Spa-ahhhhh day

December 27, 2010

Our bodies have four major routes of elimination: the colon, the liver and kidneys, the lungs, and the skin.

The largest of these systems is our skin, which excretes up to a third of all the body’s impurities. Fat and water soluble toxicants and toxins, including insecticides, herbicides, solvents, toxic metals (like mercury) and natural body waste, can all be encouraged to leave the body more rapidly by stimulating sweating. Numerous studies support these findings and have demonstrated that heat-induced sweating (i.e. sauna’s) increases the sweat content of many toxicants [Ishiyama 1979, Henderson 1973, Root 1987, Schnare 1986, Tretjak 1990 Human & Exper Toxicol, Tretjak 1990 J Environ Sci, others]. Not surprisingly, vigorous exercise also reproduces these effects.

Most of us however don’t utilize our eliminatory organs as often as we should. My professor, Dr. John Hibbs said, “We eat fiber-poor, nutrient-poor diets, we don’t drink enough water, we don’t breathe deeply, we don’t sweat enough, and we don’t relax enough.” So today, Dr. Cullen and I are headed to the Olympus Spa to sweat and relax!

 The Olympus Spa is a Korean-style women’s only facility that has heated rooms, hydrotherapy pools, and saunas. Dr. Cullen and I both love the 140 degree salt room, as well as the ice plunge pool that allows us to practice an old nature cure technique called Contrast Hydrotherapy.

Contrast Hydrotherapy is a simple therapeutic technique used to increase circulation and promote detoxification. The contrasting application of hot and cold creates a pumping action that moves blood throughout the body. This increase in circulation brings nutrients, oxygen and immune cells to stressed and damaged tissues; at the same time metabolic wastes and inflammatory mediators are carried away.

Best of all, contrast hydrotherapy can be anywhere, not just at the spa. Here’s how to do it at home:

  1. At the end of your hot shower turn the water temperature to cold for 30 seconds.
  2. Switch the water temperature back to hot for 3 minutes; then cold for 30 seconds
  3. Repeat for a total of three hot-cold cycles, finishing with cold water.

So the next time you are in serious need of a spa day, please GO!    Doctor’s orders.

-Dr. Carly Bridge


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