Soap Lake, Washington:
We lovers of the outdoors, hikers,
runners, bicyclists and skiers, after a long day in the hills have often
spelled relief, "Hot Tub" or "Hot Bath." We can all
agree that there is something very relaxing and soothing to body and soul
in a hot bath. Ancient societies like the Greek and Roman empires knew the
benefits of bathing ands built elaborate bath houses, some with special
chambers where hot air was circulated beneath the floors and behind walls
for the comfort of the bathers.
Spa in Our Backyard
by Eva Urbaniak, N.D.
Here in the Northwest we are blessed to be surrounded by healing waters
in the form of natural hot springs. Some that come to mind are Goldmeyer
Hot Springs near Snoqualmie Pass, Sol Duk and Olympic Hot Springs over
on the peninsula, and Baker Hot Springs in the North Cascades. But only
a three hour drive east of Seattle lies one of Washington's best kept
secrets, a spa seeker's dream come true, a highly mineralized lake called
Soap Lake, with a small town named after it. The chemical composition
of the lake water is nearly identical to Baden-Baden Germany, the world
famous spa. It contains 16 minerals in varying amounts. For many centuries
the Native Americans of the Washington and surrounding area nations brought
their ailing people and animals to the lake for healing, and enjoyed playing
games, gambling and socializing. The name given by the Native American
people for Soap Lake was "Smokiam," which in their language
meant "Healing Water."
The extremely alkaline, highly mineralized water of Soap Lake has been
credited with curing such conditions as arthritis and rheumatism, skin
disorders such as psoriasis and eczema, muscular pains and nervousness.
It also seems to be the only known successful treatment for the rare Buerger's
disease (Thromboangitis Obliterans). Since the only treatment that medical
science has come up with is amputation of the affected limbs, one can
easily see that taking a relaxing bath in this remarkable water would
be most preferential. There are folks who have re-located and become long-time
residents of Soap Lake who arrived as a last resort before amputation
surgery and still have all their limbs and no sign of disease.
Of course, if Soap Lake water can do such miracles for sick people, imagine
the benefits to someone who is healthy. The salty water has a strong sulfur-like
odor and a very slick and slippery texture. It is best to be able to bathe
in the water for weeks at a time, taking a minimum of two baths a day,
but even a weekend excursion can provide benefit to anyone seeking some
natural style relaxation. One lovely benefit of Soap Lake is that the
lake water is pumped directly into homes and motels in closer proximity
to the lake's edge, which enables one to enjoy the water at any temperature.
Water should be warm, not hot, for older people.
So, if you are planning a trip across the Columbia to Eastern Washington
this summer, or at any time of the year, treat yourself to a weekend treat/retreat
do-it-yourself spa. Three hotels on the waterfront of Soap Lake that have
Soap Lake water plumbed in to the rooms are Notaras Lodge, The Inn at
Soap Lake, and the Tumwata Motel. Soap Lake offers all the comforts of
home, with much peace and quiet, warmth and sunshine, breathtaking views
of canyons that have remained unchanged since the Ice Age, and of course,
the beneficial healing waters of Smokiam.
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