Stewart Mineral Springs
This is a photo of the stream where you can cool off after your tub soak and sauna. It's located behind the main building.
About a week ago, we stopped at Stewart Mineral Springs on the way home from our mini Mt. Shasta vacation (more on that to come).
The recommended course is to soak in your own personal (no sharing, thank goodness) tub for eight minutes, sit in the dry sauna to sweat out more toxins, and then cool off in either the showers provided or in the cold water mineral springs. You're advised to do this three times and three times only. Oh and due to the high silica content, don't rub your skin while soaking in your hot mineral bath. If you develop skin irritation, it's supposedly due to a cleansing reaction and they have topical products to apply if this happens.
I started my bath by filling the tub with scalding hot mineral water, then did the toe dip test. After burning myself, I ran cold water to get it to a more comfortable temperature. As I perched on the edge of my tub, I noticed a knotted rope hanging from the ceiling. My first assumption was that some of their elderly patrons may have difficulty getting in and out of the tub and needed the extra support.
Once the water reached a tolerable level of slightly less hot than just boiled water, I stepped in, slipped, screamed and shouted an expletive. All this while new age music played and sage was being burned for the people meditating in the other room. I now know that mineral water from Stewart Springs is slippery and that the rope is there is for everyone, not just the elderly or disabled.
Shaken from my fall, I sat in my tub (thankfully alone) and nervously began to rub my legs and arms. Settling into the warmth and relaxing to the music, I was beginning to enjoy the experience, until the feeling of stabbing needles caught my attention. I'd forgotten about the whole "no rubbing" thing and now the silica had made tiny scratches on my legs and arms, so I got out and headed to the dry sauna.
Five minutes in the sauna was enough, then I headed to cool off in the springs outside.
Growing up in an extremely conservative family that tended to be prudish especially when it came to nudity, I'd always assumed everyone was that way. It surprised me that the resort had recently imposed a "clothing optional" policy for public areas (the streams, certain parts of the campgrounds, etc.) Yes, both Naoki, my husband, and I were the only swimsuit-wearing people there.
Not sure where to look, I focused on a tree and stepped gingerly into the stream with my sandals on. The water was freezing, but felt great after the sauna. Couldn't believe they recommended doing this procedure three times, as I'd always thought extreme heat and cold would shock the body (think: jumping into the hottub and then swimming pool 3x) and make for getting ill. I did an abbreviated five minutes in the tub, two in the sauna and another two minutes in the cold water two more times. Since the place wasn't busy, Naoki did the tub/sauna/springs four times and managed to make himself slightly sick and super itchy.
Things learned -
* If there's a rope or rail near or around the tub, use it
* Take off makeup before doing the sauna - I'm still dealing with breakouts
* Ask about "clothing optional" policies beforehand
I'm glad to have had the chance to experience visiting a mineral springs. The people that worked there were incredibly nice and welcoming. Not sure if I'd return anytime soon, unless they decided to install a Starbucks next door with wireless internet access :)