Posts Tagged ‘steam aphrodisiac’

Get Hot…Stay Cool

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Our bodies have amazing – and fantastic – reactions when exposed to concentrated bursts of heat and cold. Need proof? Just look at an athlete after any game, sitting with a heat pack on his shoulder or soaking in an ice bath. And more often than not, athletes are advised to use a combination of temperatures – going from one extreme to the other – to facilitate circulation and healing. Turns out, sports aficionados aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this type of therapy. In fact, temperature-based relaxation techniques have become particularly hot among spa-goers, for their refreshing feel and myriad health benefits. (Read more below)

Hot and Steamy

Hot and Steamy

It’s no secret that different temperatures cause different reactions in our bodies. Heat is a stimulant, increasing blood flow and accelerating physiological processes; while cold has the opposite effect, constricting blood vessels and numbing nerves. On their own, each extreme has specific health benefits, but when used in combination, the results can be invigorating. Exposure to a heated environment (which helps to increase blood flow and energy), followed by a sudden exposure to a cooler temperature, allows the cold to “trap” that increased blood flow, preserving that extra energy throughout your body and immediately increasing circulation. And happily, spas are quickly becoming the best place to experiment with hot-to-cold relaxation techniques, or what many call “contrast therapy.”

The best approach to this casual science can be summed up in three steps: heat-cold-repeat. And while some prefer the more traditional hot tub/cold plunge-pool method, don’t feel limited to any technique. Remember, it’s more about the change in temperature than how you get there! Which means that you can do ten minutes in a steam shower, followed by one minute under a cold rain faucet (and then back again!) for an energizing burst. Or take a seven-minute soak in a heated pool and then a five-minute respite with an iced washcloth over your face and behind your neck – best feeling in the world. To get the most out of your extreme temperature adventure, it’s best to use your time exposed to your cold source (be it shower, plunge pool or ice sauna) as more of a “burst” than an elongated period of time. Try different combinations and see what you like best! Ready to give it a shot? You’re getting warmer…


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