New Zealand is famously blessed in terms of nature, with our rich array of natural hot springs being one of the most famous examples. Not only are these geothermal springs beautiful, they offer a range of proven health benefits to anyone who soaks in them.
A soak in a mineral spa pool has been proven to improve general health and happiness, enhance cardiovascular health, and soothe chronic skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis.
Opportunities to immerse yourself in these healing waters stretch from the top of the north island to the bottom of the south: from Coromandel’s Hot Water Beach, through Rotorua and the Taupō volcanic zone, to Hanmer Springs and down to Onsen Hot Pools near Queenstown.
Let’s take a closer look at mineral spa pools: what they are, the benefits they offer, and how you might be able to access all the perks of these pools without having to leave home.
What are mineral spa pools?
Mineral spa pools, also known as hot springs or geothermal pools, are pools of surface water warmed by the earth’s internal heat. Two processes can drive the warming of the water:
- The presence of hot molten rock near the surface.
- Water circulating through cracks and faults, travelling deep within the earth’s crust.
This interaction with the earth not only warms the water, it also infuses it with high concentrations of minerals such as iron, chloride, silica and sulphur (which gives these natural spa pools their rather distinct smell).
This combination of warmth and minerality gives mineral spa pools unique healing qualities, which were identified as far back as Ancient Greece and Rome. Māori also understood the soothing nature of mineral spa pools.
What are the health benefits of mineral spa pools?
While humans have known the healing powers of mineral pools for millennia, science has only begun to understand their specific secrets far more recently. Here’s what has been revealed.
Soothing skin conditions
The warm and mineral-rich waters of geothermal pools can help soothe chronic skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. It’s important to note that mineral spa pools don’t cure these conditions, but they can offer real relief from the often acute symptoms, such as dryness, itchiness, pain and irritation. Waters rich in silica and sulphur have proven to be particularly helpful.
When you sink into the warm waters of a mineral spa pool your body reacts in a few interesting ways. Your heart instantly increases the volume of blood it pumps, your blood vessels widen to allow that extra volume through, and this all means that more oxygen and minerals are delivered to key parts of your body. As a result, warm water immersion has been shown to promote better circulation, regulate blood pressure, increase cardiac output and even improve your metabolism.
Pain relief and mobility
The waters of a mineral spa pool can even offer pain relief. People living with chronic pain may find that soaking in a hot spring can ease their discomfort. This light analgesic effect, combined with the fact that buoyancy counteracts gravity, can make mineral spa pools hugely helpful for loosening the joints and muscles of the elderly, arthritis sufferers and anyone else with limited mobility.
General health and happiness
You slowly immerse yourself in the warm waters of a mineral spa pool, and you instantly feel a wave of relaxation and contentment. It’s not just you – science has identified a connection between bathing in naturally occurring geothermal springs and general health and happiness. Not only do mineral spa pools feel good for you, they are good for you!
How long should you soak in a mineral spa pool?
While it’s tempting to say forever – particularly if you don’t mind pruney fingers – there’s an important limiting factor to the length of your mineral spa pool soak: the temperature of the water.
Your body temperature naturally hovers around 37C. If you soak in water that’s above 37C – and many mineral spa pools are hotter – your body is unable to rid itself of excess heat. Sit in this water long enough and you can do real harm, so soakers should proceed with caution.
If the water is below 37C, a daily soak of 10-15 minutes is generally considered appropriate to enjoy all the health and wellness benefits that mineral spa pools offer.
The problem is that most Kiwis don’t have such easy access to geothermal springs… unless, that is, you just happen to have warm, bubbling, healing waters a couple of steps from your back door. Thanks to Hot Spring spa pools, you can turn this dream into reality.
A Hot Spring in your own backyard
Inspired by the healing geothermal pools that dot the country, Hot Spring spas have been designed to replicate – and in many ways enhance – the experience offered up by Mother Nature. Boasting a similar range of health and wellness benefits as geothermal pools, Hot Spring machines also offer up a wealth of added advantages:
- Ultimate comfort and control: Fitted with a precise thermostat, you can lock in a perfect – and perfectly safe – temperature, and lay back into contoured seating with a built-in pillow. You can also adjust jets, water quality, lights, sounds and more via an intuitive control panel in the side of the machine.
- Convenience: Why drive hours to a mineral spa pool only to battle crowds? Install a Hot Spring in your backyard and the experience will be perfectly private, and ready for you to enjoy at any time – as NZ’s most energy efficient spa pool, your machine is designed to be left on, and can be powered for as little as $1 a day!
- Hydromassage: Naturally occurring spa pools don’t come fitted with hydromassage jets. Hot Spring spa pools do. Enjoy a high-end, fully customisable hydromassage, delivered by powerful, purpose-built and strategically placed streams.
- Entertainment: In a Hot Spring you’re immersed in more than water: the glow of stunning lighting systems, the added ambience of fountains and water features, and the sights and sounds delivered by optional high-end entertainment systems allows you to create whatever atmosphere you like, from peaceful to party.
Sure, there’s something undeniably indulgent about soaking in a spa pool. But science shows that it can be great for your general health and wellness too. And thanks to Hot Spring, you won’t need to drive hours to sit in (often smelly) water – these perks can be placed right in your backyard.