What Are the Health Benefits of Hot Springs? [+ 4 Top Destinations]
Hot springs have been used for centuries as a form of natural healing, and it’s no wonder why. The minerals and waters found in hot springs have beneficial effects on the body, helping to soothe inflammation and promote circulation. Plus, they are usually surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your joint health (or just relax), you might want to consider a trip to a hot spring.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best hot spring vacation spots around the world. And we’ll also dive into the health benefits of hot springs.
Ready? Let’s go!
The Health Benefits of Hot Springs: Facts and Myths
Hot springs are formed when water seeps deep into the Earth and returns to the surface. Thus, the temperature rises as the rocks get deeper. This is the reason why some hot springs are hotter than others. As a result, the suggested time to bathe in each one of them will vary.
All over the world, hot springs are popular tourist attractions. In fact, the practice of soaking in warm or hot springs has been around for thousands of years. This practice is known for its multiple health benefits, such as:
- Relaxation and stress reduction
- Reduction of aches and pains, especially in the joints
- Relief for skin conditions (e.g: psoriasis, dermatitis, and collagen vascular disorders)
- Vascular function and blood pressure improvements
- Calorie burning
However, it’s fair to say that although many studies indicate the health benefits of bathing in hot springs, there are no specific recommendations on how long or often it’s suggested to bathe in them.
Moreover, there are some other health claims abound hot springs that have not yet been proven, such as:
- Hot springs’ supposed body detoxification properties
- Hot springs’ power to prevent specific diseases or illnesses
- Hot springs’ ability to cure chronic conditions
Additionally, bathing in hot springs is not recommended if you:
- Suffer from heart conditions
- Are pregnant
- Have open cuts or sores
- Are prone to falling, slipping, or fainting
Hot Spring Vacation Spots Around the World
There are hot springs all over the world, and each one has its own unique set of benefits.
In this section, we’ll share our picks:
- Hot Springs Cove (British Columbia, Canada)
- Pozar Thermal Springs (Pieria, Greece)
- Dogo Onsen (Matsuyama, Japan)
- Orvis, Hot Springs (Colorado, USA)
Hot Springs Cove (British Columbia, Canada)
These remote Canadian hot springs are a truly unique destination, even in the hot spring category. Hot Springs Cove is located on a remote island near Vancouver Island, and you can get there either by taking a plane or a boat. We suggest you go to Tofino and jump on a boat. The 1.5-hour ride is just as marvelous as the hot springs themselves.
On your way there, you’ll get to see countless islands dotting the coastline. You can also stop to watch gray and humpback whales. Additionally, to get to the hot springs, you’ll need to hike for half an hour through a 1200-year-old forest.
Hot Springs Cove lies in the middle of nature and it’s filled with crystal clear water gushing from the rocks. Plus, if you look out over the Northern Clayoquot Sound, you might also see:
- Black bears
- Sea lions
- Sea otters
- Bald eagles
Pozar Thermal Springs (Pieria, Greece)
The Pozar thermal springs are located north of the town of Edessa on mainland Greece, and they are surrounded by outstanding nature.
In these facilities you can find:
- Six indoor pools and a large outdoor pool
- Spa treatment services
Furthermore, the complex also offers private baths, which are ideal for treating multiple health conditions, such as:
- Muscle aches
- Back pain
What’s more, there’s also a waterfall and a cold stream nearby that really enhances the experience.
As for prices, here’s what to expect:
- Entrances to the pools along the river cost 2 €
- Spa treatments start at 15 €
- Private baths are ca. 40 €
Hotel and restaurant options are plentiful around Pozar. Hiking and skiing are also highly common – and recommended.
Dogo Onsen (Matsuyama, Japan)
In Japan, hot springs are called Onsen, and they have played a crucial role in local culture. There are several hot springs in Japan and Dogo Onsen is one of its oldest and most popular – it dates back to the 600 A.D.
Dogo Onsen is located to the east of central Matsuyama and it’s a public bath that could really immerse you in a traditional Japanese experience.
One of its main attractions is Dogo Onsen Honkan, a wooden public bathhouse built in 1894. Its interior is a maze of passageways, rooms, and stairways bustling with bathers. In fact, this place has served as an inspiration to numberless artists. For example, Hayao Miyazaki drew inspiration from Dogo Onsen for some scenes in the Japanese animation classic Spirited Away.
Prices go as follows:
- Guests may enjoy the public bathing area for 400 yen
- Guests may enjoy a cup of tea in the second-floor lounge after bathing for 800 yen
Orvis, Hot Springs (Colorado, USA)
Orvis Hot Springs is a clothing-optional oasis in southwestern Colorado. The facility has 10 lithium-infused pools, both indoors and outdoors, ranging in temperature from 65 to 114 degrees. This makes it an ideal place for alternating hot and cold dips.
Native Americans have long been attracted to these hot springs since they considered them a sacred healing spot. Nowadays, you can unwind there while enjoying the magnificent views of the San Juan Mountains. Additionally, this resort offers massages as well as camping and lodging facilities.
If you want to get there quickly, we suggest you drive southwest of Denver International Airport through Gunnison and Montrose. It’s about a 292-mile drive.
- The resort is open from 9 am to 9 pm and the soaking rates go as follows:
Adult, all day: $28 per person.
- Adult, One-Hour quick dip: $24 per person (you’ll be asked to prepay $28 and you’ll be refunded $4 at checkout).
- Children, 4-12 years old: $12 per child.
- Children, 3 & under: Free.
- Towel rental: $3 per towel.
You can check their massage, lodging room and camping rates on the facility’s official website.
The health benefits of hot springs are undeniable. If you’re looking for a way to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind, they are the perfect getaway.
Plus, you can find hot springs all over the world. So, no matter where you live, you probably won’t have to spend a fortune on plane tickets to get to a hot springs resort.
Want to get tested for COVID-19 before your next adventure? Find testing locations near you with our international directory.