Content of the material
Geochemical Influences on Arsenic Speciation
As a result of low or absent potential adsorbents such as the ox(yhydrox)ides of iron, magnesium and aluminum (Table S1), dissolved arsenic can accumulate in Champagne Pool waters to high concentrations (Table 2). Arsenic speciation in Champagne Pool is influenced by changes in the physiochemical conditions along the hydraulic gradient from the inner pool (CPp) to the Artist's Palette (AP) (Table 1). Analysis of arsenic and sulfur speciation in the context of Eh-pH stability fields (Lu and Zhu, 2011) predicts a predominance of arsenite at all sites, consistent with the relative percentage of arsenite measured at CPp, CPr, and CPc (Figure 2). HPLC-ICPMS analyses, however, showed significant thioarsenate concentrations at all sites, and furthermore revealed an organic arsenic species, dimethylmonothioarsenate, present at CPc. These observations were not consistent with the arsenic speciation predicted from redox potential and pH. Thus, both geochemical and microbial community analyses are required to understand arsenic transformations in Champagne Pool.
Moor Hot Springs
Soft and smooth
Moor hot springs, which are recognizable by their amber color, acquire their heat from organic matter rather than from volcanic activity. The plant matter contained in the water gives the bather a smooth sensation while bathing, and leaves skin feeling soft and moist afterwards.
Hot Springs Health Benefits
Because of the unique nature of different hot springs, the exact mineral content of each one will vary to some degrees. Regardless of the differences, most Oregon hot springs contain over 13 different minerals: sulfur, silica, calcium, sodium, bicarbonate, boron, magnesium, selenium, potassium, bromine, fluorine, lithium, and iron.
Each of these minerals can have a direct effect on our health and well-being. Each mineral in hot springs has some function in the human body, some more essential than others. The human body can absorb these minerals in trace amounts through skin.
Minerals in the water are not the only benefit of hot springs. The heat itself can provide a positive effect on the body, especially in combination with a variety of minerals it has. The increase in body temperature causes an improving blood circulation helping to optimize body functions and overall rejuvenation. For example, improved circulation helps relieve the pain that is associated with muscle and joint problems.
A nice long soak in hot springs can also help you get a good night’s sleep. The process of raising your body temperature and then the rapid cooling causes a deeper, more restful night’s sleep.
We thank Waiotapu Wonderland and the Ngati Tahu Ngati Whaoa runanga for access to Champagne Pool, and ongoing logistical support for this project. We also thank Karen Houghton at GNS Science, New Zealand, for field support during sampling, and Michelle Bush at Southern Cross Geoscience, Australia, for elemental sulfur analyses. Funding for this project was provided in part by a Strategic Research Infrastructure Fund award and Dyason Fellowship to John W. Moreau from the University of Melbourne.
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While lodging was offered onsite of the hot springs, my companion and I opted to book a condo to ourselves in nearby Winter Park through Vacations Inc.
For a huge 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo with full kitchen, dining room, living room and two balconies — not to mention amenities like free coffee, a slew of board games, a DVD player with DVDs, tons of books, a fireplace and cable television on a big flatscreen — the cost was $172 total (although rates range from $115 to $397 throughout the year).
Snuggling up with some spiked hot cocoa near the fire and playing Scrabble was the perfect way to end our day in Grand County.
Our cozy condo. Photos courtesy of Jessica Festa.
Dosage and Preparation
There is no recommended daily allowance for sulfur. Most people consume enough sulfur in their diet to meet the body's needs. However, at least one study has suggested that sulfur intake may be insufficient in people over the age of 75.
There is no standard dose of sulfur supplements. Not enough is known about oral supplements to make such a recommendation. However, various topical doses have been used effectively and safely in research.
- Dandruff: Shampoos containing 2% sulfur and 2% salicylic acid have been shown to successfully treat dandruff when used twice a week for five weeks.
- Scabies: Studies show that ointments of 8% and 10% sulfur used for three successive days and three successive nights worked effectively against scabies.
Researchers continue to study how sulfur supplements can support good health, but much still isn't known about the safety and proper use of oral and topical treatments. In general, lotions and creams seem safe, but oral supplements may cause digestive upset, dizziness, and headache. There’s no standard recommended dosage for sulfur supplements, so talk to your doctor about what might be appropriate for your needs.
What to Look For
Sulfur is available for purchase online and sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements. You many see sulfur supplements in capsule form or sold as crystals to be used in the bath.
When looking for a sulfur supplement, you are likely to see many MSM products. MSM is a naturally occurring organic compound that contains sulfur. It is also sometimes called dimethyl sulfone, methyl sulfone, sulfonylbismethane, or crystalline dimethyl sulfoxide. MSM is also referred to as "organic sulfur."
The word "organic" is used to describe it because it is a carbon-containing molecule, not because it meets USDA standards for using the term in regards to farming, production, and sale of food.
Keep in mind that supplements are largely unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When choosing a supplement, always check the product label to see if it contains any other ingredients.
While it is illegal to market a dietary supplement product as a treatment or cure for a disease or to reduce symptoms of a disease, the FDA does not test products for safety or effectiveness.
When choosing a supplement, try to look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective. However, they do provide assurance that the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.
A Curative Experience
So what’s so great about hot springs aside for them being uber relaxing?
The waters are naturally filled with minerals — as in the resort doesn’t add a single chemical, nor do they filter or re-circulate the waters. Colorado’s Hot Sulfur Springs area is lucky enough to have seven natural springs flowing above a large fissure 35,00 feet below the Earth’s surface, that releases heat from volcanic rock.
These springs have been flowing non-stop for hundreds of years — the Ute Indians and their horses and dogs once bathed here — and stay at a temperature of 104 to 126 degrees Fahrenheit when they reach the surface.
Some minerals my companion and I had the fortune of introducing our bodies to, and their benefits, according to the resort:
- Sodium: Improves messaging functions to and from the brain, regulates heartbeat and blood pressure, and keeps you hydrated by helping the body retain water.
- Sulfate: Great for hair, nails and skin and also flushes toxins from the body.
- Chloride: Balances the body’s PH levels.
- Silica: Reduces aches and pains and helps the body maintain flexibility.
- Potassium: Assists organ and muscle function.
- Calcium: Strengthens bones and teeth.
- Fluoride: Strengthens teeth.
- Magnesium: Relaxes the muscles, increases energy and helps the body absorb minerals.
- There are also trace elements of iron, manganese and zinc for added health.
Beautiful views at Hot Sulfur Springs Resort & Spa
Peering out from an indoor hot spring
The water is also apparently drinkable, although the little white floaty pieces of concentrated mineral and the rotten egg sulfur smell will likely not make this option appetizing for you.
Instead, fill your own reusable water bottle with Colorado’s tasty tap water.
Scientifically Reproduced Yuzawari
When Bathclin studied Japan’s most famous hot springs, one of the elements it wanted to replicate was yuzawari. To do so, it didn’t just analyze ingredients; it sent its research staff to hot springs all over Japan, where they soaked and observed how the water made their skin feel. The goal was to create products with yuzawari that were as authentic as possible.
But there was more to it than simply enjoying hundreds of baths. First, Bathclin’s researchers had to memorize the various yuzawari. Then, by bathing over and over again, they learned how different concentrations of various ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate and sodium sulfate, made bath water feel.
Adding to the complexity of the research was the fact that people tend to experience yuzawari differently; some might perceive it most intensely on their wrists, while others feel it more strongly on their stomachs.
The technology required to reproduce yuzawari requires a mastery of the senses. Researchers, who must be able to recognize ingredients and their concentrations after the briefest of soaks, are nothing short of hot spring professionals.
At Bathclin, the craftsmanship of its hot spring researchers, combined with its scientific analysis and reproduction capabilities, have allowed it to produce bath products that replicate the yuzawari of Japan’s most famous hot springs.