Hot Springs

Hot springs . Mineral waters that leave the ground 5 ° C or more than the surface temperature. These waters come from underground layers of the earth that are at a higher temperature, which are rich in different mineral components and allow their use in therapeutics such as baths, inhalations, irrigations, and heating.

They are generally found along fault lines, since groundwater can enter that warms up when reaching a certain depth and then rises as vapor (which can condense upon reaching the surface, forming a geyser ) or of hot water.


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  • 1 Historical Review
  • 2 Features
    • 1 Temperature
    • 2 Classification of waters according to their dry waste
  • 3 Effects of hot springs on the human body
    • 1 Benefits
    • 2 General recommendations for the use of hot springs
  • 4 Distribution in the world
  • 5 Curiosities
  • 6 Sources

Historical review

Since ancient times, ancient civilizations used the bathroom as a therapeutic measure or as an instance to socialize. The oldest finds of buildings dedicated to this purpose date from before 2000 BCE in India .

There is also mention of them in different Greek texts like the Iliad of Homer . In Ancient Rome and Greece , bathing was considered a ritual. The first records of the use of hot water in the “hot springs” are from the end of the 5th century ANE

The bath was seen as a social event, this led to the appearance of different types of “hot springs” and among them the “therapeutic hot springs” or thermal water spas, which also had a strong symbolic-sacred meaning.

It is described in the literature that the most famous public baths built in Rome were those of Caracalla and Diocletian .


There are two types of hot springs according to their geological origin, magmatic and telluric. The type of terrain from which they appear is one of the main differences between the two: magmatic waters are born from metallic or eruptive seams, while telluric waters can appear anywhere.

The temperature of magmatic waters is higher than that of telluric. The former generally have temperatures above 50 ºC, while those of telluric origin rarely do so. On the other hand, thanks to the fact that telluric waters are filtered, they have less mineralization than magmatic ones.

The elements most commonly found in magmatic waters are Arsenic , Boron , Bromine , Copper , Phosphorus and Nitrogen . Telluric waters generally have bicarbonates, chlorides, lime salts and others.

An important characteristic of hot springs is that they are ionized. There are two types of Ions , positive and negative. Contrary to its name, positives do not bring benefits to the human body, and on the contrary, they are irritating. Instead, negative ions have the ability to relax the body. The hot springs are loaded with negative ions.




  • Cold waters (less than 20 ° C)
  • Hypothermal waters (20-35 ° C)
  • Mesothermal waters (35-45 ° C)
  • Hyperthermal waters (45-100 ° C)
  • Super thermal waters (100-150 ° C)

Classification of waters according to their dry waste

  • Minerals From 1 to 1.5 gr / L
  • Mineral medium From 0.2 to 1.0 gr / L
  • Oligo minerals Less than 0.2 gr / L

Effects of hot springs on the human body

The mineralized and hot water from the “hot springs” has different effects on the human body . Some authors divide them into three, biological, physical and chemical , although in reality they all act at the same time.

Bathing in hot springs increases the temperature of the body, killing germs, including viruses , it also increases the hydrostatic pressure of the body, thereby increasing blood circulation and oxygenation. This rise in temperature helps dissolve and remove toxins from the body.

By increasing oxygenation, bathing in hot springs improves the nutrition of the body’s tissues in general, which is why it increases metabolism , stimulating at the same time the secretions of the digestive tract and liver , thus helping digestion.

Repeated bathing (especially in periods of 3 to 4 weeks) can help normalize the functions of the endocrine glands , as well as the general functioning of the autonomic nervous system of the body. There is also an improvement and stimulation of the immune system, mental relaxation, endorphin production and regulation of glandular functions. Many of these effects are due to the body’s consumption of minerals such as Carbon Dioxide , Sulfur , Calcium, and Magnesium .

There are skin diseases that can be markedly improved by bathing in hot springs (especially if they contain sulfur). Diseases that benefit most are psoriasis, dermatitis and diseases by fungi . Sometimes they also help to heal wounds and other skin lesions. Sometimes this action is attributed to “sulfobacteria” (an organism isolated by the “International Society of Hydrological Medicine”, to explain the effects of the “intangible elements” of hot springs.


The chronic diseases that benefit from the use of balneotherapy, according to research by Dr. Yuko Agishi are:

  • Chronic rheumatic diseases
  • Functional recovery from central and peripheral neuropathy
  • Some metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and gout
  • Chronic gastrointestinal problems
  • Mild respiratory diseases
  • Circulation problems
  • Chronic skin diseases
  • Stress-related and other psychosomatic illnesses
  • Aftermath of trauma
  • Chronic gynecological diseases.

General recommendations for the use of hot springs

  • Consult your doctor before using thermal water therapy in case of pregnancy or any illness.
  • Avoid bathing only in hot springs, older adults should use them with caution.
  • Avoid the bathroom if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs .
  • be extremely careful if you are taking medications for heart disease.
  • Avoid overheating, stay well hydrated and if you suffer from contagious skin conditions, use private pools.

Distribution in the world

Practically any country can present thermal waters within its limits. Some important locations are in volcanic areas of New Zealand , Mexico , Iceland , Japan , Colombia , Bolivia , Chile , Peru , Yellowstone National Park in the United States and in Coamo in Puerto Rico . There are also hot springs in the north of Uruguay , in the departments of Artigas, Salto and Paysandú, and in Venezuela near Tabay in the state of Mérida and in Trincheras in the state of Carabodo. InThe most important ones in Argentina are in the province of Entre Ríos, in the city of Termas de Río Hondo (province of Santiago del Estero), and in Copahue, (province of Neuquén). In the north of Peru, in the district of Curgos, there are large springs of hot, sulfurous and ferrous waters with many healing properties, especially for rheumatism, located in El Edén, Yanasara and Churin. In Spain , among many other places, the sources of Las Burgas, in the city of Orense; in Cuba there is the Menendez Spa in the Martí Municipality in the Matanzas province with an important agglomeration of wells with different characteristics.


Many places around the world have names related to this geological feature, some of them are:

  • Baños del Inca district, city and province of Cajamarca in Cajamarca Region, Peru
  • Aguascalientes, state, municipality and city, in Mexico
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the United States (hot spring)
  • Las Máquinas, in Neuquén province, Argentina
  • Oymyakon, in Siberia, Russia (water that does not freeze)
  • Puruándiro, (in Purépecha place of hot springs) municipality and city of Michoacán, in Mexico
  • Thermopolis, Wyoming, also in USA (hot city)
  • Tbilisi, Georgia, (hot spot) ¨
  • Karlovy Vary, in the Czech Republic, “the spa of Carlos”.
  • Wiesbaden, capital of the state of Hesse, Germany (Prairie Baths)
  • Bath, England’s spa town (Baths)


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