The healing waters of Eureka Springs have been attracting visitors for centuries, and today, our town is a popular destination for those seeking relaxation, rejuvenation and wellness.
The History of Healing Waters in Eureka Springs
The first people to discover the springs in Eureka Springs were the Native American tribes who inhabited the region. They believed that the waters had healing powers and used them for medicinal purposes. The first European settlers to the area arrived in the 1800s, and they too recognized the potential of the springs. By the late 1800s, Eureka Springs had become a popular destination for those seeking relief from a variety of ailments.
The Science Behind Healing Waters
So, what makes the waters in Eureka Springs healing? The answer lies in the composition of the water itself. The springs in Eureka Springs are fed by a deep underground reservoir, where the water is impacted by the Earth's geothermal energy. As the water travels through the earth, it picks up minerals and other substances that are believed to have healing properties. The water is believed to be rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, as well as trace elements like lithium, which are said to have therapeutic effects.
Explore the town’s more than 60 cold springs, some of which are in caves; a few trickle from landscaped pocket parks around downtown.
Visitors also stroll the zigzag streets and admire the brick and limestone homes and businesses, which cling to the steep hillsides and are decked out with wrought-iron balconies, turrets and fanciful gingerbread trim.
The Healing Properties of Minerals
Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, and it is also believed to have a calming effect on the body.
Magnesium is known to have muscle-relaxing properties, and it is also essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Potassium is important for regulating blood pressure and maintaining proper hydration levels in the body.
Lithium, a trace element that is often used to treat bipolar disorder, is believed to have mood-stabilizing effects and can help reduce anxiety and depression.
In the last 1800s, the combination of these minerals and trace elements in the water of Eureka Springs were said to have a variety of health benefits. People have reported feeling more relaxed and less stressed after soaking in the springs and others have reported relief from aches and pains, improved digestion, and even better sleep.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is a reminder of the days when Eureka’s waters bubbled from the crevices of limestone and made the town into a popular spa destination. Members of the Osage Native American tribe were the first to talk of the springs’ “healing” powers in the 1770s.
One early settler, Dr. Alvah Jackson, reported that the spring waters had cured his son of an eye ailment in 1856, and he set up a business selling Dr. Jackson’s Eye Water. The waters also were used to care for soldiers during the Civil War.
Crystal Deposits and Healing Properties
Another theory about the healing waters of Eureka Springs is that they are influenced by the underground crystal deposits in the area.
Eureka Springs is known for its natural abundance of quartz crystals, and some people believe that these crystals can influence the properties of the water. While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, many visitors to Eureka Springs believe that the crystals give the water an added boost of healing energy.
The water here remained a local marvel until 1879, when Jackson’s friend Judge J.B. Saunders visited one of the springs and discovered that his overall health had improved. He used his influence to promote the springs beyond Eureka’s borders. In a matter of months, the area was transformed from a wilderness to a boomtown, where a community of 5,000 sprang up.
Do the Healing Waters of Eureka Springs Still Exist Today?
While the springs are now undrinkable (due to pollution), the springs of Eureka Springs still exist today, and they continue to attract visitors from all over the world.
In fact, the town of Eureka Springs has developed into a thriving tourist destination, with a variety of hotels, resorts, and spas offering treatments and other wellness services.
And, while it is true that Eureka Springs is known for its natural abundance of quartz crystals, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that these crystals can influence the properties of the water in the area.
The water quality got an official stamp of approval when it was deemed second to that of Switzerland’s at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
Today, the entire town is on the National Register of Historic Places and features one-of-a-kind shops, galleries with fine art or folk art, craft stores, and restaurants where the chef who makes the meals probably owns the place, and yes, water still quenches the experiences here in some way.
Eureka Springs is near two huge lakes — Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake — as well as the White River, popular for trout fishing, and Kings River, where smallmouth bass can be caught.
The healing waters of Eureka Springs have a rich history and a strong following of believers. While there is no scientific evidence to support all of the claims made about the healing properties of these waters, there is no denying the relaxing and rejuvenating effects that natural spring water can have on the body and mind.❤️