Our rushed city lifestyles often allow for only a quick shower to start or end our day. But for those who can carve out some relaxation time, a mineral bath not only cleanses the surface of the body, but also works wonders far beneath the skin.
Kim Rossi is the spa director at Gideon Putnam Resort's Roosevelt Baths & Spa, located in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The region is home to the East Coast's only naturally carbonated mineral waters. Native Americans believed that the spring water here was stirred by the god Manitou, which gave it healing properties. The baths are named for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was a major proponent of the waters' healing abilities; he both commissioned and dedicated the opening of the bathhouses.
"Bathing in the waters accelerates the body's natural ability for healing, and as a preventive care boosts the immune system," Rossi says. "Regular bathing can balance the endocrine system and the central nervous system."
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Going for a mineral dip is also a great way to recharge and rejuvenate your body.
"The water content naturally increases blood circulation and cell oxygenation," she says. "So even though you're deeply relaxed, the heart is pumping as if you're on a brisk walk."
The waters are also said to promote feelings of well-being (thanks to all the negative ions present), flush out toxins, nourish your tissues and vital organs and improve infections. In addition to bathing in it, you can also drink the water (it tastes kind of like seltzer) to take advantage of its health properties.
To reap the benefits of a mineral bath, Rossi recommends one once a week. However, if you're not regularly able to take advantage of the Roosevelt Baths & Spa, you can create a similar experience at home by adding two cups of Epsom salts and some aromatherapy oils to your next suds session.
What to expect
When you first lay eyes on your mineral bathwater, you'll notice its brownish-red tint. This is totally normal, Rossi says.
"The water has a high content of iron, and when that hits the oxygen in the air, a rusty color appears."
And after you've stepped in, you may have some difficulty rooting yourself to the floor of the tub.
"We're floating because of the high amount of sodium," Rossi says. "There's a lot of salt in a small space. [It's like] how in the Dead Sea, you're totally floating. It's amazing."
At the Roosevelt Baths & Spa at Gideon Putnam Resort, you can soak a private bath for 20 minutes before a spa treatment or for 40 minutes as an individual treatment.
Each bath is drawn for you upon your arrival. When your experience is over, you can take advantage of warm towels, showers and a relaxing lounge in which to rest.
The baths are part of the 120-room Gideon Putnam resort, a national historic landmark hotel nestled in Saratoga State Park.
If you go
Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa
24 Gideon Putnam Rd.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866