Whenever I tell people about Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, I start off by saying, it’s an old bathhouse town.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences,_New_Mexico, “The first bath in the area was built at ‘John Cross Ranch’ over Geronimo Springs in the late 1800s.” According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/,
Downtown Truth or Consequences sits atop a large natural aquifer that produces somewhat salty, odorless water ranging in temperature from 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. Were the city (and nearby Elephant Butte Dam) not here, the downtown area would be a swampy basin of warm mud, subject to seasonal flooding from the Rio Grande.
The Chiricahua (Warm Springs) Apaches named these springs “Place to Pray” and considered them a sacred place for healing. (Many locals repeat the “Geronimo Soaked Here” tale, but it is thought by local historians to wishful thinking…)
During the late 1800s, while neighboring areas…were experiencing the Gold and Silver Rush, the hot springs were visited by more and more people and the area became known as “Palomas Hot Springs.” The first generation of bath houses were actually tents, and a soak entailed laying in the hot mud and slathering it all over oneself; doing so was thought to cure rheumatism.
The same website says that the hot thermal water currently found in the bathhouses in T or C
flows out of a rift along the Rio Grande that appeared more than 50 million years ago.The rift uplifted Truth or Consequences’ landmark hill, and faults along the rift allow deep groundwater to flow freely to the surface without losing heat or minerals — producing pristine waters with temperatures ranging from 98 to 115 degrees, with trace elements of 38 different minerals. The pH of the water is 7, or neutral.
With almost 2,700 parts per million of assorted minerals, these thermal springs constitute some of the most heavily mineralized water in the United States. The continually flowing waters also have two important and unique features:
— The water has no unpleasant odor.
— The single largest ingredient in the water is chloride, a naturally occurring germ killer that sterilizes the skin and ensures the purity of the water.
Located in the downtown Hot Springs Bathhouse Historic and Commercial District, the spas and bathhouses of Truth or Consequences are central to its history. The region gained recognition as a health center at the turn of the century, and in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s motorists flocked to area resorts. [see a brochure for “Hot Springs New Mexico, City of Health”]
Some were prescribed the “21 day soak” regimen, said to cure “anything that ails you.” In a nutshell, the regimen is – soak in our hot springs once daily for 21 days, at around the same time each day, and spend as much time resting & recovering immediately afterward as you taking the waters [sic].
According to http://charlesspa.com/water.html, the following is an analysis of the hot springs water in Truth or Consequences:
Artesian Well Analysis determined by the Los Alamos National Laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico, from samples taken May 31, 1987.
I have soaked in seven of the of the eight bathhouses open to the public in Truth or Consequences. (The baths at Fire Water Lodge and the Pelican Spa are open only to lodging guests. I have not soaked a the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, as it is really fancy and out of my price range.) To read my thoughts about each of the bathhouses where i took the waters, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.