Hydrotherapy treatments can be relaxing, healing ways to extend the benefits of your massage. Treatments you perform at home can help you take charge of your own health. Aches and pains, injuries, muscle tightness, and even joint stiffness can all be soothed with these simple, at-home hydrotherapy treatments.
Born out of necessity, ai chi ne combines elements of movement reeducation, touch, and focused breath to assist clients in their therapeutic process. Just like traditional bodywork, ai chi ne creates an immediate energy connection between client and practitioner, but with one big difference — although it can be modified for land use, ai chi ne is done in the water.
I’ve followed the spa market since the late 1980s, when I wrote my first spa feature for a consumer fitness magazine. Since then, I think I’ve undergone every spa therapy available. I’ve had my body wrapped in chocolate, painted in paraffin, doused with a variety of liquids, and scrubbed with herb-infused salts and sugars. I’ve detoxed in traditional Mexican sweat lodges and sat in henna-infused sitz baths in Malaysia. I’ve had mud wraps in Italy, sipped the spa waters in Baden-Baden and Evian, and have had more facials than I can count.
In utero, the unborn child lives in a floating state, breathing the nurturing fluid that surrounds him. He tumbles and rolls, all the while being suspended weightlessly and without strain. It’s this “small” biological miracle that protects human life during its most fragile of times.
I am not a “spa” kind of woman.
Or so I once thought. I’m an average, 30-something woman, who like all of us, is trying to find balance between work, family and self-care. I don’t get my nails done — they break before I get a chance. I’m not high fashion — I’m high comfort. I don’t revel in cosmetic excursions. My cosmetic bag holds base, blush and mascara; of which the brands haven’t changed in years. In my mind, I don’t sound like the typical spa-goer. But that’s not what “spa” is about any more.
For centuries, Europeans have flocked to spas for medicinal purposes. With roots dating back to ancient times, “taking the waters” is a traditional integrative approach, utilizing the benefits of balneotherapies such as thermal and salt water soaks and mud applications. In addition, spas offer physiotherapies including various forms of massage, CO2 applications (naturally carbonated tub baths or immersion in chambers), dietary regimens and health education.
We wash it day in and day out. We protect it from the sun’s harmful rays. We rub everything from baby oil to the most expensive potions on it. But are we forgetting one of the healthiest things we can do for our skin?
Skin brushing can sustain or reestablish the skin’s functional integrity and youthful glow. It aids in waste removal, helps slow the skin’s aging process, increases circulation, even improves digestion and alleviates muscular tension. As such, skin brushing is a particularly powerful therapy which can positively impact the entire body.
Taking the Waters. It’s a phrase that holds mysterious connotations from a simpler, ancient time. Just as with water therapies today, Taking the Waters was, and is, a physical venture into healing, cleansing and rejuvenation. What has been significantly lost from the Taking the Waters experience of old is the integration of domains. Art, socialization, nutrition, honest leisure, discussion, music — these interdisciplinary elements were all part of the spa culture of which Taking the Waters has historically been a part.
Skin is an amazingly complex organ and, by weight, the largest of the body. It covers some 22 square feet and weighs around 9 pounds (roughly 7 percent of body weight).1 Its integumentary system provides the front line of defense for the body, as well as being expressive of physiological conditions and emotional states. Skin is the extension of our nervous system to the outside of the body. Often referred to as our third lung, it is involved in processes of exchange between the internal and external environments — respiration, absorption and elimination.
There is a quality of peace and calm when you duck your head under the still, early-morning waters of an empty swimming pool. A cocoon develops naturally around you, with the light and sound of the outside world finding only distorted reality in this quiet place. The sound of your heartbeat, the introspection that occurs and the warmth and safety of the water all lend themselves to a surreal sense of being.