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The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/23 01:08
Ok, so I have been to natural hot springs before and regular bathhouses/onsen countless times.

I have experienced the power of natural hot springs cure various cuts I had on my legs from hiking injuries, but my Japanese friend claimed that natural hot springs, especially those with diluted sulfur can heal all sorts of skin infections and diseases?

I'm hesitant to jump into an hot spring with even a tiny amount of sulfur. I know a lot of Japanese people do this, but isn't sulfur in even small amounts super toxic and dangerous?

Of course, I believe hot springs can probably relieve symptoms such as irritation, itching, pain, etc but can it actually say cure a rash such as a severe case of いんきんたむし(jock itch)?

I have a really bad case of jock itch that drives me crazy because I need to ride my bicycle to work everyday, which irritates it.

During Golden Week, I will travel with my Japanese friend to Kusatsu and test out various natural hot springs to see if they can indeed heal my skin rash...though I'm skeptical.

Has anyone had a skin rash or anything else that was cured by spending some time in these natural hot springs?
by blondesurferboy  

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/25 15:36
If you have a skin disease, you shouldn't be going into public onsen to infect other people -- from what I understand, jock itch is basically a fungal infection. You should see a skin doctor for it, if you haven't already.

As for healing properties of the water, I'm doubtful. I get rash easily (atopic or something, the root cause being basically non-infectious), and while the hot water temporarily relieves it, the effect doesn't last long.
by vlumi rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/25 16:31
Well, I have been to a skin doctor and tried different skin medicines. These creams don't cure the problem, but only relieve the symptoms such as itching and redness.

I would not enter a standard hot spring where I could infect others.

What I meant was planning to try dipping into a slightly sulfuric hot spring that these fungus can't survive in. There are people online claiming that the sulfur in the water kills off such fungus but I'm also doubtful.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/26 16:10
If you've been to the doctor and have some medicines for it already, then I would imagine it wouldn't be very infectious at least.

I would give it a shot, though wouldn't really expect any miracles. All of the onsen are advertising how the minerals they happen to have cure [long list of ailments], but I haven't found any harm from dipping, either. And the relief, even if short, does feel good. :)
by vlumi rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/26 18:41
Exactly, I'm not really the miracle believing type. I'm always trying to sniff out the snake oil salesmen haha.

My Japanese friend swears by the power of these natural hot springs, so I'm going to give them a try but not expecting any cures.

It will still be a fun vacation, so there is that to look forward to.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/26 20:56
The pH of different onsen waters can vary significantly depending on it's source and minerals present. I've been to some onsens where the pH has been in the high 1's which is quite a bit stronger than coke or even normal cooking vinegar (pH is on a log scale). As such, a large amount of bacteria don't thrive in this kind of environment.

So to put it simply, it can help disinfect and keep bacterial numbers down but it's not as "amazing" as some of the claims which are often made. The belief in the benefits are most likely based on these antibacterial properties before understanding of germs in the 1800's.

On another note, I do believe that it makes your skin much softer as it removes a certain part of your skin. Bathing in low pH waters over a couple of days can keep your skin much smoother for a couple of weeks. Note that the sulfur is in such low concentrations that it is not poisonous to bathe in or accidentally ingest by mistake. I do however find onsens to be extremely relaxing though and will visit Japan as an excuse to frequent them.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/27 03:12
TBH, these onsen is more relaxing for a tourist rather than healing, the onsen water is not going to heal or get rid of the problem in a instant or with a few good bathing, so it's more beneficial for local who use them day after day.
by kms899 rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/4/27 18:39
Yes, I agree. If I really enjoy my trip to Gunma prefecture with all the natural hot springs I guess I could find an English school to teach there for a year or two. It is also an option because after living in Shizuoka City for more than 3 years, I have grown accustomed to living here in the countryside of Japan.

Although there are more work opportunities in Tokyo, I can't see myself really enjoying a stress-free life there. Of course, I visit there often alone and with friends.

If I lived in Gunma or let's say another area with natural hot springs such as Nagano or Gifu, I would just use the natural hot springs there over a long-term period of time and see how that helps.

I live in Shizuoka City, so there aren't too many hot springs around. The closest bunch are in the Izu peninsula with some around Mt. Fuji as well.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/5/1 22:54
I just visited Kusatsu and bought some sulfur which can be used in the ofuro. The amount to use is only about a half a tablespoon because it is strong.

Of course, I plan to be super careful using this stuff day to day. I'm planning to try it every night for month and a half and see how it helps.

What is great is the shop owner is able to mail more to my address in Shizuoka from Gunma and he only charges 1,000yen. He has also been working with this sulfur for healing purposes for over 60 years, so he definitely knows a lot about it.

I'm still skeptical but I am going to give it try and see if there is any truth to its healing properties.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

Re: The healing power of natural hot springs? 2018/5/7 12:31
Well, I have been soaking in sulfur baths for about a week now and it is indeed curing my jock itch.

I know it will take at least a month or so to completely get rid of it, but it is definitely not as bad as it was before I started doing this.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

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