21 Days – Indian Springs, Soak #10

Indian Springs, Truth or Consequences NM
Posted on April 24, 2013 in
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Indian Springs – Large Pool

Hrrrr, what a day, work has me feeling terrorized! Stayed at the shop past closing, toiled for another couple hours, then trudged reluctantly to Indian Springs to get my soak in, arm and shoulder achy, emotional fuse extra stubby.

I think at this point I’ve come to realize that even if I’m not in the mood, taking 20 minutes out of any day to float in hot water is not a bad thing. And – though I love baths in general – taking the mineral waters isn’t like a bath at home. First off, no fragrant bubbles, ha ha, but that’s offset by no “home” outside the bathroom door. Being in an environment devoted to the hot water feels nurturing, like self-care.

Indian Springs large bathIndian Springs’ large bath is very different from the small one – comparatively, it’s spacious and feels less cave-like. There’s plenty of room to change, or to do the hokey pokey, with just a plain wooden bench and brick floor and then, stairs to water in a roomy bath.

I use the time soaking to troubleshoot a problem I’m having with a project. I hatch a few plans and think about how useful it can be to get some distance.

Flinking (floating + thinking) away, I also ponder a theory someone shared the other day about folks who come to T or C specifically for the 21-day cure. They suggested those people probably have other treatments as well—some sort of laying on of hands, like body work or reiki. Many of the spas can arrange a treatment for you, whether it’s massage, a mud wrap, reflexology or even chiropractic, with one of many practitioners we have in T or C. At some lodges, you can get pampered right on-site.

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Magnificent Magnolia Ellis

Back in the day when Hot Springs NM was known as the “City of Health,” Magnificent Magnolia might have healed my carpal in just a few minutes, or so it is said. Magnolia Ellis was one of Hot Springs’ most famous, and most beloved, healers, who made her home here for more than 20 years, beginning in the 1930s. Her special healing touch is said to have been magnetic, a “spark,” and there are claims that she could diagnose your ills with just a glance.

Back then, sufferers of TB-type illnesses were being told by doctors to move to arid climates such as ours; Magnolia would reportedly see over 100 patients a day, and when her waiting room was full, people would wait outside in their cars hoping to see her when she left. They came from all across the country, and around the world. They paid what they could, even if it was only a piece of their own handiwork.

Magnolia Ellis building markerI can be a penny pincher, and generally regard massage or any other body treatment as a giant splurge. But maybe, if I’d been around during Magnolia’s time, I could have stitched something up to offer as payment! And then I’d be cured of everything, from my shoulder to my short fuse.

I’ve heard that Magnolia also prescribed baths daily to complement her treatments. Might she have been the originator of the 21 Days of Soaks plan? Seems entirely possible.

(Magnolia Ellis’s great-granddaughter, Wendy Waters, is a massage therapist in Albuquerque and has written a nice tribute to Magnolia, which you can read on her website.)


I’m half way through my 21 consecutive days of “taking the waters” and it’s time to take stock of how it’s working for me. My shoulder and elbow still ache off and on. My carpal tunnel and bum hip continue to bother. Headaches and eye strain lurk around every corner and my mind is still as messy as my desk. Ten consecutive soaks have not cured all that ails me.

But this may make perfect sense, if you consider that – I live and work in T or C so when I crawl into a tub to soak, all my work and aggravations lie in wait on the other side of town.

People who come to town with soaking foremost on their agenda are either waterbugs, wanting to try every spa and soak as often as possible, or they’re focused solely on improving their wellbeing, maybe even treating a specific ailment by doctor’s orders.

Had I traveled from afar just to soak for 3 weeks, and get treated with massage (or magic sparks) in between soaks, my ailments might be much easier to cure, or forget about.

For now, I’ll settle for this: for at least 15 minutes a day, my eyes and fingers get a break from the screen and keyboard. And being suspended in hot water with only a ceiling to stare at can be conducive to problem-solving (more so, turns out, than banging one’s head against the wall – surprising but true!).

We’ll see what the next 11 days bring…

Magnolia Ellis Building, 2013

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