We’re well into winter and the cold weather that comes with it. If you’re not into cold weather swimming despite its benefits, but still want to enjoy the water, try soaking in a natural hot spring instead. Natural hot springs can be great, as long as you use them safely. Do you know how to do that?
Check the Temperature First
Hot springs are called that for a reason: they’re hot. Some are far too hot to use safely, and temperatures can change quickly. You should always check the water temperature with a thermometer before you get in a natural hot spring. The hotter the water is, the less time you should spend in it. Staying in a hot spring for too long will raise your body temperature to unsafe levels, putting you at greater risk of developing heat stroke.
Make Sure You’re in Good Condition
You need to be relatively healthy to safely use a natural hot spring. While some people benefit from the blood pressure-lowering effects natural hot springs offer, the hot water can drop your blood pressure too low. That can send you into shock or even cardiac arrest. Stay safe by entering the hot spring slowly and gradually. Check your body for cuts or wounds before you get in and don’t use the hot spring if you have any. Broken skin is more susceptible to infection. If you are pregnant, don’t go in a hot spring even if you’re perfectly healthy. The water is too hot for you to be in without threatening your pregnancy.
Prevent Problems with Other Organisms
Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the warmth of natural hot springs. Other organisms like hot springs red spider mites and amoebae may also call natural hot springs their home. While red spider mite venom is easy enough for your body to neutralize, their bites can be painfully itchy. Reduce your risk by hanging your personal items away from the ground and using an anti-itch cream immediately after your soak. Amoebae can also be incredibly dangerous. Mitigate your risk by keeping your head and face out of the water and not disturbing the sediment.
Soaking in a natural hot spring can be highly beneficial. Spending time in a natural hot spring could help you reduce blood pressure, depression and anxiety, muscle tension, and stress. For all their benefits, you still have to be careful. Exercise an appropriate amount of caution when visiting a natural hot spring so you can enjoy the benefits while minimizing your risk of injury.
It’s not safe to use hot springs if you’re pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the water. Click here for SwimJim’s take on swimming while pregnant.