Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Insight to Hot Springs

Since I am a novice to soaks in hot springs, I decided to do a little research on the topic. Yeah, you may find this to be a mite obsessive but it's basically for my own interest since I did do a fair bit of soaking. Found this useful book entitled "极美。美食 美丽台湾进行式 6 :温泉汤" on recommended hot springs in Taiwan.

Here are some of the things I have learnt:

  • The Proper Methods of Soaking in Hot Springs
  • Safety Related Issues of Hot Springs
  • Types of Hot Springs and their purported properties
  •  What are the things you should look out for/ask in a Hot Springs Facility
  • A list of Hot Springs that caught my interest

The Proper Methods of Soaking in Hot Springs

Preparation work:

Use hotsprings water or warm to drench/shower your body. For people with heart conditions, they should start soaking from the areas further away from their heart: the fingertips, toes and slowly let the heat buildup from these areas. There must be ample time to shower to avoid overstimulation on your heart.. During Showering to maintain pool cleanliness, you must carefully wash your lower body and folds. Remove all traces of makeup. After washing your face, wash your shoulders. When entering the pool, start from the region that is coolest in temperature, one foot entering the water slowly.  When entering the pool, don't bend your body or enter in a crouching position as this will cause stress on your blood vessels and reduce the health effects of soaking in hotsprings. To maintain personal hygiene and avoid picking up a nasty disease from the hotsprings, after a soak, bath thouroughly. People with fungal infections should not soak overly long so as not to bring up a rash of infections later on after a soak and always take note of the signals from your body, if there is any signs of discomfort.


Safety Related Issues of Hot Springs

Q: Who are not suited to soak in hot springs? A:Soaking in hotsprings for extended periods of time, being of higher than body temperature, will cause blood vessels to expand. It is not suitable for people with heart diseases: clogged arteries, high blood pressure as well as people with injuries near the skin surface, diabetes, maligant tumours, acute arthritis. People with skin diseases and eye infections should also avoid these places to prevent spreading of the disease to other users. Q: What are the situations unfavourable to soaking? A: There is a wrong perception out there that soaking in hot springs will help to relieve stress and tiredness when in actual fact, a tired body isn't favourable for soaking. Other situations when you should avoid hot springs includes: not soaking 1 hour before food and 2 hours after food, drinking alcohol, medications, surgery,menstration,overtaxed brain,lack of sleep and insomnia as well as sexual congress and recovery after a recent illness. Q: Can pregnant women soak in hot springs? A:Except for the early stages and late stages of pregnancies, hot springs can help reduce the pressures of carrying an increased body weight and relax the body and mind for the women, aid blood circulation and pains. However they should be acccompanied by other people and should not soak for more than 10 minutes each time before leaving the pool.  They should be well hydrated and maintain the electrolytic balance in their body. At the same time they should watch out for any signs of discomfort. Q: What is a healthy temperature for hot springs? A: Recommended 40-42 deg. celcius. Due to varying body conditions, it is best to slowly soak your body starting from the toes then the legs to allow time for your body to acclimate to the temperature changes before immersing yourself in the hot springs. Q: What should elderlies and children watch out for? A: Children above 3 years and elderlies above 60 years can soak but they should be careful as young children have underdeveloped nerve endings and the elders have deteriorated nerve sensation. They are not that alert to heat changes and might scald themselves unknowingly. They should be accompanied at all times and best to fins a location that is well ventilated and safe environ where they will not slip and fall whether due to weakness in body or by accident. Q: Is water theraphy safe? A: You might see different facilities consisting of jets of water with various pressures in water theraphy. However, if usage of water pressure is wrong or the place used on is wrong, you might inadvertlt cause yourself injury. Ladies should not direct the jets at their abdomen and lower body parts especially during menses. The water pressure of the jets might cause injury to your fallopian tubes. Q: How to avoid hotspring transmitted diseases? A: All natural springwaters have the presence of microorganisms and bacteria. Especially at 40 deg celcius which is the optimum temperature of growth for many organisms. If your body is stressed, ill, or weak, it is best to avoid the hot springs. Also, you should not soak your face or let water get into your mouth or nose especially during peak periods where there are many people using the pool.


Types of Hot Springs and their purported properties


There are 6 common types of Hot Springs and a few minor types in Taiwan, namely the:

  1. Sodium Carbonate Springs 碳酸泉

    Appearance: Water is clear, odourless and colourless. Properties: Whitening/Beutification of skin,alleviate rheumatism, skin conditions, women's sickness,ulcers?,overproduction of stomach acid and foot odour, banish tiredness and aid digestion and the digestive tract. Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings: Yilan SuAo, MiaoliTai-An, Wulai, Nantou Lvshan, Kaoshiong Bulao, Tai-dong Zhiben anf Taidong HongYe.

  2. Sodium Hydrogencarbonate Springs 碳酸氢钠泉

    Appearance:Clear and odourless: no pungent smell Properties: Cleanse the skin and prevent signs of aging. Aid metabolism of skin tissues, lower blood sugar. The steam from these springs is relaxing to those with Bronchitis and asthsma, oversentisized nose and respiratory system. Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings: Wulai, Beitou DongPu, Yilan JiaoXi, Tai-dong Zhiben.

  3. Salt Springs 盐泉

    Appearance: Contains salts so water is slightly salty and has excellent capacity in retaining heat. Properties: Strengthen bones and flesh. Increases metabolism, reduces blood sugar. Good for rhematism and chilibans, women's sickness, anemia, diabetes and hips pain?? zhou4gu3shen2jing1tong4. Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings: Tainan GuanZiLing

  4. Sulphur Springs 硫磺泉

    Appearance: Water is milk white, rotten eggs smell. not suitable for deep inhalation. Properties: Improves blood circualtion,chronic rhematism/ arthristis, anemia, chronic heartbloodvessel disease?! and hips pain?? zhou4gu3shen2jing1tong4 Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings: Yangmingshan, Beitou, KaoShiung Baolai, Hualien An-tong.

  5. Ferrous Springs 鐵泉,

    Appearance: Properties: Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings

  6. Simple Springs?? 单纯泉,

    Appearance: Odourless, colourless water, contains minute traces of minerals present in hotsprings. Mild and therefore suitable for elders and yound children Properties: aid blood circulation, suppress infections, speed up skin surface cell repair and pain relief. Relaxing for people that had stroke, nerve pain, brain aneurysm. Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings: Taipei Jinshan

  7. Cold Sodium Carbonate Springs 低温碳酸泉/,

    Appearance: Odourless, Colourless and clear water. Can be drunk or bathed in. Contains natural gas bubbles. Properties: Alleviates over production of stomach acid, lower abdomen fill bloated with blood, chronic bronchitis, gallstones, kidney stones, diabetes, painwind? insect bites Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings

  8. Deep Sea Mineral Salt Springs 海底温泉,

    Appearance: Heated seawater released from the grounds under deep sealevel. Contains strong salt content. Only 3 places around the world has this type of hot springs: Italy, Japan and Taiwan's Lvdao which is a sulphur spring too. Properties: treats Rheumatism Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings: Lvdao

  9. Mud Springs (Spring water contains alkaine and iodine, is salty and has a light sulfuric smell) 泥巴濁泉(鹼性含碘及溴弱食鹽水)

    Appearance: Properties: Representative Areas for this type of hotsprings

Honestly, I think items 3 and 6 are rather vague. But what the heck, it is listed on the book so here is it! Item 9 was collated from online sources since it sounds plausible and the book did introduce some spas that have it although I haven't the faintest idea where they are grouped in...

D) What are the things you should look out for/ask in a Hot Springs Facility


A list of Hot Springs Resorts/Hotels that caught my interest

  1. sulphur salt springs, taipei jinshan area 台北縣萬里鄉加投18-4號 平日全票 原價:399元 現正特價:250元 憑溫泉優惠券:150元 假日全票 原價:399元 現正特價:350元 憑溫泉優惠券:250元 Lodgings  菁英 平日 2240 假日 2800 領袖 平日 2880 假日 3600
  2. sodium hydrogen carbonate salt springs, taipei wulai area 237台北縣三峽鎮插角里80號 露天溫泉 平日 NT$350元 假日 NT$450元 平日10:00-24:00 假日08:00-24:00
  3. carbonate springs taipei wulai area 露天溫泉 平日 NT$390元 unlimited time 8am-1pm
  4. sodium hydrogen carbonate springs, 營業時間AM09:00--PM11:00﹞ 全票 NT$300元 半票 NT$200元 家庭房/4人 NT$6600元

Jhiaohsi Area Hotsprings

  1. 礁溪‧中冠礁溪大飯店  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪鄉德陽路6號  電話:(03)9882011 傳真:(03)9873552 family Room for 4: Usual 8000?5200-4000NT Very Excellent Facilities
  2. 和風溫泉會館‧礁溪店 電話:(03)988-1133 傳真:(03)988-0001  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪路五段97號 Triple Room Rack Rate NT $4500 weekday:3800,sat:5200 需加收早餐150元/人 the SPA facilities is excellent but it is not w/in the premises, Share w HefongJaeeHotel
  3. 礁溪‧和風嘉一飯店  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪鄉德陽路16號  電話:(03)9881212 傳真:(03)9883567 family Room for 4: Usual 2600NT Fri:3000 Sat:3800 Excellent Facilities
  4. 礁溪‧友誠溫泉飯店  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪鄉德陽路35號  電話:(03)9882522 傳真:(03)9887430 family Room for 4: Usual 2750NT Good Facilities
  5. 礁溪‧元隆溫泉飯店  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪鄉礁溪路五段112號  電話:(03)9888619 傳真:(03)9887606 Family Rm for 4:usual2380 Sat:3400
  6. 礁溪‧不二泉溫泉旅店  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪鄉德陽路26號  電話:(03)9889468 傳真:(03)9889245 family Room for 4: Fri,Sat: 3360NT, Usual:2400NT
  7. 礁溪‧山泉大飯店  地址:宜蘭縣礁溪鄉礁溪路六段36號(礁溪火車站附近)  電話:(03)9887979 傳真:(03)9880066 Family Room for 4: Saturday 6000NT, Usual:3800NT

Beitou Area Hotsprings

  1. Spring Resort Hotel 春天酒店 地址:112台北市北投區幽雅路18號 聯絡信箱 訂房中心:(02)2897-2345 服務專線:(02)2897-5555  傳真:(02)2897-7245
  2. Spa Spring Resort 水都北投溫泉會館 地址:台北市北投區光明路 283號 電話: (02)2897-9060 傳真: (02)2897-9065 Public Pools: 399/499[norm/peak]
  3. Yangmingshan Hotsprings 陽明山溫泉-前山溫泉
    地址:台北市北投區光明路224號 near datong street intersection @NBT station
    電話:(02)28983838 傳真:(02)28984505
    Have public bath facilities. Strictly hotsprings no fangledangle. Operates betw: 7.30am to 2am next day
The motherlode: - Hotsprings Network of Taiwan website