Im­merse your­self in healthy living!

Bliss in a hot tub

Santa Fe New Mexican - Healthy Living - - FRONT PAGE - Story by Daniel Gibson Pho­tos by Kitty Leaken

Get­ting into hot wa­ter, hot nat­u­ral min­eral springs to be spe­cific, can be good for your health. In fact, a whole science, called bal­ne­ol­ogy, is ded­i­cated to the topic, and at this mo­ment, per­haps mil­lions of peo­ple around the world are say­ing “ah­h­hhh!” as they step into the cur­ing wa­ters.

“A gen­tle­man who suf­fers from arthri­tis vis­its here ev­ery two weeks, and he swears the wa­ter is what keeps him go­ing,” says Deb­bie Packard, manager of Je­mez Springs Bath House in Je­mez Springs. Kath­leen Langlois, spokesper­son for the Ojo Caliente Min­eral Springs, agrees, say­ing, “Knowl­edge of the cu­ra­tive pow­ers of min­eral wa­ters goes back to pre­his­toric times.”

Wendi Gelfound, Ojo’s mar­ket­ing direc­tor, adds, “Many guests claim to find re­lief from a va­ri­ety of skin con­di­tions, mus­cu­lar and skele­tal ail­ments. We’ve also had sev­eral guests say the ar­senic wa­ter pro­vides re­lief from their fi­bromyal­gia, arthri­tis, cramps in calves, swelling of their feet, sci­at­ica and pe­riph­eral neu­ri­tis.”

Nat­u­ral ther­mal springs carry highly con­cen­trated dis­solved min­er­als that have been leached from the earth it­self. Dur­ing a soak, the min­er­als are di­rectly ab­sorbed through the skin, go­ing straight to the blood­stream and by­pass­ing the di­ges­tive process.

Je­mez Bath House reg­u­larly tests its wa­ters, which have sig­nif­i­cant amounts of seven min­er­als, in­clud­ing sodium, which is present in a per­cent­age equiv­a­lent to that of sea­wa­ter. Salt soaks have been known to re­lieve symptoms of arthri­tis.

Je­mez wa­ters also have high lev­els of potas­sium, which nor­mal­izes heart rhythms, as­sists in re­duc­ing high blood pres­sure, elim­i­nates body tox­ins and pro­motes healthy skin; and mag­ne­sium, which helps main­tain nor­mal heart rhythms, con­verts blood sugar to en­ergy and nur­tures mus­cle tis­sue and hor­mones.

Je­mez Springs wa­ters also have con­cen­tra­tions of chlo­ride, which is be­lieved to have mus­cu­loskele­tal benefits; and iron, a build­ing block for blood that also in­creases re­sis­tance to stress and dis­ease, pre­vents

fa­tigue and pro­motes healthy skin tone. In ad­di­tion, the wa­ter of­fers up quan­ti­ties of man­ganese, which helps nour­ish nerves and the brain and is a cat­a­lyst in the break­down of fats and choles­terol; and sul­fate, an an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory that helps rid the body of tox­ins and pro­motes health of bone, hair, nails and flu­ids in joints and ver­te­bral discs.

The sul­fur-free wa­ters at Ojo Caliente carry dif­fer­ent min­er­als in dif­fer­ent pools, so one can tar­get spe­cific ail­ments or just pool hop to get a full range of benefits. There are springs with high lev­els of iron and springs with lithium to re­lieve de­pres­sion and aid di­ges­tion. Other springs have soda car­bon­ate to as­sist the di­ges­tive and ner­vous sys­tems and ar­senic for re­lief from arthri­tis, stom­ach ul­cers and skin con­di­tions.

Ojo also has a ther­a­peu­tic mud­ding area where guests can coat them­selves in spe­cial clay re­puted to re­move tox­ins and dead skin cells as it dries.

New Mex­ico’s many hot nat­u­ral min­eral springs range from the glitzy and posh to the rough and out­doorsy, with many per­fect for a day visit near Santa Fe:

Com­mer­cial bath­houses Ojo Caliente Min­eral Springs Re­sort & Spa

505-583-2233, www.ojospa.com In the town of Ojo Caliente, 50 miles north­west of Santa Fe via US 285/84 to Taos, then New Mex­ico 414 to Ojo Caliente Open daily. Reser­va­tions are rec­om­mended. Bathing suits re­quired.

Je­mez Springs Bath House

575829-3303 www.je­mezsprings.org/bath­house.html Lo­cated in Je­mez Springs, an 86-mile trip from Santa Fe via In­ter­state 25 South, US 550 north and New Mex­ico 4 East. Open daily. Cloth­ing op­tional.

Gig­gling Springs

575-829-9175, www.gig­glingsprings.com Lo­cated in Je­mez Springs. Bathing suits re­quired. Reser­va­tions strongly rec­om­mended.

Hot springs in the Je­mez Moun­tains

Be­cause of the pos­si­ble ex­is­tence of wa­ter-borne pathogens, it is sug­gested that you not in­gest any of the wa­ter in th­ese nat­u­ral springs or dunk your head.

For­est Ser­vice reg­u­la­tions call for bathing suits, but this is of­ten ig­nored. All of th­ese springs are free. Con­tact the Je­mez Ranger Dis­trict at 575-829-3065.

Spence Hot Springs

Lo­cated seven miles north of Je­mez Springs just off New Mex­ico 4, at mile­post 24.5, be­tween Dark Canyon and Rin­con day use ar­eas.

McCauley Warm Springs

Ac­ces­si­ble from ei­ther Bat­tle­ship Rock, five miles north of Je­mez Springs on New Mex­ico 4 at mile­post 23, or from Je­mez Falls Camp­ground.

San An­to­nio Hot Springs

This re­quires a 10-mile round trip hike to a se­ries of hill­side pools in San Diego Canyon near Je­mez Springs.

Is­abel Gibson re­laxes and soaks up the cu­ra­tive pow­ers of the San An­to­nio hot springs in the Je­mez Moun­tains.

Is­abel is a fan of the nat­u­ral spring pools at San An­to­nio, hand-built with rocks by ther­mal afi­ciona­dos.

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