Balneology - Healing Hot Springs: The Tecopa Hot Spring Mineral Waters

Balneology - Healing Hot Springs: The Tecopa Hot Spring Mineral Waters

Please be aware that all the water on the property is the hot springs water. If you do not wish to drink it, we recommend bringing bottled water.

Basic Analysis of the Tecopa Hot Springs Mineral Water
Measurement in Parts Per Million ( PPM )

Calcium.......... 7.2 
Iron................ 0.094
Magnesium..... 9.7
Boron............. 9.2
Selenium......... 8.0
Sodium........... 725.0 
Fluoride............ 2.4
Potassium......... 22.3
Carbonates....... 45.2
Bicarbonates..... 668.0
Sulfates............. 497.5
Chlorides.......... 371.0

Other Naturally Occurring Inorganic Chemicals & Metals
Tecopa Hot Springs Water ( Inyo County Public Pool Assessment )

Element / Metal
Aluminum    0.2
Barium    2.0
Cadmium    0.005
Chromium    0.1
Copper    1.3
Manganese    0.05
Mercury    0.002
Nickel    0.1
Silver    0.1
Zinc    5.0

Water Hardness: 10.0 ( Inyo County Assessment )
Total Dissolved Solids: 2345.9 PPM ( Delight's Hot Springs Resort Analysis )
Turbitity in Turbitity Units - 1.0 ( Inyo County Assessment )
PH Level: 7.4 - 7.6 ( Delight's Hot Springs assessed and Inyo County Public Pool assessed )

For more information on the Tecopa mineral waters, see:
Mineral Analysis of the Tecopa California Hot Springs Water


What is Balneology?

Balneology is the scientific study of the therapeutic benefits of naturally occurring mineral waters. In the United States, this science is not very well known and is even less seldom practiced. However, throughout Europe and Japan, balneology and hot springs therapy is very much a part of routine medical care. Medical prescriptions are given by licensed doctors for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, and utilizing mineral waters as a part of preventative medicine is widely recognized and encouraged.

Hot springs therapy became popular in the United States in the nineteenth century and reached a pinnacle in the United States in the 1940s. During this brief hot springs era, doctors and resort owners, as well as an ever-enthusiastic general public, attributed many cures and health benefits to the use of therapeutic geothermally heated mineral waters. However, the hot springs movement did not last long enough to mature into a socio-cultural tradition which would have eventually resulted in formal research and medical acceptance. Furthermore, the FDA eventually stepped in and prohibited organizations from making unsubstantiated health claims concerning the medicinal value of natural mineral waters.

These facts notwithstanding, hot spring soaking has a deep and far-reaching tradition in North America, starting with the indigenous North American Native Tribes who considered choice hot springs to be "power spots" in nature. Native cultures universally utilized the natural waters for healing, purification ceremonies, sacred gatherings, and tribal meetings.

Although the brief hot springs movement in the United States faded, enough interest remained by way of naturalists, enthusiasts, and especially those more spiritually inclined, to keep many small resorts in operation throughout the country during the latter part of the 20th century.

What remains universally true is the ignorance associated with potential healing powers of natural mineral waters. When questioning native American healers, therapists, resort owners, and enthusiasts, vague opinions and unsubstantiated "facts" are often prevalent, some of which are contrary to established scientific fact.

The rest of this article is designed to "clear away the pervasive fog" associated healing waters, as much as possible based on scientific research and prevalent scientific theory. Most of the information included is derived from European and Japenese medical sources. Links, as they become available, will be included in more advanced topics concerning more esoteric subjects, including the hot springs effect on the human bioenergy system, flow forms, structured water, and more.

What Makes a Mineral Hot Spring a Mineral Hot Spring?

In the United States, there are no real standards to classify the properties of hot springs. However, in Europe and Japan, there are general standards that are widely accepted by balneologists.

The Hot Springs Source

There are two primary classifications of hot springs:

Filtration Hot Springs
A filtration hot spring is a geothermally heated mineral water that is initially fed by rainwater that seeps into the Earth through faults and fractures. As it travels into the Earth, it becomes subject to increased energy from natural geothermal heat and is exposed to gases and an often wide variety of minerals from rock and mineral deposits. The water absorbs the minerals via leeching, is heated by the geothermal heat source, and then returns to the Earth's surface.

Primary Hot Springs
A primary hot spring is a geothermally heated mineral water, where direct volcanic activity plays a far greater role in the process of the formation of the hot springs. One of the fundamental physical distinctions between a filtration spring and a primary spring is the mineral and gas content of the water, such as radon and bromide. Primary hot springs are often "powered" by magma chambers which exist miles under the Earth's surface, as well as in volcanically active regions.
What is the Classification of the Tecopa Hot Springs?
The Tecopa Hot Springs are primary hot springs.

The Hot Springs Temperature: Cool, Warm, or Hot?

Balneologists generally accept the following classification of mineral springs:

Cold Springs - temperatures below 77° F ( 25° C )
Tepid Springs - temperatures ranging from 77 - 93° F ( 25°-34° C )
Warm Springs - temperatures ranging from 93 F - 108° F ( 34° - 42° C )
Hot Springs - temperatures above 108° ( 42° C )
What is the Classification of the Tecopa Hot Springs?

The Inyo County Tecopa Hot Mineral Springs are classified as Hot Springs. While the temperature of the water fluctuates between different sources, the water temperature usually measures between 116 - 118° F. The ambient temperature of the water in the summer months, however, can be as high as 121 - 135° F.

The temperature of the water for spas is regulated at no hotter than 104° F by the State of California. In order to experience the full therapeutic benefit of the "hot springs" classification, a single-use or special use tub must be utilized.

The Hot Springs Mineral Content

The legal classification of a mineral spring varies in different parts of the world. Generally speaking:

A mineral spring contains greater than 1000 mg/l ( ppm ) of naturally dissolved solids.

What is the Classification of the Tecopa Hot Springs?
The Tecopa Hot Springs are classified as true mineral springs and have dissolved solids measuring over 2000 mg/l ( PPM ), based on the assessment conducted at Delight's Hot Springs Resort.

The Hot Springs pH Level

Waters may be classified as acidic, basic, or neutral, accord