11 Benefits of Soaking in Iron Mountain Hot Springs

Hot Springs and Thermal Spas

Natural hot springs, also called thermal springs, have been used for healing and wellness for centuries. The Romans built towns around them, British aristocrats flocked to them during the Georgian era, and wellness fans seek them out today.

Here are some reasons why hot spring spas are good for you, and why you should put one on your travel itinerary.

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Safety Tips For Preventing Negative Effects And Accidents Of Bathing

I talked about the positive benefits of bathing in hot springs, it can lead to life-threatening accidents if you don’t know the negative sides.

To enjoy hot springs and a hot bath at home, learn the proper bath tips below.

Check Your Symptoms

The efficacy of natural hot springs has a positive effect on health as you read, but if you are not in the best condition, the Onsen effect can work negatively.

If you have any of the following symptoms, refrain from using hot springs until you are completely cured.

  • Fever
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Severe heart disease or kidney disease
  • Severe diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Early and late pregnancy, nursing, predisposition to bleeding, menstruation
  • Sensitive skin or severe skin conditions
  • Over 50 and have abnormal or anxious blood pressure or heart.
  • Elderly people and those with dry skin, avoid bathing in sulfur springs or hydrogen sulfide springs

*sulfur springs generally smell like rotten eggs and the color is emerald green or milky white. Famous sulfur springs in Japan are Takayu Onsen, Manza Onsen, Tsukioka Onsen. (Wikipedia).

Before And After Meals

When you are hungry, the blood sugar level is lower than normal conditions.

Bathing is consumed energy more than you think, it can cause hypoglycemia.

Eat something light in advance.

But, you should avoid soaking in the hot tub right after a meal. Improved blood circulation due to the bathing effect impacts gastrointestinal blood circulation negatively and stops gastric juice secretion and gastrointestinal motility.

It is the one of reasons you should wait for bathing after you drink alcoholic beverages.

Therefore, you should avoid bathing under hunger, eat snacks. But wait for at least 1 hour after a heavy meal and drinking alcohol.

The Importance Of “Ka Ke Yu”; Adjust Your Body To The Water Temperature

“Kakeyu”(かけ湯) literally means rinse the body scooping the water in the bathtub with a tiny bucket before entering a hot bath.

I talk about Kakeyu in a good manner (as cleaning your body) on this page,  but also it is an important tip to adjust the body to the temperature of hot spring.

Kake-yu is an important ritual to let the body adjusts the water temperature before soaking in the hot water. If you take a bath without Kake-yu, your blood pressure will rise suddenly. Especially for those who usually have high blood pressure, diabetics, and weakened blood vessels, this is a very dangerous habit at leads to cerebral hemorrhage.

When doing Kake-yu, be sure to rinse from your feet. Rinsing your shoulders at first burdens your heart which can cause paralysis. At public hot springs, doing Kake-yu with a sit position, not standing to avoid splashing the water to other people.

At home, you can use the shower.From the limbs to the upper body, go for 30 seconds or more with hot water at 41 ° C.

Use A Half-Body Bath Method

Recently, the half-body bathing method is recognized as healthy bathing especially for older people, those who are worried about their health, and those who are pregnant, because it has less burden on the heart and can suppress sudden fluctuations in blood pressure.

Besides, the half-body bath promotes metabolism and detox.

At hot springs in Japan, there is commonly a step inside of tubs. At first, sit on the step and bathe the half-body (up to the under chest) for 2-3 minutes and adjust your body to the water temperature.

If there is no step, step into the water thoughtfully and soak the half-body slowly. You can do the same steps at home.

Then, step forward into the water- put your head on the edges and stretch your limbs, your body will float. This floating position is suitable for relieving water pressure and is more relaxing than soaking your body vertically in the bathtub.

Avoid Taking A Bath For A Long Time

When you are cozy in the hot tub, it is likely to take a bath for a long period, but which can cause fatigue, dry skin, and bathing accidents in the worst case.

Repeat going in and out the tub, rather than bathing for a long period at once.

If you are a beginner at bathing in a hot spring or at home, enjoy bathing for 5 – 10 minutes in the first couple of times then take a bath for 30 minutes or less- avoid taking a bath for 30 minutes over.

The hot water around 109 F (42℃) and higher is not recommended for the purpose of relaxation and relief pain and tension. If the water temperature is quite high at around 109 F (42℃), complete to bath for 10 minutes max.

Putting A Cold Towel On The Head

Put a folded cold towel on the head to prevent dizziness caused by a hot flush.

When staying Ryokan or accommodations with hot springs, you will be provided a long thin cotton towel called “Tenugui”, put it on your head while bathing in the tub.

*Anyway, you will have trouble with finding a place to put a towel in a public hot spring in Japan, and also it is taboo that soak the towel in the bathtub. So you have no choice but to put it on the head.

While taking a bath, a pressure called “hydrostatic pressure” is applied to the body. Surprisingly, it’s a strong pressure, and it makes systemic blood concentrate to the head. It can cause a hot flash and lead to the feeling of dizziness in the worst case.

The cold wet towel on your head solves this worry! Place a wet towel to prevent a hot flash in the hot spring.

It is a similar logic that you may feel dizzy when getting out of the tub. This is because the lower body is released from hydrostatic pressure and blood that concentrated in the head flows rapidly to the feet. You feel dizzy because the blood flow in the head decreases at once.

Keeping your head lower is a good way to get out of the bathtub. After bathing, apply cold water to your legs under the knees to constrict blood vessels throughout the body and prevent dizziness. People with high blood pressure should not do this, as this tip raises blood pressure.

Enjoy Open-Air Hot Springs After Indoor Hot Springs

If Ryokan you staying have open-air hot springs and indoor hot springs, take the indoor bath first.The most important thing to keep in mind when taking a bath is to suddenly take a hot bath while your body is cold.Blood pressure rises rapidly – risks of stroke, myocardial infarction.

Please keep in mind, “If you have an indoor bath and an open-air bath, go to the indoor bath first.”

When you take an open-air bath, put a warm towel on your head instead of a cold towel. The lower body is warm but the shoulders and head are cold, resulting in poor blood flow in the head, which can lead to cerebral anemia and a rapid rise in blood pressure.

If you have a headache, you should finish the bath! To prevent these accidents, put a warm wet towel on your head to dilate the blood vessels. It is also effective to take a shower from the head before taking a bath.

*Again, soaking own towel in a public bath is taboo in Japan. Wet a towel outside of the tub.

Take A Enough Rest To Bath After Activities and Drinking Alcohol

During exercise, blood concentrates on the moving muscles to supply oxygen, and works to expel lactic acid(a waste substance) quickly. If you take a bath right after exercise, blood will be dispersed throughout the body and the metabolism of motor muscles will be insufficient. It will also increase the burden on the heart while taking a bath.

After exercising, take a rest for 30 minutes or more after the respiratory rate and heart rate are stable.

When you drink alcohol and take a bath, the blood circulation in the body increase but the blood flow in the head decreases, which can cause cerebral anemia. Also, there are risks of arrhythmias and a heart attack as increasing heart rate.

It is even more dangerous if you are drunk because the bathroom is slippery and there is a risk of accidents such as falls and even drowning.

Not only you shouldn’t drink in the tub while bathing but also take a rest for 1-2 hours before bathing when you have drinks.

Choose Right Hot Spring Water For Skin

The Onsen effect helps to heal and improve skin conditions.

As I mentioned, Japanese hot springs are categorized into 10 types by water properties (includes Ph level) and their effects.

In the Japanese hot spring association’s mandatory, the “Ph” measurement display must be indicated- acidity and alkalinity. If you have sensitive skin and severely dry skin, or skin disease, you should know the type of hot springs when choosing hot springs and also herbal bath salt products.

The Best Native Guide of Hot Springs In Japan; 10 Different Types Of Hot Spring WaterExcited to visit hot springs, Onsen, in Japan? Wait a minute! If you don’t know the types of hot spring water, you may have negative effects from natural minerals. Especially, if you have sensitive skin and chronic disease, you need to know pH levels of hot springs water. To enjoy the best hot spring for you, read here and learn about 10 different types of Onsen in Japan.japanmcconnell.com

Do Not Rinse The Body, However…

Minerals dissolved in the hot spring water become a positive barrier for your skin, it is generally recommended to not rinse after bathing, however, rinse enough if you have sensitive skin, dry skin, and skin diseases.

Also, rinse the body well after taking a bath in water that has strong acidity and alkalinity.

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