A Hot Spring, also called Hydrothermal Spring or Geothermal Spring, is a spring produced by naturally heated groundwater that emerges onto the surface of the Earth. Hot springs can be found in many places and locations, on all continents of the world.
There are some types of hot springs that periodically jet water and steam, which is then usually called a Geyser. Others flow with high speed, and again others gently surface the Earth.
The heat source of a hot spring may be volcanic magma or caused by circulation of groundwater through hot rocks deep in the Earth’s crust. Hot springs may contain dissolved minerals, iron, alkaline chloride, acid sulfate, or bicarbonate, among other elements.
Mind that bathing in (or being near) Hot springs may be dangerous for one’s health as for the chemical compositions or microbiota they contain, others should be avoided simply because they’re too hot.
Nevertheless, people have been using Hot springs for millennia, typically to bathe, to warm the body, to detoxify, to relax, or as medical therapy. Even the Japanese Macaques (also known as Snow Monkeys) make use of hot springs to protect themselves from the cold (see the lead image of this post).
Today, hot springs are popular around the world and used as a tourist destination, medical or spa destination, to wind-down, for rehabilitation purposes, or for people with disabilities.
As a medical or spa therapy, people who suffer from skin conditions, sleep disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, painful muscles and joints, stress and anxiety, poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, and/or ankylosing spondylitis seem to experience improvement of their symptoms.
Nonetheless, if you have any health conditions, it’s always advised to consult a professional healthcare provider to know if it’s safe to bathe in a hot spring. Another thing often overlooked is that it’s important to drink a lot before and after bathing sessions because hot springs tend to dehydrate one’s body significantly because of intense sweating.