Soaking It Up: The Enchanting Healing Waters of Glen Ivy Hot Springs
July 25, 2019
By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny
"Work. Don't Think. Relax."
― Ray Bradbury
A few weeks ago Edible Skinny was lucky enough to encounter the enchanting healing waters of Glen Ivy Hot Springs, a world class spa retreat located in Corona, California (less than an hour away from Los Angeles... depending on traffic...). For generations people have flocked to this rare oasis of wellbeing in SoCal. A spa destination since 1860 (that's right people, I said 1860!!!), it's the ultimate co-ed place to connect, escape, and rejuvenate with 17 pools, healthy cuisine, and activities galore. There's nothing quite like the Glen Ivy experience with Hydrotherapy including Mineral Baths, Hot and Cold Plunges, and Saline Pools; a famously fabulous Grotto where you're painted head to toe in a Eucalyptus, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil Concoction, and Therapeutic Red Clay Mineral Mud Baths.
Long long ago, the natural mineral springs and oaken forest at the foot of the Santa Ana Mountains served as a peaceful sanctuary for generations of indigenous people who gathered in search of healing and tranquility. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was campaigning for Highest Office in the Country the year that Glen Ivy Hot Springs was first advertised in the Los Angeles Star. The first country inn to carry the Glen Ivy Hot Springs (aka the Temescal Sulphur Springs, as Glen Ivy Hot Springs, was known prior to the 1880s) was constructed in 1870. At this time, the price of a swim in the mineral waters was just 25 Cents, which included a bathing suit and towel! ;-)
A couple of details about modern day Glen Ivy Hot Springs. The majority of the spa experience is outside, so you dress as if you're going to the beach, pool, or spa. Prices run you between $55 (Weekdays) to $75 (Weekend and Holidays). Right now they're in premium season so reservations are STRONGLY suggested! And Hello Thrifty; parking is FREE (take that Los Angeles!). Guests are encouraged to wear a dark colored or older bathing suit (as some of the treatments have a tendency to discolor fabrics) and sandals that can get wet. Also most of the spa is Co-Ed, so if you're modest make sure to also pack a cover up! No outside food or drink is allowed on the grounds as there's multiple restaurants and bars at Glen Ivy Hot Springs including: the Ivy Kitchen, the Starbucks based GoCo Cafe, the juice and smoothie based Chill Zone, and outdoor cabana bar The Lounge 1860. Water fountains are located throughout the space and utilized pure Glen Ivy well water! ;-)
And now on to the experience itself! Hydrotherapy is the name of the game at Glen Ivy Hot Springs with 17 different pool options. It's nothing new as the therapeutic use of water has been recorded in ancient Egyptian, Greek (Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness), and Roman civilizations. Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers, while Romans had communal public baths for their citizens.
And now that the history lesson is over with... First a foremost, Glen Ivy is known for their thermal mineral waters that are naturally heated by the earth's core (Science!!!). Water travels through the depths of geological time, dissolving minerals, and emerging as a spring with a unique chemical composition that can hydrate and heal. With a naturally occurring temperature of 103 Degrees, warm mineral water open pores allowing minerals to absorb into the skin while imparting warmth to soothe joints and muscles. The sulphur scent is a sign of the inherent minerals such as sodium sulfate and sodium carbonate and the visible white particles are traces of calcium and magnesium.
Along with the Mineral Baths, one of the other pool standouts of Glen Ivy Hot Springs is their Hot and Cold Plunges. Hot/Cold Hydrotherapy increases circulation, boosts the immune system, and leaves you feeling invigorated. Varying hot and cold temperatures can help dilute and constrict blood vessels to encourage blood flow and strengthens the immune system. Warm water soothes aching muscles while cold water increases circulation and contracts muscles to eliminate toxins. Additionally, cold water strengthens mucous membranes to help resist hay fever, allergies, coughs, and colds. Spend up to 5 minutes in the hot pool (102 Degrees), then move carefully to the cold pool (67 Degrees) for 45-60 seconds for a stimulating contrast. Repeat up to five times for maximum benefits! And then there's the Saline Pool (with a temperature of 104 Degrees). Epsom salt, a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate is known to relax the nervous system, alleviate many skin problems, soothe back pain, and muscle strain, treat colds and congestion, all while drawing toxins from the body. Absorption of magnesium can reduce inflammation, aid in muscles and serve nerve functions, and prevent artery hardening. Sulfate aids in the absorption of nutrients can ease migraine headaches and helps to eliminate toxins.
Then it was off to Glen Ivy's famously fabulous Grotto... Me and about seven other guests descended into the cave-like surroundings of The Grotto for a ritual that moisturizes and refreshes sun-drenched skin all for just a $30 Add-On. First discovered in ancient Rome, grottos were recognized as peaceful escapes from the outside world. The Italians used the abundance of natural moisture of grottos to create hydrating bath houses. Similarly the French, sought out these cool subterranean caves from the blazing summer heat.
Once below ground we were painted neck-to-toe with a warm aloe vera, coconut oil, eucalyptus, shea butter, and lavender masque. We then filed into the gently heated cavern where this silky formula soaked further into our skin as our body heated up (resulting in our pores opening up). Unlike most spa treatments, what makes the Grotto is that it can be enjoyed in a group or with friends. It is a spa treatment, and Glen Ivy expects you keep your voices to a whisper in the Grotto (something we definitely got an L on...). Twenty minutes later I was toasty enough to step into the next room to rinse off under cascading water before moving into the final, cooler grotto to relax with tea, water and green apples.
The irony is that after being cleansed in the Grotto I headed straight back to being Dirty (TOTALLY the Kat Thomas way...)! "Club Mud" is California's original therapeutic red clay mineral mud bath (perhaps you saw Tim Robbins do it in the movie "The Player"). This was by far my AB FAB FAVORITE part of Glen Ivy Hot Springs!!! The red clay mineral mud is formed using dry powder clay found in Temescal Valley and is mixed with Glen Ivy naturally occuring mineral water. The Mud Bath is filled with fresh thermal water every morning for cleanliness and guests' health. Clay and mud masks have been used for centuries to remove impurities from the skin and leave it looking clearer and healthier. These simple formulas can help unclog pores, control oil, and improve skin's overall appearance. Just note, due to the intense color of their red mud, Glen Ivy recommends using an older dark colored swimsuit. Also please take care with silver jewelry as it will tarnish!
So here's to life being delicious, all your moments being postcardworthy, and getting fabulously dirty at Club Mud! ;-)
Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at: http://www.thiswayadventures.com