Tips for first-time soakers
1. Ask the doc: If you’re elderly, pregnant or have medical conditions, check with your physician before you soak. Avoid the pools if you have open wounds. 2. Stay hydrated: The elevation of Colorado and physical exertion will dehydrate you, and hot water — plus perspiring — will do so further. Drink plenty of fresh water before, during and after a soak. Glass is generally prohibited around hot springs, but you can take water in a plastic or metal container. 3. Keep an eye on the clock: Fifteen-minute soaks are recommended, especially if you’re new at this and don’t know how your body will react. If you soak longer, take frequent breaks. It’s not unusual to feel tired after a soak, so factor in rest time afterward. 4. Know the rules before you go: At most of the hot springs, food, alcohol, tobacco and drugs and are prohibited. Generally, hot springs don’t allow dogs on the grounds. 5. Take appropriate attire: Unless otherwise stated as clothingoptional, wear a bathing suit and bring a towel; many spots have towel and/or robe rentals. Proper etiquette: Shower before you enter the water. 6. Be safe: Enter and exit the pools slowly to adjust to the change of temperature and avoid slipping. Keep in mind that smaller pools and soaking areas typically don’t have a lifeguard on duty. You may be asked to sign a liability waver. 7. Rules on children vary: Some hot springs don’t allow children at all; some require adult supervision; some require them to vacate the area after dark (which is usually code for clothing-optional at night). 8. Be prepared for discoloration and tarnishing: Natural mineral waters are rich in iron, so veteran soakers suggest wearing an old bathing suit and removing all jewelry before soaking.