Studies of our forefathers’ lifestyle shed light into some habits that we can adopt for our own gain. Historians and scientists, for example, have succeeded in connecting some dots between mineral hot springs and good health. This has led to the development of balneology that is a study of the therapeutic effects of bathing in mineral springs.
Man’s relationship with natural hot springs goes back millennia when it was as simple as plunging into a pool of steaming water for bathing, relaxation, or other reasons. Everyone from the early Romans, ancient Japanese to the Native Americans scrambled for some water from hot springs because they believed that they held mystical healing and spiritual powers. This belief made mineral hot springs so popular and revered in some parts that they became preserved for use by chiefs and their noblemen. In Japan, samurai and merchants would never be seen bathing in the same pool.
Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks made special pools for bathing both communally and privately. The Aegean people designed special bathtubs for personal cleanliness and specified that some natural pools were blessed by the gods to provide healing. The Romans really valued bathing as a social activity which is why they built complex baths to support their pastime. Water was heated in large log fires and fed into the public baths through channels so that people could immerse themselves and chat away. To these communities, bathing was not simply a process of cleaning up but an elaborate ritual involving undressing, massage, sweating, and socialization.
In Europe and Japan, historians note that people visited mineral hot springs or 'onsen’ with ritualistic dedication not only for relaxation but to also for diseases healing. Japan has a great number of hot springs that have been in existence for millions of years, and it is, therefore, obvious why they are etched in their culture. Members of the community wasted no time diving into the hot waters for their curative powers. Missionaries from the west were appalled by the sights of people lying naked in pools of hot water soaking in the thermal springs.
Native Americans were not left out either as they had their own relationships with the hot water that magically came out of the ground. Legend has it that the Ute Indians were once plagued by an ailment that local healers were unable to cure. However after drinking and bathing in the waters of a pool in the San Juan River they were healed. This is an interesting tale that goes on to prove that the hot springs of our world do have healing powers.