Alternative Wellness: Mineral water therapy
WorldSprings at Iron Mountain Hot Springs replicates famous hot springs found around the globe
Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily’s Tricia Swenson searched the valley for alternative wellness modalities that are lesser-known and have proven benefits. Follow this series and take steps to improve your well being and see which offerings work for you.
Benefits of natural mineral water have been documented as far back as the Old Testament. Greek physician Herodotus recommended treating illnesses by soaking in mineral springs, which was called balneotherapy. Hippocrates was also fascinated by the qualities of minerals in the water and its healing properties.
Colorado is famous for its hot springs. In fact, the word springs is in the name of many cities and towns across the state: Pagosa Springs, Colorado Springs, Steamboat Springs, Idaho Springs, Glenwood Springs and more. Glenwood Springs had many famous people come to its natural hot springs for its healing properties. From the Ute tribe to President Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill Cody, Molly Brown and Doc Holiday, the hot springs lured people to the water then and now.
Natural mineral springs are known to help revitalize the skin, detoxify the body, calm the nervous system and refresh oxygen levels. It can also help with ailments like circulatory diseases, respiratory illnesses like asthma, skin conditions, fibromyalgia, arthritis and depression.
Many countries around the world have travelers who come specifically for the properties found in its hot springs. Now, you don’t have to hop on a plane and get your passport stamped to enjoy some of the world’s most famous thermal pools, you can come to WorldSprings at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs.
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Iron Mountain Hot Springs opened in 2015 and in addition to its many geothermal pools, it now has a whole new section featuring around a dozen pools that have formulas, or recipes if you will, that mimic the minerals found in some of the world’s most famous hot springs.
“What makes WorldSprings special is the ability to bring a soaking experience from around the world to a central location. We opened up WorldSprings in May but we have been working on the formulations for each pool for about two years now,” said Landon Langer, the maintenance manager at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
The reason it took a while to get the formulations is because it required a lot of research and development.
“It is much more involved than one would think. We worked with a medical doctor as well as a chemist to ensure that we are getting the correct amounts and correct minerals that are as close to the source water as possible,” Langer said. “Then, I have sourced these minerals from around the world to ensure they are coming from that area, too. Each body of water is different, so each of our formulas has to be unique. The contents of each pool at WorldSprings varies.”
Here’s a list of the hot springs featured at WorldSprings and the country is it located in and the minerals each contains:
- Blue Lagoon, Iceland: silica, potassium and boron
- Vichy, France: bicarbonate, silica, sodium
- Hokkaido, Japan: sodium, sulphur and bicarbonate
- Fuentes Georgina, Guatemala: magnesium, potassium and bicarbonate
- Kirsehir, Turkey: bicarbonate, sulphate and calcium
- Baile Tusnad, Romania: iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium
- Yarrangobilly, Australia: bicarbonate, sodium and magnesium
- Grutas Tolantongo, Mexico: bicarbonate, chloride and sodium
- The Dead Sea, Israel: sodium, magnesium and calcium
- Soda Springs, New Zealand: iron and manganese
- Chiancianco Therme, Italy: sodium, chloride, sulfate and bicarbonate
- Yangyang, South Korea: primary mineral is bicarbonate
Magnesium is known to maintain muscle tissue, potassium helps eliminate toxins and bicarbonate supports good skin health. Sodium, sulphur and bicarbonate and are known to improve several health issues including nerve damage, muscle cramps, joint pain and skin irritations.
In addition to the hot springs, there is a cold plunge pool at WorldSprings at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Immersing your body in cold water, or going back and forth between warm water and cold water has been a practice used for centuries and it’s trending today with athletes and social media influencers documenting their body’s reaction to the chilly waters on Instagram and other platforms. The cold plunge is meant to reduce muscle soreness, inflammation and stress.
“When used regularly, it may also strengthen the immune system and promote overall well-being by encouraging the release of endorphins and improving stress resilience,” Langer said. The cold plunge pool at WorldSprings is kept at 55 degrees.
The team at WorldSprings has a bank of about 20 different formulas that they can rotate through and let guests travel to a whole new hot spring, so the list may change from time to time.
“Right now, people are loving the Yarrangobilly pool from Australia. People absolutely love Blue Lagoon from Iceland and the one from Vichy, France, as well. We also utilized one of our larger, freshwater pools and that is now the Dead Sea pool so it’s big enough for people to try floating in it,” Langer said.
Although the WorldSprings at Iron Mountain Hot Springs can be viewed as a tourist attraction, there are many people who buy the pass and go back often for the therapeutic benefits.
“Some people are here every single day. We have our regulars who come in and they just can’t get enough of it. It’s all about what you and your body can handle and how it makes you feel,” Langer said.
The WorldSprings experience is an upgrade for those 21 years of age and older that gives you access to the regular Iron Mountain Hot Springs pools plus the special formulations in the world-famous pools. Reservations can be made at IronMountainHotSprings.com.