The situation in the world is becoming more tense and unstable, increasing the risk of a global military conflict. International companies and businessmen are forced to completely reformat their businesses, reorient themselves to new markets and promotion channels or production methods. In an environment of growing fear, chaos, and uncertainty, maintaining mental and emotional health becomes especially important.
In addition to a professional therapy, support from loved ones, sporting activities and dream vacations help to cope with stress in anxious times. Dominica is one of last paradise corners on earth where you can relax in a calm oasis and recharge within pristine nature. The acquaintance with the underwater world of the gentle Caribbean Sea, watching whales and giant tortoises, walking in tropical rainforests are just a few of the immersive experiences. In the fight against stress, numerous sulphur springs and natural hot baths attract maximum interest among the guests of the island.
Hot or thermal springs is a place where groundwater comes to the surface, reaching a temperature of at least 20 degrees celsius. Depending on the geological composition, natural waters can be enriched with several salts, ions, halogens, and metals, such as sulphur, chlorine, bromine, iodine, magnesium, calcium, etc. From the composition of the elements in hot springs depends the therapeutic effect on human health in certain diseases or their prevention.
Hot springs have been used and valued for recreational and health purposes since ancient times. As early as the 5th century BC, the ancient Greek scientist Herodotus proposed a method for the use, and indications for prescribing mineral waters, and their first classification was made by the Roman physician Archigenes in the 1st century AD.
The healing of various ailments, wounds and suppurations, the removal of muscle tension and pain with the help of thermal waters, the ancient Romans adopted into their culture from the Greeks and Egyptians, but at the same time they managed to expand their approach to health and well-being through the implementation of monumental public thermae in combination with large buildings, which are the prototypes of modern health resorts.
In the middle of the 19th century, scientific research began to study the composition of water and its effect on the human body, which contributed to the emergence of balneology, a branch of medical science that studies methods of treating a wide range of diseases with mineral waters. In the last 100 years, along with traditional wellness services, thermal tourism and wellness fitness have become increasingly popular around the world.
The healing effect on a person with the help of water and hot sulphur baths is confirmed by numerous medical studies.
Simply immersing yourself in water already has a therapeutic effect due to the physical properties of water.
Buoyancy reduces stress or the application of weight to certain parts of the body, relieving pain and improving exercise capacity.
Hydrostatic pressure promotes blood flow by changing the pressure exerted on the body depending on the depth of the dive, resulting in increased blood flow to major organs (heart, brain, and lungs) or increased diuretic action.
The resistance associated with the viscosity of the water results in muscle strengthening.
Warm water immersion affects the cardiovascular system by relaxing the smooth muscles in the blood vessel walls and facilitating blood flow and is often considered as an alternative therapy to exercise to improve cardiovascular function.
Hot baths also help to get rid of chronic fatigue and the effects of stress, are used to invigorate.
Sulphur baths have traditionally been used in medical hydrology to treat diseases of the skin (rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis), the respiratory system (via inhalation and irrigation), and the musculoskeletal system.
In scientific publications, the healing effect of sulphurous mineral waters on the skin is associated mainly with the exfoliating effect of sulphur. Sulphur mineral water has a beneficial anti-inflammatory, keratoplastic, and antipruritic effect. In addition, bactericidal and antifungal properties allow it to be used to treat infected leg ulcers, tinea versicolor, tinea corporis, and tinea capitis.
Recent intensive research confirms that sulphurous and sulphated mineral waters demonstrate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and benefits as a treatment option for pulmonary hypertension, arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis, ischemia-reperfusion injury, heart failure, peptic ulcer, and acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Sulphur baths are used as complementary therapy in patients with rheumatic diseases along with specific therapies. Studies show a positive effect on patients with degenerative osteoarthritis, causing a decrease in oxidative stress, a change in suprexide dismutase (SOD ) activity and a trend towards improvement in lipid levels. Sulphur baths are effective in treating osteoarthritis of the knee and last longer than non-sulphurous water baths.
Before visiting the thermal springs, it is recommended to visit the attending physician for a thorough examination of the body, as there are contraindications to taking thermal baths for a number of diseases: some diseases in the acute stage, diabetes, a recent heart attack or stroke, malignant tumours, epilepsy, infectious diseases, etc.
When immersed, active sulphur molecules from hot springs easily penetrate through the skin, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes, entering the bloodstream and exerting a healing effect on the body in small concentrations. Overdose can be harmful, therefore staying in the water is usually for 3 to 15 minutes at a time, no more than twice a day with 8 hours apart.
It is not recommended to visit the hot springs on an empty stomach or immediately after a meal, and intense physical activity should be avoided after bathing.
Hot sulphur springs permeate Dominica’s entire body like blood vessels. Most of the natural sulphur baths are concentrated in the south of the island: near the Boiling Lake, next to the Trafalgar Falls and the village of Watten Waven, as well as on the southwest coast near the village of Soufrière.
To get to the sulphur baths, you need to walk a little along the hiking trails through the paradise gardens, spread among the hills. The untamed vegetation of the rainforest, bright exotic flowers, the singing of birds and merging with nature contribute to the relaxation and healing of the body, immersed in life-giving pools of sulphur.
In the pre-Columbian times, the sulphur springs were an important meeting place for the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean, and are now one of the most popular ecotourism sites on the island.
It is in 7-10 minutes by car to the east of the crossroads located at the entry to the village of Soufrière. At the entrance to the recreational area there is a parking lot and an information centre.
Guests of the island will be interested not only in swimming in natural sulphur pools or walking to sulphur deposits, its crystals, and fumaroles, but also the loop path leading along the Soufrière mountain range through an old French estate and climbing to the top of Morne Vert, where breath-taking views open to Grand Bay. The return descent along the trail is much easier than the ascent and relaxing in the hot baths is the best reward after a great workout.
Underground sulphur springs near the village of Soufrière flow into the sea, where sea hot baths form near the shore. A special charm to this place is given by the view to the 18th century Catholic Church built of volcanic stone, green mountain peaks and the isthmus with cape Scotts Head, which cuts the Caribbean Sea and sky.
Located on the sandy beach, the Bubble Beach Bar serves homemade rum punch, local beer, and soft drinks. The owner of the bar, using stones and sandbags, organized natural hot baths in shallow water. On the shore there are changing rooms, sun loungers for rent, a photo bench, and a massage bungalow.
Soufrière Bay is interesting because it is part of a marine reservation, so travellers can get additional pleasure from diving, snorkelling, and kayaking.
The Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to the world’s second largest Boiling Lake, which is a submerged fumarole reaching a diameter of about 66 meters, with magma hidden under the surface that heats fresh water to a boil, in as a result, the milky-greyish surface of the lake is almost always shrouded in thick clouds of steam. You can’t swim in the lake because can be boiled alive. However, even just to look at this impressive natural phenomenon, some travellers are not deterred by a difficult mountain route, which takes about 3-4 hours of ascent in one direction only.
On the way to the Boiling Lake, there is the equally remarkable the Valley of Desolation, where, in sharp contrast to the Roseau Valley area, lush vegetation gives way to a more sparse landscape in the form of mosses, lichens and grasses adapted to sulphur and hot temperatures. The Valley of Desolation is crossed by many hot streams, colouring stones with unexpected colours with their minerals: orange, burgundy, grey, etc. In this area, high columns of steam rise above the ground from a huge number of geysers.
Turning at the base of the Valley of Desolation into the rainforest towards Boiling Lake, the trail begins to wind along and across the hot sulphurous river, forming many natural pools, where the exhausted traveller can wash away the weariness of the hard climb, the stress, and cares of the outside world. But these natural sulphur baths are only a pleasant addition to the walk and are available only to lovers of mountain hiking and heavy physical exertion.
These are not far from the Boiling Lake, but closer to the west coast are the Trafalgar Falls. If you get to them from the capital of Roseau, you first need to drive 20 minutes by car to the parking lot and information centre, and then you have to walk about 10 minutes along a well-groomed winding path to the observation deck, where you can see two waterfalls: on the left is the Father Falls 85 meters high , slightly to the right of it is the Mother Falls, reaching a height of about 40 meters.
Near the Father Falls are hot springs, which over the decades have been filled with volcanic boulders or formed into comfortable pools where you can treat yourself to a spa treatment from nature itself. Pools with sulphur water are easy to distinguish from ordinary hot baths: under the influence of sulphur, the stones are painted orange, and the water loses its transparency, turning yellow green.
From Trafalgar Falls, a road leads through the village of Trafalgar to the village of Wotten Waven, located in the south-eastern part of the Roseau Valley. The area contains several volcanic fumaroles and a large number of hot sulphur springs.
The village has become a favourite destination for lovers of wellness treatments and natural hot spas due to the initiative of local residents who have organized many hot sulphur pools and at the same time retained the frame of virgin tropical gardens.
Commercial nature spas offer changing rooms, showers, drinks and snacks, and wellness practices. Popular commercial hot springs in the area include Ti Kwen Glo Cho, Bongo Baths, Tia’s Hot Springs, and Screw’s. The cost of visiting varies from US$ 5-10 per person.
Thermal sulphur springs in Dominica are a real treasure of the Caribbean, where you will find the perfect combination of climate, clean air and water enriched with minerals necessary for the body. Even after a single bath in the sulphur springs of Dominica, a beneficial effect is felt: the skin becomes clean and velvety, fatigue is relieved, and the body relaxes.
Important for psychological comfort is the opportunity to relax in Dominica away from industrial noise and exhaust gases, relieve stress and break away from the hassle for a while in order to take a calm look at the field of chess and find a solution to overwhelming tasks.