Keep it hot and healthy

Heat-based spa treatments offer a wealth of benefits, from pain relief to detoxification and weight loss

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HOT stone foot therapy

The healing hand of natural heat has been invoked long before the advent of modern spas. In the days of yore, albolarios or hilots would rub their palms briskly to create heat to better administer their treatments, while a soothing hot compress is widely used to alleviate pain in different areas of the body.

Spa-goers today relish the revitalizing properties of heat or steam. Hot stone massage, steamed poultices, saunas, Turkish baths and steam rooms are among the popular treatments availed of by spaholics. With the multitude of heat-based spa treatments, here are some of the top benefits that can be gained from a heated spa session:

Sleep like a baby, glow like a star. A hot stone massage can induce sound sleep. Studies show that heated basalt rocks commonly used for this therapy loosens tight muscles which allow easier kneading. Heat seeps through the body, creating a warm sensation that lulls one to sleep. The temperature of the stone is as hot as one can tolerate; it is a matter of preference but generally more enjoyable with moderate heat. Heated stones can also be used for a refreshing facial that leaves the skin glowing. Hot stone foot reflexology is also a must-try for spaholics.

Pain drain. Soaking in a hot tub for a few minutes can effectively relax muscles and offer relief for joint pains. It decreases the frequency and amount of pain signals sent to the brain and, as a result, offers temporary respite for those suffering from nagging arthritic pains.

Good elements in, bad elements out. When one is exposed to steam, sweat glands are stimulated. This causes deep sweating that flushes out unwanted toxins from the body, such as lead, zinc and copper, which are picked up from the environment. Steam also allows skin pores to open to release not just perspiration but also deep-seated dirt, especially beneficial before a facial or body scrub.

No “waist” of time. Though sitting in a sauna may seem like idle time for some people, the truth is, it gives a good cardio workout. It is said that an average person releases a pint of sweat during a brief session in a sauna. However, professional weight trainers still recommend combining sauna with exercise to attain the ideal weight.

Whether you opt for a relaxing hot stone massage, or a few minutes in a steam room or in a sauna, it is still best to keep in mind a few important precautions before indulging in the heated spa treatment of your choice. It is always best to:

• Keep yourself hydrated; you lose a lot of fluid, and drinking plenty of water can avoid dehydration;

• Watch the time; professionals consider 15 minutes the maximum time a person can stay inside a steam room, but should you feel any discomfort, leave the steam room immediately;

• Consider your health history; exposure to higher temperature may not be suitable for everyone, and may not be recommended for those with prior or current medical conditions.

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