"If I were called in to construct a religion I should make use of water." - Philip Larkin
TAKING THE WATERS The earliest systematic exposition of the different kinds of salts, their uses, and methods of extraction was published in China around 2700 years BCE. Hippocrates encouraged his fellow healers to make use of salt water to heal various ailments by immersing their patients in sea water. For thousands of years, people have bathed in natural mineral springs: Spa in Belgium, Bath in England, Évian-les-Baines in France, Baden-Baden in Germany, Glenwood Springs in Colorado, Rotarua in New Zealand, and Mataranka Springs in the Northern Territory, Australia.
The Dead Sea, salt lakes, and the world’s rivers and oceans are all manifestations of the same process. The Earth’s soluble salts are taken up in the planet’s water - by rain, wave action, or underground streams. These accumulations of natural salts have measurable benefits for living beings.
Scattered throughout the world are upwellings of mineral-laden water from the depths of our planet. Here, humans and animals have sought out and immersed themselves in these enriched waters. Some have sipped, others worshiped, all have felt benefits.
These natural mineral springs, lakes, seas, and oceans have different concentrations of the major minerals in soluble forms. The major elements are sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, and in lesser concentrations, every naturally-occurring element on Earth. The major ions which solubilize these elements are chlorides, carbonates, sulphates, phosphates, nitrates, and silicates.
Not all of us live conveniently close to these gifts of nature. We can, however, enrich our bathing experience by adding quality, water-soluble, pulverized mineral salts to our bath. Said to improve cleansing by softening the water, they allow less use of soap. Soap removes skin oils, so less is better for one’s skin. Thermal bathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body bringing improved nourishment to vital organs and tissues. Heat relaxes tense muscles, while the mineral salts in the water can contribute to the psychological healing process.
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