomadic tribal people of the Great Basin were the first people to use The Waters and Caves at Glenwood Hot Springs.  Historically they called the place:  “Yampah” or “Big Medicine.”  Long considered as sacred healing waters, the Ute them for bathing, steaming, sweating, inhaling and drinking.In the decades following the American Civil War a group of American and European investors purchased the land around the springs in order to develop and build what they came to name: The Glenwood Hot Springs and Hotel Colorado.

Today, The Glenwood Hot Springs welcomes all to visit, sit, soak, swim, play, relax, rest, sleep and experience, fully… The Waters in a high mountain environment that combines the historically restored sandstone bathhouse and spa with a contemporary grand geo-thermal mineral water pool and newly renovated lodge.

The Glenwood Hot Springs  —  Timeless Balneological Experiences.

Besides Glenwood Hot Springs, the State of Colorado lists another 26 Hot Spring site specific sources and destinations within the Rocky Mountain Region. For the other 26 hot springs spas of Colorado, read ‘27 Colorado Hot Springs Quick Guide‘.

Calistoga Tribune: Group Forming to Reaffirm Healing Waters

“Group forming to reaffirm healing waters urge research and education on mineral waters use.”

[March 2012] The Calistoga Tribune discusses Balneology and the creation of BANA in their Mud City Weekender.

Although the practice of “taking the waters” has been a part of human culture for thousands of years, it has slowly started to evaporate in the United States.

A new, national organization named Balneotherapy Association of North America (BANA)
is hoping to inspire collaboration between health practitioners, mineral water spa owners, media, and the public to reeducate Americans on its restorative effects.

The BANA board of directors held its first formal meeting in Calistoga this month because, across the national landscape, Northern California has the highest concentration of mineral water resorts and spas, said board member Cynthia Josayma of Earthly Waters Travel.

Speakers shared their theories of what happened to erode the tradition of soaking in natural mineral waters among Americans and how advocates can collectively reinvigorate not only the debate on bathing’s positive out physical effects, but how to educate new supporters on its health benefits as well.

Download the full article here.

BANA Periodical #1

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 12.31.27 PMThe BANA periodical provides in-depth discussions and information on Balneology in North America. Articles from the first periodical were written by several BANA Board Members and feature both an introduction to Balneology, an overview of some of the health benefits of natural mineral waters, and proper etiquette for bathing.

Download your copy of the BANA Periodical Issue 1.

Articles included:

  • Introducing Balneology by Prof. J. Paul De Vierville, PHD
  • Balneology Education by Cynthia Josayma, MA
  • Seeking the Waters for Wellness by Janet Abbott, TLMT
  • Six Geothermal Spa Towns in the U.S. by Cynthia Josayma, MA
  • Geology and Health Benefits of Natural Mineral Waters by Janet Abbott, TLMT
  • A Rustic-Wild Hot Spring Soaker’s Guide to Proper Bathing Etiquette by Dr. Marcus Coplin, ND

Insiders Guide to Spas

Mary-Bemis_avatar_1380898999-100x100In Praise of Balneology: New Periodical Debuts
— Mary Bemis

If you’d like to learn about the basics of  balneology, “the study of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs,” you’ll be pleased to discover the premier issue of BANA Periodical. The Fall 2014 issue, published by the non-profit Balneology Association of North America (BANA), is a treasure trove for those who revere the waters.

Within its pages, you’ll learn about the ancient art and modern science of taking the waters for health and healing. From  the playful “Introducing Balneology” by Professor J. Paul De Vierville to “Seeking the Waters for Wellness”  by Janet Abbot to “A Rustic Soaker’s Guide to Bathing Etiquette” by Dr. Marcus Coplin, ND, BANA Periodical takes you on a very pleasant and practical journey.

And for those of you who may be feeling adventurous and would like to experience balneology firsthand, “Six Geothermal Spa Towns,” by Cynthia Josayma, identifies six major spa towns in the United States that have played huge historical roles in the story of spas and mineral-water bathing. (Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is an old favorite of ours.)

Josayma, BANA’s Founder and Executive Director, first started to research balneology back in 2006, after a trip to Portugal piqued her interest in the field. “To discover here was a whole field of medical mineral waters was fascinating to me, and I wanted to know more,” she explained. Her hope is that BANA reawakens the knowledge about different kinds of waters, as well as the care of those waters—sorely lacking in the United States, a country so rich in natural mineral waters.