Explore Sycamore Mineral Springs
Bubbling hot springs proliferate in the seismically and volcanic western United States, so it probably isn’t a surprise for us here on the Central Coast to find out that there are mineral springs in the area. But it must have been a shock for two prospectors in 1886 that were digging for oil in the Avila Valley when instead they hit hot sulfur mineral water.
Mineral springs occur naturally all over the world and can contain a variety of different minerals and dissolved substances. These waters are believed to have therapeutic value and have been used by man for eons to relieve many health problems. The prospectors realized that they had something possibly even more valuable than the oil they were searching for so they established a spa and resort that is now known as Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.
While the resort appears to be well known and utilized for many romantic liaisons by people near and far, most are not aware that it is open to the public for use without having to book a room. “You can rent the hot tubs by the hour,” Marina Huston, Marketing Director, said, “You don’t have to stay at the resort. The facility is open every day of the year and the tubs close at midnight.
There are four wells on the property and water is pumped out hot and then cooled down a bit so the temperature range is from 98 degrees to about 103 degrees. There is a regulator that circulates the water all the time and keeps the temperature constant.
“We do studies on the minerals all the time,” Huston said. “Chlorine is added to the outside tubs as this is a health department requirement. Waters that are pumped into the rooms come straight from the ground and run hot and cold and contain no chlorine.”
The main mineral component of these waters is sulfur. “Sulfur is good for the skin,” Huston commented, “it’s not a cure, but can help with eczema.” The smell associated with a sulfur spring is caused by sulfur dioxide gas escaping into the air. “Not all of the tubs have the odor,” Huston said, “some people feel that if there is no smell there are no minerals, but this isn’t true. Regardless of odor, the minerals are naturally in the water.”
Along with the many tubs available, there is also the Oasis, a large mineral spring that can fit up to 30 people. Here there is a waterfall that spills into a lagoon filled with fresh warm water. A privacy fence encloses the spot making it the perfect place for a quiet group getaway. The Oasis is available for rent at standard hot tub rates.
Hydrotherapy has been shown to be very beneficial for treatment of a variety of problems that plague mankind. The three main healing ingredients are heat, buoyancy, and massage. Many people with joint and muscle pain find spending time in a hot tub a great therapeutic benefit. “We recommend that people consult with their physician before using a hot tub,” Huston said, “as they are not recommended for pregnant women, people suffering with high blood pressure or on blood thinning medications.”
While the hot tubs are a main part of Sycamore Mineral Springs’ business, they also offer massage, facials, body treatments, yoga, pilates, T’ai Chi, and spa and wellness packages. “No matter what treatment is chosen, the person spends 30 minutes in the hot tub first,” Huston said.
There are also a variety of rates and session times to choose from. One of the best, especially for locals, is the Day Away Package that is held on Mondays through Thursdays. This includes a 60 minute hot tub soak, a 60 minute facial treatment or massage, 60 minutes of yoga, pilates, or T’ai Chi, and brunch at the Gardens of Avila Restaurant. “We also do specials for locals that give them 20% off the rates” Huston commented.
Yoga classes are held every day and there are two to three sessions to choose from at a cost of only $15 an hour. “You can also get a Yoga pass card for $100 that never expires,” Huston said, “and you can use this whenever you want as it is one on one treatment.”
A new element for local people starting in 2013 is the Boot Camp Package. This is a five week class with meetings twice a week including 10 boot camp classes with certified fitness trainer Amelia Degenkolb, choice of 10 yoga, pilates, or T’ai Chi classes, 30 minute hot tub soak after each boot camp session, $20 off spa treatments 60 minutes or longer from Monday through Thursday, and 20% off breakfast or lunch.
“We also offer a free monthly workshop featuring local practitioners on health, wellness, and weight loss on the second Monday of the month,” Huston said. These workshops meet in a room above the Gardens of Avila Restaurant.
On May 11th Sycamore Mineral Springs will host the Central Coast Wellness Conference in conjunction with the Wellness Kitchen and more about this will be available on their web site as well as information about all the packages and offerings available. Go to www.sycamoresprings.com .
This is a fun destination whether you are a visitor to the Central Coast or a long time resident. Just walking on the paths and trails on the property is a renewing experience. They also have the only authentically built labyrinth in the United States that anyone can visit in order to meditate. The Spa is situated in a tranquil setting amidst tall sycamore trees along the banks of the San Luis Obispo Creek. Come to stay, come to eat in the world class restaurant, or come for a day and experience the ancient healing waters of Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.
By Ruth Ann Angus