Water. A magical elixir that creates and sustains life. It's where we all began. Civilizations were built around it. Wars were fought over it. It can be used to soothe. It can be used for destruction.
And though its purposes are varied and vast, I would like expound upon the fact that it's one of the most healing substances in existence. Water is not just for drinking. In fact, hydrotherapy is a thing, and there is a whole world of therapies that simply involve water.
Living in Fargo, we are constantly seeking out ways to make winter more enjoyable. Scandinavians have it down, so inspired by them, my friends built (I did help a little!) a Finnish mobile sauna. Its name is Log the Sauna, and it's adorable.
I got to enjoy said sauna this weekend, and it reminded me of all of ways we can use the magical healing powers of water, especially this time of year.
Starting with saunas. Did you know that there are over five million inhabitants of Finland and over three million saunas? They take their sauna-ing very seriously. And for good reason.
Saunas have shown to promote deep relaxation, help with muscle and joint pain, detox the skin by opening up pores, increase blood flow, and help alleviate conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
In the same vein, steam rooms are also great. They use wet heat instead of dry. They have similar health benefits as saunas, but they are better for congestion and asthma.
Side note: I actually just had an essay posted on a travel blog about my first experience in a european steam room in Poland. It was quite, um, educational. You can read it HERE.
When I lived in Utah, I was lucky enough to live by some natural hot springs. If you do or are traveling near some, I highly suggest chillin in those. They not only feel great, but the natural minerals are great for your skin and circulation and all sorts of things. Just do your research to make sure they are healthy hot springs and not gnarly ones.
Alternating hot and cold water is also an interesting form of therapy. This can be done with different compresses, going from a hot bath to a cold bath, changing the temperature of water while in the shower, or my favorite, rolling in the snow and then jumping in a hot tub.
Cold water is stimulating and causes the blood vessels to constrict. Hot water is calming and opens up the blood vessels. Switching between the two causes a flushing action that can be good for cleansing out the muscles and other tissues. It helps with elimination, decreasing inflammation, and increasing circulation.
There are many other cultures around bathing, and many forms of hydrotherapy. But just like any therapy, it can get pretty extreme. I suggest using it as a compliment to your life instead of relying on it to heal major conditions.
But simple and enjoyable uses of hydrotherapy are easy to find. Incorporating them into your daily life can really improve your quality of life. Be it taking a warm bath with bath salts and essential oils or finding a sauna or steam room in your area.
And of course, stay hydrated!!! Don't get me going on that. Just drink water. All of the time. I'll save my tangent on that for a future post :)
Until next time,
Take good care.