Cella’s Chat: Minerals, Does Your Body Have Enough? Part II

Minerals: hot springs

I had many inquiries after my show this past week on Cella’s Chat regarding the healing benefits of hot mineral springs and why our bodies need minerals to thrive and stay healthy.  The sheer fact that minerals are the pre-cursor to a healthy body and immune system, I think, was news to many people.  In today’s society with the over abundant use of pesticides in our food supply as well as toxic chemicals overburdening our water supply, we are being depleted of these essential minerals on a daily basis and having to turn to supplementation as well as organic foods to re-establish what our bodies are missing.

Minerals: Recap of Part I

In Part I of this series of blogs, I discussed my personal experience with two different mineral springs/roman baths I explored as well as the definition of mineral water and a grand history that takes us back to Biblical times.  In Part II, our discussion centers on the signs and symptoms of mineral deficiency, the health benefits of minerals, and where you can find some of these great springs around the world.  

Signs and Symptoms of Mineral Deficiency

The lack of specific minerals can precipitate both acute and chronic health problems. Sudden heart attacks occurring during physical activity are often the result of mineral depletion of immediate cellular supplies of potassium and magnesium.  Always remember that your physical health is dependent on your cellular health. Everything begins and ends on a cellular level.

Some chronic and acute health problems associated with lack of certain minerals are:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Goiter
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Periodontal disease
  • Anemia

In fact, we believe that most human ailments can be described as chronic nutrient deficiency symptoms. Some diseases are contracted via direct exposure to bacteria, virus, amoebas or other pathogens; but an optimally functioning immune system can defend us from these pathogenic invaders. It requires a proper mineral balance to keep our immune system strong and healthy. Deficiencies of zinc,selenium, silica, and sulfur, which occur as a result of poor diet or excess stress, can put our health at risk.  Simply stated, without minerals all the other components of the body will be unable to function properly.

According to www.lovingourguts.com the following are some signs of mineral deficiency in the body.

1. Cuts heal slowly and/or scar easily – this is a sign of zinc deficiency. Zinc is critical in wound healing. It’s also important to have zinc to help build the stomach acid you need in order to pull the minerals from your food to begin with.

2. Calf, foot or toe cramps at rest – ( Okay, who hasn’t experienced this symptom from time to time?) This is a sign of calcium, magnesium or potassium deficiency. Remember we need adequate HCL and good fatty acids to absorb those minerals. So keep that in mind if you decide to supplement. In the meantime, enjoy more bone broth.

3. Lost vitality and sense of awareness or someone who ‘fakes’ their energy  – This person is lacking in minerals and likely quite imbalanced. Remember minerals are the ‘spark plugs’ of life. Minerals act as cofactors for enzyme reactions. Enzymes do not work without minerals. Enzymes are your bodies work horses. In Chinese medicine enzymes are what give the body it’s ‘chi’.  (chi also means life force)

4. Feet have a strong odor ( I have a child with this problem, and ooh boy!) This is a common sign of magnesium deficiency. Keep in mind every gram of sugar consumed uses up 54 of magnesium. This means most Americans are magnesium deficient. And that’s only one reason we have such an epidemic of magnesium deficiency. Thankfully, there are lots of great ways to get magnesium into the body, such as magnesium gel. This would be great to rub all over the feet and legs and whole body for that matter.

5. White spots on fingernails – this is very telling again of zinc deficiency. Remember it can take years to remineralize the body. If you do decide to supplement with zinc make sure you take it with an overall mineral supplement as other minerals support zinc. Liquid/ionic zinc is best as it is most easily absorbed. Of course you could always slurp down some raw oysters – that’s my favorite source of zinc!

6. Abnormal cravings for substances other than food, such as paper, dirt, clay, rubber as well as ice are indicative of an iron deficiency. These are signs of Pica, affecting mostly women and children.

7. Yeast & Fungal Infections – often indicate low iron and zinc deficiencies, while the tissue copper levels are elevated. Excessive copper can produce an environment that encourages yeast and fungus to grow and proliferate. Chronic candida usually indicates high tissue copper levels.

8. Hypertension & Cardiac Arrhythmias– this is a common sign of potassium deficiency. Potassium plays a major role in the muscle contraction of the heart, as well as the heart beat, it’s also an important regulator of blood pressure.

Benefits of hot mineral springs: Dr. Andrew Weil www.drweil.com explained the benefits as:

Mineral baths are pleasant, relaxing and, perhaps, health-enhancing because they relieve stress. They have more of a tradition in Europe and Japan than in the United States. Much of the current research on the health benefits of mineral baths comes from Russia and Eastern Europe, and while treatment (called balneotherapy) is mentioned in Western medical literature, few studies have been translated into English. In both Europe and Japan, hot spring therapy is an accepted and popular treatment for musculoskeletal problems, as well as for high blood pressure, eczema and a variety of other complaints.  The various minerals dissolved in hot springs have been credited with specific (but unproved) health benefits. For example, sulfur is said to relieve nasal congestion, and calcium and sodium bicarbonate are said to enhance circulation, while salt water is supposed to improve digestion. A number of studies have suggested that soaking in a hot mineral spring can lessen the pain of arthritis. One such study published in the August 1995 issue of the Israeli medical journal Harefuah showed that arthritis patients bathing in Dead Sea salt experienced an improvement in knee pain. And results of another Israeli study published in the April 2001 issue of the journal Rheumatology International, reported that hot sulfur baths helped relieve the pain and lessen the fatigue of fibromyalgia.

Soaking in a hot spring can be wonderful therapy, for a number of reasons. The heat and subsequent sweating have a deeply cleansing effect on our skin and entire body/mind system. The specific mineral content of the spring will offer its unique benefits. The overall effect of soaking in a hot spring tends to be a relaxing one, so unnecessary stress and tension can be dissolved, allowing our qi to flow more smoothly through all of the meridians. When qi flows smoothly through the meridians, all of our internal organs are benefited. Be intelligent in your decisions regarding how long to stay in the spring before taking a break, and in how much water (or isotonic beverage) to drink. Some hot springs have been developed in a way that makes them very easy to access; others may require a strenuous hike up into relatively uncharted mountain territory. Choose one that aligns with your own levels of fitness and comfort.

Warning – Don’t Put Your Head Underwater

If you’re going to bathe in a natural hot mineral spring, never put your head under water. A free-swimming amoeba called naegleria that lives in many hot springs can enter the body through the nose and can cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a very serious, potentially deadly infection of the brain. Pregnant women should also be cautious in their use of hot springs, particularly during the first trimester. A study published in the August, 1992 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found some association between neural-tube defects and heat exposure from saunas, hot tubs and fever during the first three months of pregnancy. (Neural-tube defects include anencephaly and spina bifida, both disastrous abnormalities.).

List of Mineral Springs Around the World

There are mineral springs around the world with unique benefits from each one.  If you have never experienced the healing and stress reducing benefits, I invite you to give it a try.  You may be surprised to find there is a mineral spring closer to your home than you knew.  Here is a small list of ones you may find around the world:

1.  Hot Springs – Hot Springs, North Carolina; 2. Berkeley Springs Mineral Springs – Berkeley Springs, West Virginia; 3.  Banff Upper Hot Springs, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada; 4. Ma’In Hot Springs, Jordan; 5. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; 6. Blue Lagoon, Iceland; 7.  Budapest, Hungary; 8.  Arenal Hot Springs, Costa Rica; 9.  Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado; 10.  Saturnia, Italy; 11.  Vichy Springs, California; and 12.  The Homestead, Bath County, Virginia

As people are getting away from pills and going back to natural holistic healing, spa towns are once again becoming as popular as they were in George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s Day.  Find your way back to health – go take a soak!

Doctors give DRUGS – ALL of which have side effects – and ALL of which harm the body!  And DRUGS only cover up the symptoms.  Our bodies are designed to heal themselves.  Dr. Lorraine Day

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