Beijing's Hot Springs, Good for Your Body and Soul
    2009-12-15 09:35:25      Web Editor: Xu Fei

The interior of the xiaotangshan spa resort and conference centre lobby.


By Julianne Page


Hot springs have been enjoyed in China for centuries because of their ability to relax as well as their positive effects on the human body.


The enjoyment of hot springs used to be reserved for imperial families alone and can actually be traced back to the days of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC).


These days however you don't need to be a member of the royal elite to enjoy such luxury and relaxation. In fact, these days Beijing residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to hot spring resorts with many of them located just an hours drive to the north of the city.


Recently I had the opportunity to visit one such resort which not only provided a large and impressive hot springs pool, but also a variety of other activities and services.


The xiaotangshan hot springs have been famous for over three hundred years. Legend has it members of the Qing dynasty imperial royal family (1644-1912) would come here to relax too. These days xiaotangshan combines an extensive spa resort and conference centre.


In addition to its hot springs the resort offers a range of facilities including bowling lanes, ping pong tables, pool tables, a swimming pool, massage services, hotel rooms and conference facilities. If you're in need of a haircut there's even a barber shop.


The highlight is of course the hot springs which are considered beneficial for increasing blood circulation, easing stress and detoxifying the body.


Hot steam rises from the large pool at the xiaotangshan resort which is divided into two sections, one at 50 degrees and the other at around 32 degrees Celsius. The spring is produced by the emergence of geothermal heated groundwater rising up from the earth's interior. This type of heated water contains a very high mineral content and is believed to hold therapeutic value for those who use it.


I'm no physician but I do know that set outside in the cool night air these hot springs proved to be the perfect tonic to a hard week at work and a form of relaxation which I can recommend. Do try it if you get the chance.




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