19 August 19, 2014
By Calley O’Neill
BAiNEOLOGY: (n) the study of the therapeutic effects of thermal baths and bathing, especially bathing with mineral salts, such as sulfates, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, chloride, silica, etc.
I used to wonder whether the effectiveness of mineral baths to my muscles and joints was simply the placebo effect plus quiet relaxation (which is to say a lot upfront given that placebos are now considered to be as effective at pharmaceuticals, and relaxation is the key ingredient for a healthy body and mind).
I am hugely attracted to mineral hot springs, thus my love affair with Breitenbush and my retreat there every year. I am not alone. People, the world over, have been using mineral rich hot springs for ages. Hot springs are sacred places, valued by indigenous peoples for their healing qualities. Mineral hot springs have been used since prehistoric times, especially in Europe and Japan.
Roman soldiers soaked in the rich waters of the Dead Sea and in mineral baths to help heal after battles. While some feel that the words Salas Per Aquam (healing through water) is the root of the acronym SPA, Wikipedia notes the term is derived from the name of the town of Spa, Belgium, a name dating back to Roman times, when it was called Aquae Spadenae.
Interest in therapeutic healing at mineral springs and their surrounding spas peaked in the early 1800’s until the 1940’s. Today, there is a resurgence of interest and knowledge of bathing’s benefits.
The solids and gases in mineral waters can help reduce stress, aches and pains, headaches, stiffness and inflammation in the joints, helps with arthritis, heal skin, improve sleep, increase blood circulation, treat hypertension and hardening of the arteries, increase skin hydration, mineralization, and restore energy and balance to the endocrine system.
Due to seriously depleted levels of magnesium in our food and water, most people are dangerously deficient in magnesium…about 95% of all North Americans. According to a doctor/nurse/nutritionist team I know in Canada. Magnesium is the second most abundant element in our bodies, and it helps regulate over 300 enzymes and reactions in the body.
The skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs, filters, and delivers nutrients to the body. Submerged in a bath, bodily fluids retreat and the mineral water is drawn into the tissues directly where we need it. Thus, all the benefits of mineral bathing are available if you have a bath tub at home.
Add Epsom Salts, sea salt, local salts from your area, mineral soaks, essential oils, especially lavender, hot water (we have a $30. Filter that filters out the chlorine which makes the water much healthier) and some wonderful skin herbs you can put in your bath.
My bath? Hot water with Epsom Salts, a mineral scrub, sea salt, and Lavender oil. Add candlelight and quiet, and, sweet dreams and happy healing!