Hot Springs for Health in France – la cure thermale

It can be very difficult to find information on the science behind the benefits of hot springs in English.  So I turned to France to get a sense of the proven medicinal benefits of springs.

Photo by Romaineolas (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The French health care system has included “thermal medicine” since 1947.  There is a national network of springs spas that provide services covered by the healthcare system, called CNETh.  Each spring has certain specialties, maybe rheumatism, psoriasis, or cardiac diseases.  There is a cancer recovery cure system of 11 or 12 days.  You can easily find a spa that will treat your particular ailment by using this central website.  Your doctor will prescribe the cure and when you attend the spa you will be supervised by a team of doctors and nurses who are trained in thermal medicine.

By Jeunamateur via Wikimedia Commons

About 73% of the prescribed cures in France are for rheumatoid diseases while 11% are for respiratory ailments.  Thermal cures are also used for digestive and skin ailments, psychological and developmental difficulties.  Although its use is fairly widespread, thermal medicine only represents about 0.14% of the overall health budget.

In 2004, the national association started a fund to support research into thermal medicine.  The results of these studies can be found here.  My favourite study was on generalized anxiety disorder, with the control group on a prescription for paroxitene.  After 8 weeks, there was a significant improvement for the springs group.

Here at Hot Springs Aficionado, we try to visit hot springs or spas at least once a month because we can feel a positive effect on our bodies and our minds.  We plan to share a lot more information about how hot springs affect us and how we can use hot springs to bring wellness to our busy modern lifestyle – follow us on social media or by email to learn more about hot springs and health.

As a teaser, here is a video of the pool Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to recover from bouts of polio so that he could continue serving as President of the United States.

 

 

Anne-Renée is a Hot Springs Aficionado!

My name is Anne-Renée and I joined this blog in February 2015. Lee approached me as we share the same love for well-being and relaxation. I am a former fitness competitor turned yogi on a quest to spiritual enlightenment through yoga, meditation practice and nature exploration. I have developed a curiosity and appreciation for spas, wellness retreats and hot springs. My goal is to discover and share my experiences and adventures through this blog.

I am a Hot Springs Aficionado.  Join me!

I am a Hot Springs Aficionado. Join me!

I am a public servant, working for the Government of Canada since 2006 and have been teaching yoga to my work colleagues on our lunch time for the past two years. This has allowed me to consolidate my professional career with a physical & mental health. For the past two years, I have noticed the benefits of yoga and meditation practice to address the high stress levels related to my professional career. I now have a great following and would like to extend this passion for well-being through sharing information on the benefits of spas, well-being retreats and hot springs.

As a highly sensitive person, I am well aware that stressful triggers can damage one’s health, by creating anxiety and eventually deteriorating one’s quality of living. Therefore my pursuit of finding healthy methods to ease tension comes naturally and is important to me. I believe there is a link between happiness and how we take care of our bodies mind and soul. The basics of achieving happiness are doing (a lot) what you love, by living in the present moment and by practicing gratitude.

My role is to inspire, motivate, bring positive thoughts, discover passions, guide you to be introspective, help you live in the present moment while laughing at this rollercoaster called life!  Let’s go hot tubbing’!!

Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Tecopa Hot Springs Campground

Tecopa Hot Springs Campground

Locals refer to these as the “county baths”. These baths are operated by the Tecopa Hot Springs Conservancy, whose members are working very hard to increase awareness and responsible use of the Amargosa River.  They have developed an excellent website for the Tecopa Hot Springs Campground that is full of useful information to help you plan your trip to Tecopa.  This is an excellent campground with fabulous views and great walking trails.  The campground even supplies GPS tracking systems for hikers, and all campsites have wifi.  I didn’t realize it then, but the new management had only been in place for about three weeks the day I was there and there are a lot of plans for the future.

The View from Tecopa Hot Springs Campground

The View

At the center of the campground are two large segregated bath houses, one for men and one for women. There are two pools inside, one with spring water flowing directly in for an average temperature of about 103 F, while the second pool is supplied with the overflow so it is a little cooler. The pools are enclosed in large but simple and freshly painted cinder block structures. The main pool doesn’t have a roof so you are more exposed to the elements here than in the other bath houses in Tecopa.

Once you enter the bath house, hang up your clothes then take a shower. After that, it’s only a few feet to enter the baths. The pools are very deep, about 4’, so you can easily get a full soak and float experience here. The pools have rounded gravel on the bottom and the open sky overhead gives you a sense of being truly outside – the walls are purely for modesty here. The walls are plain and functional, the pools are plain and functional, and the waters feel wonderful. You can float here for a long time, looking up to the evening stars.

The baths are open long hours and offer a pleasant place for socializing. The office keeps a small supply of drinks and snacks available. As always when heading for Tecopa, I recommend your bring your own water and wine and food. You’re only allowed to bring water into the baths, but for some reason if I had to choose a drink for here it would be a light green tea. That seems the perfect accompaniment to the warm healing waters and wide open spaces of Tecopa California.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

It’s the small moments that count

This evening I went to the gym, then to the sauna.  When I opened the door to the sauna, I was greeted with the gentle strains of spa music.  It was so inviting!

A young woman had brought her cell phone into the gym’s sauna, turned off her data roaming and had a playlist of spa music to listen to help her find that zen space.  In an instant, less than a second, she had completely changed my attitude towards phones in saunas!  Used correctly, technology can help us find peace.  Thank you, Natalya, for changing my perspective so quickly and so thoroughly!

It’s important to find those moments of zen in our too busy lives.  Look around you today to find those moments of peace and enjoy them.  Those moments are what make life worth living.  Peace out.

© Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, via Wikimedia Commons

Snowshoe & Soak – A Perfect Evening!

Snowshoe & Soak Under the Stars at Le Nordik

Snowshoe & Soak Under the Stars at Le Nordik

We had a good snowfall this weekend, about 8″ of fresh dry powder, and Tuesday was a beautiful clear day so I decided to take advantage of Le Nordik Spa-Nature’s Snowshoeing and Spa under the Stars.

It turned into an absolutely perfect evening!  I arrived at the Gatineau Park around 6 pm to pick up my snowshoes (included with the package).  There were two guided groups of about 10 people each, one in French, one in English.  We set out for an easy hour long snowshoe hike in the darkness lit by our headlamps.  It was a crisp dark evening, about -5, no wind, and a perfectly clear moonless sky.

Snowshoeing in the Gatineau Park

Snowshoeing in the Gatineau Park

Diane, our guide, led us on some packed trails and into some deep untouched powder, showed us animal tracks and talked a lot about animal behaviours in the Park.  I met a new friend, Cécile, who works at Le Nordik (how cool is that job?).  We took group selfies with snowshoes, and ended our hike with pink cheeks and smiles all around.

After we dropped off our snowshoes we headed around the corner to the baths at Le Nordik.  We headed straight for the hottest pool and relaxed and chatted for at least 30 minutes.  Then we headed to the lounge area for drinks and a light supper.  I had a trio of sandwiches and a champagne flute filled with pink bubbly and strawberries that looked so appealing I just asked for “one of those” and forgot to ask the name!  It was a perfect complement, cool, crisp and sweet – just like the evening.

Arriving at Le Nordik Spa-Nature

Arriving at Le Nordik Spa-Nature

We soaked in the large pools, then basked in the largest sauna until it was almost closing time.  We capped off the evening in the Infinity pool that overlooks the cities, naming the stars and trying to count the Pleiades. We talked about how soaks contribute to mental health, a balanced life and wellness.  All too soon the staff were making rounds for the last call.  We had closed the bar and closed the baths – it was a truly excellent evening of “snowshoeing under the stars”.

A Magical Atmosphere

A Magical Atmosphere

Every Tuesday evening until March 10th is a snowshoe, soak and stars evening at Le Nordik, so it’s easy to book your own perfect Canadian winter adventure or add an evening in this magical atmosphere to your work week.  Just click here to head for the trails and the baths!

A Top Ten List of Top Ten Lists

Especially with the New Year, it seems that everyone is putting out Top Ten lists! Rather than try to make another Top Ten list, I thought I would bring you a hundred ideas! So here we are, with my Top Ten list of Top Ten lists, offering you a hundred hot springs and spa vacations. Enjoy! (Yes, some of them have more than ten – bonus!)

1. Famous & Funky: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/worlds-coolest-hot-springs
2. Undiscovered and Undeveloped: http://news.distractify.com/travel/the-waters-fine/
3. Luxury resorts: http://www.luxurytravelmagazine.com/worlds-best/hot-springs-resorts.php
4. Frommer’s always a little different: http://www.frommers.com/slideshows/817975-the-world-s-best-hot-springs#slide840737
5. On the upscale side: http://blog.spafinder.ca/readers-choice-awards-bes-spas-mineral-thermal-springs/
6. On the budget side: http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/12-hot-springs-worth-traveling-for,8261/
7. A good compendium: http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/healing-hot-springs-and-thermal-baths-where-to-take-a-soak-around-the-world
8. For general wellness: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/wellness-and-renewal/photos/hot-springs-around-the-world
9. Pin it! http://www.pinterest.com/smithstorian/world-s-best-hot-springs/
10. Some that aren’t on any other list: http://www.mensjournal.com/expert-advice/the-best-hot-springs-in-america-20140210/most-scenic

Pamukkale, By Antoine Taveneaux (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re interested, the most recurring ones seem to be:
– Blue Lagoon, Iceland http://www.bluelagoon.com/
– Pammukale, Turkey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamukkale
– Banff, Canada http://www.hotsprings.ca/
– Ma’in, Jordan http://www.sixsenses.com/evason-resorts/ma-in/destination