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Banya No. 1: A Russian treat in the heart of London

Dröm UK have never been afraid to go that extra mile to give customer satisfaction, so when one of our consultancy clients told us that he wanted an authentic Russian Banya in his project, and that he was a member of the famous Banya No 1 in London, we knew we had to go and experience it for ourselves so that we could fully understand his requirements …

Image courtesy of Banya No. 1

Now even though I work for a wellbeing company, relaxation and massage and generally getting hot and sweaty is really not my thing.  So it was with some trepidation that I accompanied Erin, my enthusiastic MD, up to London to be treated to the full Russian Banya treatment.

The Banya itself is located in the basement of an apartment block in Micawber Street in North London.  Erin had booked us in for the 3 hour Gold Package.   This did nothing to calm my apprehension as it included a Parenie treatment, a honey and salt scrub, a 25 minute massage (no seriously, not my idea of fun) and a mud décolletage/footbath treatment.  But descending down the glass staircase, smelling the sweet aroma of eucalyptus and hearing the soothing sound of running water, I started to feel a sense of excitement, a sense of something different.

Here we go …..

Once we were changed we were guided to a booth in the lounge/dining area which acted as a bit of a base for us.   This was a place to leave our phones and magazines (and bikinis at times!!) and relax with herbal teas and beetroot kvass throughout the morning.

Then it was time to start!  We were accompanied by one of the therapists, a lovely lady called Rasa, who turned out to be our guide and therapist for the whole session.    Before we started she let us take photos of us posing with the veniks (the bunches of eucalyptus branches used for the Parenie massage).   Then she told us to sit in the Banya for around 5 minutes to get acclimatised whilst wearing a less than flattering sauna hat to protect our head from the heat.   Then, once we had time to cool down and have some tea, it was time to start.

Tea for Two

First up was the Parenie massage.   Our Banshik for the morning was called Boris, who didn’t speak much English.   You lay on a pillow of eucalyptus leaves and then another venik is laid over the head so you are enveloped inside a sweet smelling darkness.   I have to admit that the sound of Boris building up the steam was quite intimidating without being able to see, with lots of loud hissing and banging going on!   Once the steam is hot enough the veniks are fluttered over the body to create a hot air flow.  Then they are raised up into the warmer air, shaken to gather the heat and then pressed firmly against the body.   This was a weird sensation – it almost felt as though it was too hot to bear but just as you think you are going to have to say something, the sensation cools.   Then he slapped the veniks over the body (quite hard lol) before declaring ‘we are done!’ The treatment stimulates blood circulation, improves metabolism and relieves stress and muscle tension. Well, it didn’t help with my muscle tension as I was tensed waiting for the next time the hot leaves were pressed onto the skin!

Afterwards he leads you to the drench bucket where he (quite gleefully) showers you with a bucketful of cold water and then Rasa guides you to the plunge pool.   The pool is at a temperature of between 7-10 °C which comes as a shock for the body, releasing adrenaline and serotonin leading to a feeling of rejuvenation.   Blood vessels contract stimulating blood circulation and oxygen intake and also boosting the immune and lymphatic systems.

Parenie Treatment – image courtesy of Banya No. 1

Afterwards it was time for the honey and sea salt scrub treatment.   You lay naked on a marble hammam table and get covered – and I mean covered – in honey and sea salt. When Rasa asks you to turn over, be aware that it is not easy as you slip and slide all over the place!   The salt absorbs toxins and removes dead skin cells and the honey moisturises and nourishes the skin with vitamins and minerals.   Then it’s back to the Banya, to let the heat help open your pores, helping with the detox.   After about 5 minutes, we washed off the scrub to leave our skin feeling as soft as a baby.

I have to say the Banya was really clean which I thought was because we were the first guests there, but as the day went on it was obvious that cleanliness was very important and everywhere was cleaned after every treatment.

Back to the lounge for some more tea – and beetroot kvass which has many benefits including reducing mild causes of high blood pressure, cleansing the liver and speeding up metabolism.

Then it was massage time. Rasa was the perfect masseuse and for once, I could feel myself truly relaxing.

Finally it was time for the mud décolletage and footbath treatment.   Mud from the Latvian marshes which is rich in minerals and vitamins was slathered all over our faces and neck and we sat and relaxed with our feet in soothing, warm water for about 10 minutes before heading to the shower to wash it off.   The skin felt toned and tightened and absolutely fabulous!

Would I do it again? Yes. Definitely. I have to admit I loved every minute (even the naked bit which I wasn’t expecting!)   There were only 4 other people at the banya that morning which helped with the feeling of space and exclusivity.  It was great to have others there to chat too about the experience as it was the first time for everyone.

If you don’t fancy mixed bathing, the Banya offers single sex sessions. See their website for details. http://www.gobanya.co.uk/

And before you leave, you MUST try the food – absolutely delicious.

Dröm will be back!

 

 

 


									

World Spa & Wellness Industry Focus – Thermal and Wet Facilities.

Dröm were recently asked to contribute to the World Spa & Wellness Industry Focus article on thermal and wet facilities.

Our newly appointed Managing Director, Erin Lee is a leading proponent of the benefits of thermal wellness and jumped at the opportunity of helping to educate readers and clients on what’s new in wellbeing and help advise Spa’s on the best ways of incorporating wellness into their budgets.

Bringing Wellness Home

Life just gets busier and busier. Commuting, work, family, friends, gym, Love Island – when is there time to just sit back and relax?  And when we do find time, the majority of us invariably end up staring at a screen – on a tv, gaming machine or smartphone.

amomknowsbest.com

Instead of having to factor in time to go to the gym for a workout, or book a spa day in advance to make time to relax, why not bring wellbeing and relaxation into the home? Encompassing wellbeing into your daily routine is becoming increasingly popular as everyday stress levels rise.

Shower in Hampshire bathroom by Dröm UK Ltd

Saunas and steam rooms are a great way of relaxing and offer exceptional health benefits and whilst many people have experienced thermal bathing at their local gym or health club, they probably don’t realise that having their very own facility at home is quite a simple matter. Residential properties can easily incorporate a sauna or steam room with space for one or more people. Even where space is tight, and cost an important factor, a steam shower can still be easily incorporated into the space of a normal bathroom shower and can be tiled to complement the existing surroundings.

The whole family can sauna bathe together, sharing quality time together without the need for screens.   The temperature between the top benches and lower ones can vary between 10 and 20 degrees centigrade making it easy for everyone to find their comfort level while they catch up on the day’s events with each other.   One of the benefits of having your own personal sauna is that you can bathe at a temperature that is comfortable for you, not for the whole gym community!

Infrared saunas are a very easy way to bring wellbeing into your home.   Most infra cabins can be plugged into a normal socket and the heat warms human tissue without raising the air temperature.  To enjoy, sit and relax in the warmth emitted by the infra red panels and feel the deep penetrating heat ease any tension in your muscles.   You can also benefit from adding chromotherapy lighting.  Grab a book and enjoy the peace in a single person cabin or go larger and have some company ….

Infra Red Sauna

Aromatherapy helps to calm or revitalise depending on your mood. Add a few drops of your selected essence to your sauna or steam room, or just add to a fragrance burner and let the aroma permeate throughout your home.

Bring home the benefits of halotherapy or salt inhalation by using Himalayan salt lamps, or candle holders around the house.   It is claimed that the negative salt ions released by heating can boost blood flow, improve sleep, increase levels of serotonin in the brain, and calm allergy or asthma symptoms.

Salt candle

So don’t stress unecessarily about fitting everything in, or never being at home due to work, travel and finding time to be at the gym – combine family and wellbeing at home and take the worry level down a notch or two.

 

AWAKEN YOUR SENSES

We are all aware of our 5 main senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing.   We use each one in our daily life and they work together to help give us an all round view of the world around us.   When one doesn’t work for whatever reason, the others become stronger to compensate for it.   They help us to learn, they protect us and they help us enjoy our environment.   They can bring about instant memories for us and make us feel good in that moment.  And anything that can make us feel good is great.   However small – it’s something we can reach for when we feel sad or upset.

Thermal bathing awakens all of our senses, including our sixth sense, which can make us feel more alive both physically and mentally.

It also touches on some of our additional senses including temperature (obviously) and pain (alleviating it).

SIGHT:

Chromotherapy lighting in residential thermal suite

Apart from a feeling of enjoyment from taking in the beautiful surroundings of a spa, our sense of sight can be stimulated from chromotherapy lighting within a sauna or steam room.   Colour and light have been proven to have a positive effect on your mood and wellbeing with different colours having different benefits.  For example, red light energises your mind and body whilst green creates harmony and balance within.

Colour therapy can also help to heal and balance the chakras, as each chakra has a different colour associated with it.  Chakras also have a corresponding sense, for example your solar plexus chakra is associated with the sense of sight.  So visualisation would be a great way to heal this chakra.  This is slightly off-topic but is all related!

 

SMELL:

Lavender Essential Oil to relax and calm

What’s your favourite aroma? Adding certain fragrances to your bathing session can help boost your senses when you need physical or mental energy or just want to feel good.    It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell which in turn sends a signal to the section of the brain that controls emotions and retrieves memories.  This causes the release of chemicals which can relax or invigorate you.

For example adding a few drops of Lavender essential oil is known to calm and relax you. To reinvigorate yourself try Eucalyptus or a citrus oil.

 

TOUCH:

Image courtesy of AreaSana as seen in ‘Dromology’

This sense is controlled all over the body by nerve endings and touch receptors in the skin. It helps us respond to stimuli such as heat, cold, pain, pressure, vibration and texture.  Massage is obviously a great way to experience the sense of touch.

Spa’s cater for this sense in many different ways.   One way would be feeling temperature, going from hot to cold and back again.   Touching ice and snow as you cool down, feeling the warmth of the steam in a steam room, experiencing the different water programmes within a feature shower are all different ways to open up the sense of touch and feeling.    Another great way to experience touch is to sit in a vitality pool or hot tub and feel the bubbles massage you.

Or relax onto a heated lounger and feel the warmth seep into your muscles – relaxing, reinvigorating, improving circulation and easing joint pain as it is absorbed.

 

TASTE:

 

Many spas will have a room where you can relax after your bathing rituals. This is where you can refresh yourself and cool down.   It is really important to rehydrate yourself after thermal bathing to replace the minerals the body loses through sweat, and here is where you can indulge in drinking herbal teas or flavoured water.

Using a salt room is another way of bringing your sense of taste into play in a spa as the salt in the air can leave a slight taste on your lips.  Salt inhalation (or Halotherapy) is 100% natural and can help alleviate respiratory ailments.    The floor of a salt room may also be covered in salt, giving the feet a gentle exfoliating massage, thereby including the sense of touch at the same time.

 

Salt wall and heated lounger, bringing the sense of taste and touch together.

 

HEARING:

Many spas and wellbeing areas play soothing music to help you relax while bathing or receiving a treatment.

The slower the beat of the music, the slower the heart rate becomes. The heartbeat synchronizes to the music tempo. Once the hearbeat is lowered you feel calmer and less stressed.  Tension eases.

The positive medicinal effects of music have been known for years. Ancient philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates all saw the benefits of listening to music.   Plato put forward that music could treat anxiety and Aristotle categorized music as a therapeutic tool for those with volatile and heightened emotions.  Specific musical frequencies induce different states in our brains – mainly we work on Beta brain waves which help us stay awake and alert during the day while we work and play.  When we hear a more relaxing piece of music we move towards an Alpha state which infuses us with a sense of calmness.   This helps us to meditate and reach a higher state of awareness, which can also be related to your SIXTH SENSE. 

 

So why not head off to your nearest spa this weekend and awaken all your senses ………. feel alive 🙂

 

 

 

What is the right Spa for me?

Spa.   The Oxford English Dictionary defines this in two ways:

  1. A place or resort with a mineral spring
  2. A commercial establishment offering health & beauty treatments through such means as steam baths, exercise equipment and massage.

This can be further broken down into different commercial spas:

  1. Destination spas
  2. Spa Resorts
  3. Days Spas

So far, so confusing.   Let’s take a closer look at each spa to understand what each one offers  🙂

 

DESTINATION SPAS:

Destination Spas are residential facilities that concentrate on improving health and fitness through exercise, nutrition, spa treatments and thermal wellbeing. They are all about relaxation and rejuvenation and learning how to live a healthy life.    The spa is the destination, you are there for a reason and that is to spa and nothing else!  You can stay for as long as you want, from days to months if budget allows!  The aim is to restore your health and vitality.

Six Senses Yao-noi Spa, Thailand

The cost usually includes all meals, exercise classes and some spa treatments, but obviously check before you book.

They are staffed by experts in various disciplines e.g yoga or nutrition or herbal medicine, and promote a healthy and active lifestyle during your stay.   Some personalise therapies to their guests so that they gain optimum benefit from their time there.

Children aren’t normally welcome in a destination spa.  It is however suitable for people travelling alone but who want to spend time with like-minded people and for couples.

 

SPA RESORTS:

A spa resort caters more for families in a hotel situation and is less focused on an all-encompassing health and wellness experience.   The spa treatments are usually only one part of the stay which can include outdoor pools, tennis, cycling and golf.   They are likely to have a suite of saunas and steam rooms with maybe an ice room or plunge pool alongside a gym for guests to use during their stay.

Treetop Sauna, Centre Parcs, Sherwood Forest

At a spa resort the focus is on enjoying yourself, eat and drink healthy if you like, but if you don’t there are other options available on the menu!

Some spa resorts can also act as a day spa, whereby access is allowed to day guests who aren’t residents of the hotel.

 

DAY SPAS:

As the name suggests, these aren’t residential – you literally visit a day spa for a day without any overnight accommodation.

They usually have a variety of pampering facilities for the guest to experience such as massages, beauty therapies and holistic treatments and have thermal rooms and swimming pools. Gym facilities are very common now too.   Packages generally include a treatment and lunch or afternoon tea.

 

Pennyhill Park Spa

Day spas vary in price depending on what treatments they can offer.   Some may just offer manicures and massage alongside a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, whilst others offer a full range of treatments, some even including more ‘medical’ ones such as Botox and laser facials, with a selection of thermal wellbeing rooms and pools.

A lot of day spas are attached to hotels or country clubs and allow guests to stay at the hotel if they wish and then revisit again the next day.

http://www.sixsenses.com/resorts/yao-noi/spa

http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/thingstodo/aqua_sana.jsp

https://www.exclusive.co.uk/the-spa/

Wellbeing in the City – ESPA at The Corinthia

The Corinthia is a luxury 5 star spa hotel set in the centre of London, just a short walk from Trafalgar Square.   When we were invited to visit from Magdi Abdelaty, the Spa Operations Manager, we jumped at the chance to experience the renowned Espa facilities first hand.

espa-life

The spa spreads out over 4 floors, including15 treatment rooms, a gym, hair salon and a Thermal Floor with heat experience rooms and pools. The décor is luxurious and relaxing mood lighting sets the ambience to an almost decadent level.

Our evening began with a leisurely swim in the shimmering silver stainless steel pool followed by a cool shower. We then took a ball of ice from the fountain and headed to the Amphitheatre sauna, set down into the floor with a spectacular suspended ceiling.   When the heat became slightly too much, we headed outside for more ice, bringing it back with us to the sauna and letting it melt over our bodies as we sat there!   The frameless glass sauna walls allowed us to watch the mesmerising flames of the nearby fire set within the wall.

david de vleeschauwer

david de vleeschauwer

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Next on our thermal journey was a visit to the Vitality Pool with its built-in loungers and powerful swan neck fountains.   This provided full relaxation for mind and body whilst relieving tired and aching muscles.  After the warmth of the pool, it was time to cool down again in the Dornbracht ‘Big Rain’ shower before moving on to the glamorous black mosaic tiled steam room to relax in clouds of fragranced steam.

david de vleeschauwer

david de vleeschauwer

We repeated the above journey before settling onto the heated marble relaxation loungers by another fireplace, luxuriating in the warmth of the beds and the glow of the fire.

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Eventually it was time to get changed and take part in the real world again.   But our journey of relaxation and luxury wasn’t over yet.   The changing rooms had a sauna in the Ladies Area and a Tepidarium in the Men’s.    And both rooms had sleeping pods, small booths with cushions and blankets where you could take a revitalising nap or even meditate in private.  A totally private oasis with no distractions in the middle of a bustling, busy city!

We all agreed it was a wonderfully relaxing experience.   Favourite part?  The sauna got a lot of votes due to its innovative design and the sleep pods were a definite hit!

 

For more information please visit:

https://www.espalifeatcorinthia.com/

Tel:                  +44(0) 20 7321 3050

Email:             espalife.london@corinthia.com

For more information on thermal wellbeing and how to gain optimum benefit from your thermal journey please visit:

http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology/

The benefits of Thermal Bathing for women’s health

As one of our members of staff is heading kicking and screaming (literally!) towards the menopause, we decided to investigate to see whether she could benefit from any of the thermal bathing rituals and practices to help ease her symptoms.

 

It is becoming increasingly common for women to use saunas as they appreciate the feeling of wellbeing and relaxation that regular sauna sessions bring, as well as how great their skin feels after toxins are eliminated and it’s thoroughly cleansed, leaving a healthy glow. But how many women realise that sauna bathing can alleviate some of the main symptoms of perimenopause and actual menopause?

menopause-information

During menopause the levels of oestrogen in the body changes.     These changes can lead to several physiological changes including hot flushes, mood swings and an imbalance in the nervous and immune systems.   Sweat bathing in a sauna, or steam room, stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which can temporarily reduce the effects of the hormonal changes.   Increased hormone levels also effect vascular function which constricts the blood vessels.  Bathing in the heat of a sauna can lower blood pressure temporarily and improves circulation as blood vessels dilate.  This increases the oxygen levels around the body which helps you feel better.

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Tylo Passion Sauna – available from Dröm UK Ltd. For more information call 01932 355655

Other possible side effects of any change in the nervous system are depression, loss of energy and emotional ups and downs.   One way of helping relieve these symptoms is to add aromatherapy into your bathing practice.    It is believed that the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell, which in turn sends a signal to the section of the brain that controls emotions.   As the nervous system is temporarily balanced within the heat, the essences cause the release of chemicals which can calm or invigorate you.   Clary Sage is a popular essential oil in balancing hormones and dealing with symptoms of the menopause including anxiety and hot flushes.  See our Aromatherapy section in ‘Drömology – Wellbeing Personified’ for a more detailed overview of which plants can benefit you or click this link: http://www.dromuk.com/online/dromology/

 

Once you stop menstruating (which is an elimination cycle for the whole body), the body needs to find another way of removing toxins.   The heat from sauna and steam bathing opens the skin’s pores and helps reduce levels of toxins and impurities, eliminating waste and reducing the load put on the kidney’s.

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Using an Infrared sauna is just as effective at helping to relax and reduce tension and stress associated with mood swings.   Excessive sweating can also move the body through the hormonal fluctuations quicker leading to a better night’s sleep with less hot flushes.  There are also some reports out that claim infrared heat can help relieve the pain from conditions such as osteoporosis, which is another symptom connected to menopause.

 

After all this heat, it’s nice to nip into the ice room to cool down! That deals with the hot flushes!

 

Another added benefit for women is that the heat of the sauna releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkiller’s.   This can help with the discomfort of period pain – I’m sure we have all sat around with a heat pack across our stomach and back at some point. So sit back and relax in a sauna or steam room, add some essential oil and breathe in ……

Alternatively, stretch out on a heated lounger.  Heat storage ceramic loungers, store heat and emit it back to the body via infrared long wave gentle heat.  Let this heat penetrate into your tissues, soothing muscles and easing joint pain.

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Heated lounger by Sommerhuber.

 

We are not doctors or claim to be medical experts in any way, so obviously check with your GP before trying any form of thermal bathing when you suspect you may be peri/menopausal. All we know for sure is it has helped a certain member of our team ……………. 🙂

Global Wellness Day

“One day can change your whole life”

 

Global Wellness Day is a day dedicated to adopting a healthy lifestyle, hopefully leading to long term change.   It is usually held on the second weekend in June and has grown considerably since it was first introduced in 2012.

Being a wellbeing company, Dröm UK decided to encourage the employees to take part this year and to photograph their efforts.   Most of the staff are well aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and incorporate them into their everyday life anyway, but it was good to see them venture out of their normal wellbeing routines!

The basic manifesto for the day is simple:

Capture

But not all of us do simple ………..

Our Director and Co-Founder Barry Smith headed off to  Prague for the  IAAF Kladno Decathalon.

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He was supporting Dröm sponsored decathalete Ashley Bryant and the GB team in their quest to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio.    Athletes understand the importance that healthy living plays in their lives, enabling them to train harder and gain better results when competing.   As well as eating the right foods they also realise how beneficial it is to utilise ice baths and  thermal wellbeing bathing practices to help recover after exercise.    (See our previous post – Competitive Wellbeing).

Meanwhile Kev and Simon from our Projects team decided to head off to Oslo to experience all that renowned Norwegian spa The Well had to offer.

The Well

The Well is the largest Spa and Bathhouse in the Nordic region with both indoor and outdoor bathing experiences.    Here the boys could focus on their spiritual and physical wellbeing for the day.   They started off in the various thermal rooms, where they bathed with a Sauna Master.   They then moved on to the Urte sauna where rose petals were scattered on a tray above the heater filing the room with their scent.   Rose essential oil is an antidepressant and helps to reduce anxiety and everyday stress.   Perfect for their relaxing day!

They then ventured to the plunge pools and ice fountain area and performed a ritual of rubbing ice on themselves, delving into the plunge pool and then relaxing in the warm pool before doing the whole circuit again.  The benefits of this form of bathing are many, with the extreme cold directly after the warmth of the pool causing blood vessels to contract, stimulating blood circulation and oxygen intake, whilst boosting the lymphatic and immune systems.

We will cover their visit in more detail in next week’s blog.

Back home other staff members were taking part in their own way.   Many were supporting their children in outdoor activities.  It is important that children are encouraged to be active and understand how to live a balanced life from an early age.    Instill good habits early!    Zoe in our Accounts Department cheered on her daughter’s football team and our Projects Director Erin spent the day with her two young children whilst they went on an obstacle course in the woods!

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Sales Manager Lewis headed to the hot tub for some relaxation time with the family.

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Our CEO Kicki Carlsson indulged her love of meditation and mindfulness.  Whilst meditation is a personal journey, different for everyone, studies have shown it to be associated with reducing stress levels and anxiety and improving cognitive function and mental clarity.    Peace of mind can lead to better focus, better relationships and less worry.  We will cover this further in a future blog.

kicki meditation

And finally, our Office Manager Sarah, not known for her love of fruit, went strawberry picking at a local farm and made a fruit salad with her fresh produce adding some organic fruit from the farm shop, a lemon from a friend’s orchard in Spain and some homegrown mint from the garden!

Fruit Salad

All staff agreed that they would continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle, eating better, drinking more water, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep.   It doesn’t have to be boring, as we have all discovered.   That one little change can lead to bigger changes, which in turn becomes a habit.   Don’t wait until next year’s Global Wellness Day, start today!

 

For more information on Global Wellness Day and The Well, please click on the following links:

http://www.globalwellnessday.org/en

https://thewell.no/english

 

A Breath of Fresh Air – Going Green in London

You could almost believe it was actually Spring as the sun shone down on London this week, warming the city up for what felt like the first time this year.

So instead of driving up in the company vans or joining the masses travelling underground with no sign of the sun, our Project Managers, Erin and Kevin, decided to take a different approach to their site visits across the city and hired some Boris bikes for the day!

Their journey started at Waterloo and they cycled off to their first appointment at Southbank Tower making sure they could be seen by wearing their Dröm hi-viz jackets and keeping safe with hard hats!

London Map

Outward journey red, Return journey blue

 

Waterloo blog

Kevin and Erin pick up their bikes at Waterloo

 

Erin freewheeling

Once they had finished at Southbank they cycled down past the London Eye, the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel at 135m high, which opened in 2000 as part of the city’s millennium celebrations.  The wheel has 32 capsules, one for each London borough and rotates at 0.9 km/hr i.e. one revolution takes 30 minutes.

London Eye blog

They then faced the traffic over Westminster bridge and headed towards Parliament Square en route to St James’s Park, stopping for a quick selfie in front of Big Ben!   The clock tower is actually officially known as Elizabeth Tower and has been since 2012 in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.   Previously it was known simply as the Clock Tower or St. Stephen’s Tower.   The tower is 96m  high and was designed by Augustus Pugin.  Big Ben is the nickname for the bell which chimes the hour.   The hour hand of the clock is 2.7m long and the minute hand is 4.3m long.

Kev big ben

Their next appointment was in St. James’s square so they took a shortcut through St. James’s Park (stopping at Buckingham Palace on the way).   As with driving, you should never use your phone while cycling, so Kevin sensibly stopped to take a couple of business calls …… and a couple of hayfever tablets!

Park Collage

Once Kevin had finished they headed off to their next appointment at St. James’s Street following the guards from Buckingham Palace as they rode up the Mall!  Once business had been concluded on site our intrepid Project Managers started the journey back to Waterloo taking a shortcut back to the Mall past the Duke of York monument.     This statue was built to honour Prince Frederick, second eldest son of King George III.   The column itself was built in 1832 and the statue itself was placed on top in 1834.    Prince Frederick has been immortalised in the nursery rhyme ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and is widely recognised as bringing the British Army into a cohesive, capable, modernised force following his command during the French Revolutionary Wars.

They made their way back through the park passing Horse Guards Parade en route.   Horse Guards was once the HQ of the British Army and nowadays hosts Trooping the Colour, the annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday.   It was also the scene of jousting tournaments in the days of Henry VIII  and more recent sporting events include the Beach Volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympics.

Journey back

It was two energised colleagues that returned to the office on Tuesday afternoon.   Their day on the bikes had numerous health and environmental benefits, very fitting for a wellbeing company.

Cycling is a great way to keep fit.  It improves your cardiovascular fitness, thereby decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease and strengthening your immune system.  It is great for muscle tone, especially in your calves, thighs and bottom, and is good for people with joint conditions as it is considered a low impact activity.    Other benefits include weight loss as you are burning calories, improved co-ordination and there are also links to good mental health.

Stop breathing the stale air in an air conditioned or overheated office and get outside into the fresh air (ok, maybe the air in London isn’t particularly fresh but it’s still good to be outside!).   Once outside, inhaling the oxygen in the fresh air leads to an increased production of serotonin which promotes feelings of wellbeing and happiness.   Increased oxygen in your bloodstream helps increase white blood cell functionality when fighting bacteria and germs and it also helps your brain function better, increasing mental clarity.

Leaving the car behind ensures a decrease in your carbon footprint.   The CO2 and carbon monoxide emissions from cars, vans and buses have increased enormously the more vehicles we have on the road.  These gases are known as ‘greenhouse gases’ and they trap heat inside the planet’s atmosphere.  However an increase in production of these gases is increasing the temperature of the planet which in the long term is contributing to extreme weather and climate change through global warming.

Erin and Kevin were lucky to have such a sunny day too – the Vitamin D present in sunshine has so many benefits including building strong bones, protecting against cataracts and boosting immunity, whilst the warmth of the sun has been linked to lowering blood pressure and helping us sleep better.   The sun can also improve our mood considerably.    Please remember to wear a suitable sunscreen when out in the sunshine though.

blog boris final

For more information on Santander cycles (or Boris bikes as they are more commonly known!) please visit:  https://web.santandercycles.tfl.gov.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Infra – radiant wellbeing

If you have you ever wanted a sauna in your own home, but don’t have the space for the more traditional Finnish Sauna or Banya, then it might be worth considering an Infrared Sauna instead.

The Infra cabins come in various sizes to suit all homes, some as small as 1m2 , and have as wide a range of health benefits as a traditional sauna.  It therefore comes as no surprise to hear that Hollywood stars such as Jennifer Aniston are extolling the virtues of infrared and are making it part of their everyday wellbeing routine.

Radiant heat and long wave infrared is absorbed by the surface of the skin and is very similar to the heat we get from the sun.   Body tissue is then warmed without raising the air temperature unlike the more traditional sauna.   The infrared heat penetrates deep into the body, increasing the core temperature and inducing sweating which releases toxins.    As you sweat, your heart pumps faster, increasing the blood flow, reducing blood pressure and improving circulation.   The usual temperature range in a room is between 45-60 degrees with relative humidity.

As the infrared heat gently penetrates muscles and tissue directly, it can help to alleviate the pain of arthritis, bad backs and other ailments.   It can even help with dermatological problems as it can heal the epidermis layer of your skin.

Some studies suggest there is also the added benefit of slight weight loss as your body works hard to cool itself thus burning up some calories!!

You can easily experience the added health benefits of mood changing colour therapy by installing chromotherapy lighting to your infra cabin (as discussed in our previous blog post ‘Complementary Wellbeing Part 2:  Chromotherapy’ published in July 2015).   You can also incorporate a music system within the room to fully maximise your wellbeing enjoyment.

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Infra cabins come in a variety of sizes

All infrared delivery systems produce EMR (Electromagnetic Radiation) and EF (Electrical Field) to some extent.   Because of this, Pure Infra technology was developed to take the worry out of unnecessary exposure.  For example, the EF in a Pure Infra cabin is less than you would experience from a computer or mobile phone.   Swedish manufacturer Tylö AB incorporate their exclusive Evenheat technology into their Infrared Saunas which spreads the heat evenly throughout the cabin without any ‘cold spots’ or unnecessary exposure to electrical fields.

A major advantage of Pure Infra Cabins is that they are ready to use in a very short space of time and operate efficiently, using up to 20% less energy than other systems.   There are many different infrared heating systems but Tylö AB use the CarbonFlex system which has large infra panels, again ensuring an even distribution of heat across the benches walls and floor.

Once your Infrared room has been delivered and assembled, simply plug directly into a normal electrical socket and start enjoying the wellbeing benefits of soothing radiant heat in an aesthetically pleasing, fully glass fronted cabin.

Whatever taste, budget or space restrictions there is an infra cabin for you.

 

For more information on Infra Red cabins, please call Dröm UK on 01932 355655.