The adage, “where thoughts go, energy follows” is so true. On my way to Fort Bragg, California recently (see June blog), thinking about raw food, and healthy mind, body and skincare choices, I stopped at Vichy Hot Springs in Ukiah, where I took a quick (two-hour) soak. Northern California, so rich in hot springs, is heaven to a spa girl, and with so little time, it was difficult to choose which spring to try. But I made the perfect choice.
Vichy Springs is a unique 157-year-old historic resort – combining the best of two worlds: a very down-to-earth country inn with rooms and cottages (not at all fancy); and hot springs (12 springs on this property). Vichy offers the only naturally-warm and carbonated Vichy mineral baths in North America.
The Vichy Baths date to the Romans’ conquest (in what is now France) when Julius Caesar discovered “Vichy” water or literally “hot cross” – meaning warm water crossing their path. The story goes that Caesar’s horses, depleted of minerals from the hard pace they had kept, drank the water and became immediately stronger. The Romans established a spa in the center of France called “Vichy” – that still exists to this day.
Much the same happened in Ukiah. Vichy Springs was known for 5,000-plus years to the local Native American Pomo tribes, who consisted of small extended families with unique languages. Vichy Springs, called “katuct” was used for the same reasons that the Vichy Celestin’s and Vichy St. Yorre waters were (and are still) used in France.
Vichy water has a unique characteristic when consumed, including the relief of stomach acidity – like a natural Alka Seltzer. It is also an effective remedy for stomach ulcers, rheumatism and arthritis, and externally is used for burns, cuts, abrasions of the skin and sunburn. Locally, the water is renowned as an immediate cure for poison oak. The iron-rich water, which leaves a red residue, has a distinct taste – slightly carbonated, metallic and warm.
Ailments are not necessary of course. Mineral waters do wonders for the skin, aiding circulation and creating a glow. And for the fit-and-firm, the baths are simply one of the most relaxing feelings one can experience in water. The carbonation after three or four minutes dramatically dilates the body’s capillaries and gives the bather a feeling of warmth and peacefulness. Tranquility follows and usually the bather begins to gently float in the bath.
While the setting is different, the experience of healing, being nourished and relaxed in mineral-rich waters can be adapted at home. Kerstin Florian International was, in fact, built on the concept of bringing home ‘The Kur.’ Our 10-day thermal mineral and thalassotherapy bath programs use the therapeutic Hungarian Moor mud, freshly harvested algae from the Brittany coast of France and therapeutic mineral-rich salts from Europe. We recommended ‘doing the bath program’ at the change of each season or anytime you want the feeling of relaxation.
Here is a traditional spa bathing ritual we recommend doing at home:
- Begin by exfoliating the body with Turkish Body Scrub with eucalyptus.
- Soak 20 minutes in warm (95 to 100-degree) neck-deep water, using either Seaweed Bath or Therapeutic Mineral Bath Salts – every day for 10 consecutive days. While in the bath, mist the face with Neroli or Rose Water. For an added sensory experience, put a capful of Organic Aromatherapy Revitalizing Bath and Body Oil into the bath.*
- Mix one part Remineralizing Body Crème with two parts Organic Aromatherapy Revitalizing Bath and Body Oil and after the bath, massage the mixture into the body.
- Rest (with tea) allowing the body to absorb all of the benefits.
The warm water and minerals are great for the muscles and to moisturize the skin. But the preparation and ritual of The Kur is also healing. And it’s easy to transition the bath into a spa. Dim the lights, hang a white robe and fluffy white towel on a hook nearby; sip spring water from a beautiful glass; light a few candles and put on your favorite music.
Pure heaven – almost as blissful as a soak in nature in Northern California.