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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.

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.

Recognizing Hot Springs Health Benefits in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

In February of 2013, the Balneology Association of North America (BANA) visited Truth or Consequences to commune, take in the waters, and talk about…what else? Balneology!

“Balneology” is the practice of utilizing mineral and thermal mineral waters, as well as natural gases and peliods (muds) through bathing, steaming, drinking and inhalation. In Balneology, the classification of medicinal mineral waters also includes the study of the geology, geography, climate, chemical and therapeutic actions.

Balneology is used for numerous health benefits. Maintaining wellness is the primary goal; mineral waters revitalize the skin, calm nerves, detoxify the body system and refresh oxygen levels. For those with health issues, mineral water can have a positive effect on conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, skin ailments, and respiratory illnesses including asthma, locomotor and circulatory diseases.


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.

Balneotherapy Research in France

The article Balneotherapy Research in France by Christian François Roques, focuses on new research on the beneficial use of natural mineral waters for a number of chronic diseases.

There are currently 100 natural mineral water resorts in France that are overseen by the Public Health Authorities.  In 2011, these spas treated 520,000 patients for an equivalent of 9,360,000 days of treatment and as well as an additional 491,000 using the waters for “Well Being Care”.

In the article “Balneotherapy Research in France “  C. Roques outlines the 100 natural mineral water resorts in France that cover a range of health uses including: 66 spas specializing  in rheumatic diseases–immune disease affecting joints and soft tissues;  31 spas specializing in respiratory tract diseases; 23 spas serve metabolic conditions; 8 spas help with neurological and stress related disorders and 11 spas specialize in dermatological diseases.

It also introduces a new organization, the French Association of Thermal Research, which was established in 2005 to provide scientific and economic opportunities.  This article discusses the origin, transformation & results of current research in the use of Balneotherapy. Finally, the article surveys the improvement of the patients using natural mineral waters and concludes that larger international cooperation to set up new research & methods would be beneficial.

Click here to download the article!