What is Hot Potting?
Hot potting is the new favorite thing to do, but not many know that the tradition of Hot Potting, where you soak in natural hot springs is as old as centuries.(1) The formation of thermal springs or hot springs occurs when there is seepage of water deep inside the earth and then this water flows back up and forms the hot springs. The temperature of the water depends on the depth of the rocks, the deeper they are; the hotter is the temperature of the water. Areas having volcanoes will have more hot water due to the contact of water with the hot magma.
Why is Hot Potting So Popular and Is It a New Fad?(9)
Hot springs have become popular tourist destinations all over the world, with many spas with hot springs developing nearby. The primary attraction of hot springs is the amazing natural beauty with additionally getting to soak and relax in the mineral-rich waters.
The practice of soaking in the hot springs has been done by people from ancient years, as it is thought to promote relaxation along with feeling of general well being.(1)
How Safe is Hot Potting?
Hot potters or people who like to soak in hot waters have great enthusiasm for traveling from one hot spring to another hot spring either in groups or alone. However, these people are not exactly aware of the safety of hot potting. How safe is hot potting? In actual fact, hot potting is quite a dangerous habit and can cause serious problems and even death too.
In this article, we will discuss everything about hot potting, its safety and all the information you need before taking the plunge, literally.
Hot Springs/Thermal Springs: How Hot Are They?
The temperature of water in a thermal spring is more when compared to the temperature of ground water in that area. Hot springs and warm springs are quite different and you can’t make out the difference just by looking at them. The fact of the matter is that hot springs can look innocently cool, which is very misleading and dangerous.
The temperature of a hot spring for it to be called that should be 50°C (122°F). At this degree of temperature, there is a high chance of getting an acute burn if you are soaking for around 10 minutes in it. However, the temperatures in hot springs can increase even more, to the extent of crossing the boiling point also.
In Yellowstone National Park there are some springs, where the magma from volcano rapidly heats the water before it flows back to the surface. As the water is in continuous circulation, it does not get sufficiently heated to result in an eruption.
At a temperature of 60°C (140°F), a serious burn can occur in only 3 seconds. Sometimes, the boiling water from hot spring throws water into the air just like a geyser.
Deaths Due to Hot Springs(2)
There was a death in 2016 in Yellowstone where a 23-year-old man was searching for a spring to hot pot, when suddenly he lost his balance and fell into the acidic boiling water where he met instant death.
The Associated Press says that since 1890, about 22 deaths have occurred as a result of injuries from hot spring in the area of Yellowstone National Park.(3) Many of these were accidents; however, about 2 of them were people who tried swimming in the hot spring.
This tally is in just from Yellowstone. Nobody clearly knows the number of deaths occurring due to hot springs from all over the world.
What are the Benefits of Hot Potting?(8)
In-depth research has been done on the effects of water therapy on your health. However, when it comes to hot springs, the matter becomes complicated. Different hot springs contain different amount and type of minerals and also different temperatures.
There are some studies that relate the benefits of bathing in hot springs; however, there are no rules of the duration and the amount of times you have to bathe in the hot springs to experience their benefits. Some of the potential benefits of hot potting are:
Alleviating Skin Problems(4)
A study done in 2019 says that the mineral waters of Persia help in alleviating the symptoms of psoriasis. Hot potting or the thermal waters can also help with other skin conditions, such as collagen vascular disorders and dermatitis.
Stress Reduction from Soaking in Hot Water
For someone who is always wound up and also likes the nature and relaxation; the decrease in stress is the most obvious benefit from soaking in the hot water or from hot potting. Soaking in hot water helps in alleviating pains and aches of your body as well as in joints. It also helps with your stress levels and improves your perspective along with a general sense of well being.
Weight Reduction from Hot Potting(5)
Another study in 2017 showed that hot water bathing can help in burning calories and this is more beneficial for people who cannot do exercise.
Enhanced Vascular Function(6)
A study done in 2016 shows that soaking in hot water helps improve blood pressure and vascular function.
Are the Benefits of Hot Potting Proven?
There are any things that are yet to be proven when it comes to hot potting. There are no proven magical powers of Hot Springs and there is no evidence that hot potting does this: cure any health issues; detoxify your body and prevent any specific disease.
What are the Risks & Side Effects of Hot Potting?
As hot springs differ all over the world; the risks of it also differs accordingly. Some of the things that one should be cautioned against when it comes to hot potting are:
Extreme or High Temperature of the Hot Springs
You cannot make out the temperature of a hot spring just by looking at it; and if you take the water at its surface or face value, then you can easily have blisters on your skin in a matter of seconds. Not only blistering, if you are not careful, then significant burns can occur from hot springs or even instant death. A few of the hot springs are so hot, that they can boil and throw up water just like a geyser.
Presence of Harmful Microorganisms in Hot Springs
There are various microorganisms present in natural springs, which cause waterborne diseases, such as gastrointestinal illness, skin rash and other infections. So, you have to be careful the next time you decide to go hot potting.
Lot of Acidity in the Water of Hot Springs
A few of the hot springs are extremely acidic in nature that can cause severe burns to the skin or eyes. This is another thing that you have to think of before hot potting.
Can Everyone Hot Pot? Contraindications for Hot Potting:
Hot springs are contraindicated for people:
- Who are pregnant.
- Who are suffering from heart disease.
- Who have open sores or cuts.
- Who are prone to fainting falling or slipping.
NOTE: It is advisable to consult with your doctor before you attempt hot potting.
Is There A Safe Way To Hot Pot? Important Tips Before Hot Potting:
Some places do not permit using the hot springs, which everyone should follow, as there is a good reason for this prohibition. Never ever ignore the safety barriers and also make sure to use your extreme caution when thinking of using hot springs.
It is better to plan in advance before going for hot potting; whether these warm/hot springs are safe for use or not. The estimated water temperatures in the United States can be checked through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.(7)
Other Pointers for Hot Potting are:
- Never submerge your head in the hot springs.
- Never hot pot alone. Make sure to use hot springs with some company.
- Never swallow the water from hot springs.
- If you feel any burning or feel unwell, get out immediately and seek medical help.
- Make sure that you are soaking the hot springs for a very, very short amount of time.
Conclusion: Think Before You Jump!
Hot potting has become quite a popular practice for relaxation and other benefits, as it involves soaking in hot/thermal springs. The practice of hot potting has been going on for centuries now, where some people do it for enjoying the nature and some do it for a sense of well-being.
Quite a bit of research has been going on as to the health benefits of hot potting; however, considering the differences in the water temperature, mineral content, its acidity of the hot springs in different places, it is difficult to arrive at a concrete conclusion.
A hot spring is where the temperature of the water is of 50°C (122°F) and great caution should be used when hot potting in such temperatures. These hot springs not only cross the water’s boiling point, but can also be extremely acidic. Extreme burns and death has known to occur from hot springs.
When you decide to go for hot potting, make sure that you are using the approved hot springs along with following the safety protocols.