Where is Tecopa, and what its fame?
At first glance, Tecopa looks bleak. It is a small desert town at the southern edge of Death Valley, an hour detour from Baker, on the road from Los Angeles Las Vegas. It has a small number of scattered trailer homes, a couple of time-warp motels, and some hot springs. Barren mountains form its backdrop, no gas stations, and no stores. On a second look, I would call it an oasis in the desert!
Founded in 1875, Tecopa is a Mojave Desert town of about 150 residents, named after an Indian Paiute leader. It sprung up as a result of nearby silver-lead ore mine developments in the 1860s. The original settlement grew, but it wasn’t until the railroad came in that the town really found its identity. Then, as was the case in many boom-towns, the mines were depleted, and the population began to shift elsewhere. Ultimately, the hot springs were given over to the county, and rumor has it that they were gifted under the condition that they remain free for anyone who wants to visit.
I love to plunge naked into the marsh water of more than 90 degrees. The Paiute Indians used to bathe there and apply the mineralized muds to their skin. People do the same today in these marsh pools. At the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, the rooms in the small hotel are adjacent to tubs with water at 105 degrees, pumped from an artesian well. Up on a hill sits a bathhouse for the campers and people who live here in the winter months. Most everyone clears out by summer, when the temperature averages nearly 120 degrees, then the water in the hot tubs is cooler than the air outside.
What are the effects of Soaking in a hot spring?
Hot springs and their therapeutic properties have been written up in medical papers for decades. Hot springs are found throughout the world. The definition varies, but most often is some version of a spring with water temperatures above the air temperature or average human body temperature. In most cases, their temperature is safe to relax in, but at times they may be too hot. Hot springs are warmed by the heat within the earth (Geothermal Heat).
Soaking in a hot spring can be excellent therapy for several reasons. The warmth of the water relaxes the muscles and increases the blood flow. Hot water dissolves solids, thus making it rich in mineral content. Many believe in the medicinal value of these minerals in recovering from injuries, reducing pain and inflammation of arthritis. Also, the heat and subsequent sweating have a deep-cleansing effect on the skin and the entire body-to-mind realm.