This week The Buzz Bus visited Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs in Calistoga, California. Dr. Wilkinson was the first man to utilize the healing benefits of the water in California. Over 50 years ago he brought the strange concept of “mud bathing” to California residents. Mud baths are still considered somewhat “out there”, but the benefits of such treatments have been proven to cleanse and heal your skin. Dr. Wilkinson’s combines pure volcanic ash and mineralized hot springs water to form the mud in which you immerse your body in. Having never experienced a mud bath before, I was a tad apprehensive yet also excited.
Since I was going with my boss (for my job) and she had experienced a mud bath before I was warned to take my bathing suit (we are not ready to cross that line in our business relationship). Most of the team at Dr. Wilkinson’s has been there for many years and the two women who guided Kristi and I happened to be sisters who had been there for almost 15 years. We were shown to the changing room, where normally you would remove all your clothing and slip into the provided robe…I put on my bathing suit (which the mud did not stain). After changing, you shower off then get into the mud…a strange experience. I felt a mix of excitement for the fact that someone was finally telling me to get into the mud, and apprehension at the fact that I would just be sitting in mud…that others had sat in…not a thought I kept for long. You are only in the mud for about 10-15 minutes, but with that heat it was more than enough for me. It does not burn, but I would say it was a similar temperature to making your bath a tad too hot so that in a few minutes it’s comfortable…yet the heat never changes. They place a cold towel on your forehead and cucumber slices over your eyes, which was an amazing plus and helps to keep you from overheating. After the mud bath, you shower off the mud and enter the mineral bath tub with jets that soothe your body while helping to remove the rest of the mud. A blanket wrap follows your bath allowing your body to rest and cool down, after which you can enjoy a thirty or sixty minute massage (a must for the total experience).
A traditional mud bath, where you are immersed in the mud, is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. I realized I am not a fan of being in hot treatments for too long, but I am glad I had the opportunity to experience Dr. Wilkinson’s and I will gladly return. They have kept the authentic feel of tradition at Dr. Wilkinson’s, while still providing you the most advanced treatments. Next time your in wine country make sure to stop by!
A few tips for mud bathing:
- Go with someone you are comfortable getting naked with to get the full experience
- DRINK WATER! all that heat is very dehydrating, the staff will tell you the same
- Don’t expect glamour…it’s mud
- Speak up if you feel dizzy or too hot, your body may be overheating
- SMILE and enjoy it!!