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Spa Trends: Springs

Spa Trends: Springs

A continued spavolution.

Before the advent of the massage-and-facial package, a trip to the spa meant one thing: water and the "taking" thereof. Steeping in it, drinking it, letting its therapeutic benefits seep into your skin. The whole idea of a "spa" hearkens back to medieval times, when the mineral-rich springs in Spa, Belgium, became renowned for their healing powers. The key was the bubbling water?s temperature—heat opens pores to aid absorption.

The Greek historian Herodotus even believed water could bestow eternal youth, coining the whole fountain mythology. In 1513, explorer Juan Ponce de León set out to find it, first in what is now called Florida, then eventually in Bimini, the Bahamas. Sarasota, Fla.'s Warm Mineral Springs pays tribute to the legend with an hourglass-shaped 230-foot-deep sinkhole that dates back to the Ice Age. Its water, suffused with 51 minerals (strontium, which supports bone health, is the most prevalant), claims to have the highest healing mineral content of any springs in the United States. Guests can supplement their dips with a floating shiatsu-water massage (Watsu), stretching (hydro-yoga), and even a mineral mani/pedi. What it lacks in polish, it makes up for in effectiveness.

For a more luxurious experience, try Dunton Hot Springs in the historic mining town of Dolores, Colo., an hour from Durango, where you?ll soak in natural springs with the commanding backdrop of the snowcapped Rockies. The native Ute people used to bathe in the waters after a long day of hunting before miners took dips to ease their tired muscles. (The springs are rich in calcium bicarbonate, which opens peripheral blood vessels and improves circulation, as well as iron, manganese, and lithium for fortification.) There are six ways to soak: inside the restored 19th-century wooden bathhouse, under the stars at the muddy source, inside the Well House cabin, out on the river, or in deep pools outside the bathhouse or behind the Dunton Store cabin. It?s a nonpretentious, wear-what-you-want rustic experience—look for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?s authentic scrawl on the bar—open only to guests staying at its hotel and restored log cabins.

On the other end of the design spectrum, Therme Vals in Vals, Switzerland, is a drop-dead stunner. Recently rebuilt by Swiss starchitect Peter Zumthor out of locally quarried quartz, the modernist building features a grass roof that blends into the hillside.

More Spas
Spa Trends: Native Ingredients
Spa Trends: Salt
Spa Trends: Snow
Spa Trends: Massage
Spas for Paws
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