Why I'd rather be in a hot spring

Written by  Kat Mackintosh

With average water temperatures pushing the 40-degree mark and fissues in the earth spewing steam and gassy bubbles, hot springs are the earth's natural jacuzzis. So why pay for a spa when you can spa for free while soaking up some of the great outdoors, as well as organic mineral salts, and at the same time proving wrong those people who think spa lovers are a bit soft. Free, hot, bubbling and not at all emasculating (some of them you even have to hike to…) I would certainly rather be steaming, eyes closed with only the hum of nature to serenade me.

There are two kinds of hot springs - “wild” springs and “developed” springs. Wild springs are just bubbling away in the wilderness waiting to be soaked in totally gratis, unaided by filtering devices or chemicals (be careful, the temperatures can be wild as well…) While developed springs have been, well, developed, which usually means a combination of temperature regulation, cleaning and made into an oft covered complex you may have to pay to use.

The Japanese in particular have embraced the hot spring. In places like Beppu steam drifts off parts of the landscape in graceful spirals like the volcanic terrain it is and stylish wooden veranda-ed lodges have been built so you can steam in all weather - even snow - when the springs are even more appealing. Some Japanese take it so seriously that they take their daily ablutions in the hot springs - and why just shower if you can soak in mineral rich, effervescent water? The ancient Greeks and Romans were fans as well - what do you think English town Bath is named after? So there’s a historic element to use in the hot spring vs. spa debate as well. But do you really need it? Outdoors in the fresh, humid air, your water heated in the most environmentally friendly way imaginable - by volcano - your body relaxing against the jets of bubbles, your money safe at home…I know where I’d rather be.

Hot Springs the World Over

Comments by other travellers

ok im the same opinion as you - could you give us a tip where to enjoy it in catalonia region? thanx Sabina

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