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Miracle of the Mineral Baths

Aug 27, 2008
As far back as 73 B.C., hot springs or mineral baths have served as places for health and rejuvenation. King Herod, Roman King of Judea, created one of the world's first health resorts on the Dead Sea. Queen Cleopatra built a cosmetics and pharmaceutical factory there. During the Roman Empire, nearly every city had access to mineral baths which were used for public bathing, exercise and socializing. From the United Kingdom to Germany to Algeria, bath houses could be found.

The world famous Baden-Baden hot springs in Germany have drawn visitors for centuries. Situated along the Oos River, Baden-Baden has welcomed the ancient Romans, England's Queen Victoria, and contemporary visitors of all means. Considered some of the most elegant bathing houses in Europe, Baden-Baden is created by some 29 hot springs, which are transferred through pipes to various baths in the city. Patients still come today to seek relief from gout, paralysis, skin diseases and more.

Native Americans recognized the healing powers of the mineral baths, believing that they were a special gift to the people from a Great Spirit. All of these early spa-goers of the day found the mineral essential baths were effective for treating a range of ailments, including psoriasis, acne, rheumatism and indigestion. Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto came across the Valley of Vapors in the early 1500s. He was one of the first Europeans to discover the curative powers of what is now known as Hot Springs, Arkansas.

DeSoto was just one of many who would come to discover these magical thermal springs, from which was formed the Hot Springs National Park. Termed "The American Spa," Hot Springs has a rich history and others soon followed. Another American classic, the Roosevelt Bathhouse in Saratoga Springs, New York, drew sophisticated travelers in the 1800s for a soak in its soothing mineral waters. Part of the Gideon Putnam Resort, guests believe the waters offer preventative benefits and that using the mineral springs assists in reducing stress and strengthening the body's overall functioning.

These waters also gave rise as well to playgrounds for the rich and famous. Nearly a century ago, V.I.P. guests traveled by railcar to Mount Clemens, Michigan, or "America's Bath City" to experience the magical mineral waters there. Pumped from 1,400 feet beneath the city, the waters of Mount Clemens were enjoyed by the likes of Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst and Babe Ruth. The baths were known to relieve the pain of arthritis, rheumatism and eczema. It was also a Mecca for polio patients. The thriving therapeutic industry was supported by 11 major bath houses and dozens of resort hotels within the city.

Opened during the Gilded Age, the West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana, sported a fantastic domed ceiling that was considered the "Eighth Wonder of the World." A National Historic Landmark, West Baden's reputation as a mineral springs resort drew guests from all over the U.S. to relax and take the cure. A 2007 renovation included a 27,000-square-foot spa facility featuring full-body capsules with the famous mineral water that has made West Baden Springs an undeniable first-class resort.

Mineral springs have also given rise to innovative body treatments. For instance, at the Harbin Hot Springs in Middleton, California, therapist Harold Dull developed Watsu, which is a combination of Zen shiatsu with water. Warm and inviting natural spring pools are located through the 2,000-acre property. The Homestead of Hot Springs, Virginia, first welcomed Thomas Jefferson who found bathing in its waters three times a day for three weeks a restorative measure. Today's guests can still "take the waters" while also indulging in luxury spa treatments.
About the Author
Geologix Inc. manufactures products using a proprietary formula featuring 34 natural minerals contained in the ancient sea water from the famous Michigan Basin -- a concentration of minerals higher than that found in any known body of water in the world. Mineral Essentials focuses on spa, skin care, and massage products to moisturize and provide anti-aging protection for great skin. Mineral Essentials
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