infra

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/

Goodnight, Sleep Tight ….

Sleep is one of the biggest contributing factors to excellent physical and mental health and wellbeing but its importance is sometimes overshadowed by the media focus on healthy eating and exercise. Insufficient sleep can impact quite detrimentally on your health in a variety of different ways.

_90143896_thinkstockphotos-504373738

copyright: ThinkStockMedia

The amount of sleep we need varies from person to person, but on average the majority of us need about 8 hours a night. Young children and teens may need more as sleep supports their growth and development.  When we sleep our brains have the chance to repair and rebalance the hormones that govern the emotions that help us to stay calm, relaxed and happy.  It corrects any chemical imbalances and leaves us rested therefore we are more alert and energetic when we wake.

Studies show that a consistent lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain. Tiredness can cause your brain to crave high calorie foods for energy but when your body is tired, it isn’t as effective at breaking down fat cells and tissues, so fat is stored more easily.   You are less likely to want to exercise due to low energy and general sluggishness. According to a leading insomnia specialist, Kathryn Pinkham, a good night’s sleep can balance out the hormone fluctuations that provoke appetite.

Our immune system needs sleep to be able to function properly.  If we don’t get enough sleep it can affect how the it responds to infection, making it harder to fight off coughs and colds for example.  However, you can boost your immune system by using a sauna or steam room where the heat dilates blood vessels thereby increasing circulation throughout the body.    The heat can also help to relax you leading to better sleep.

DROM_0235

Kelo Sauna Room – Dröm UK Ltd

Sleep can also help to rejuvenate your skin as it rebalances the hydration levels in the body. While we sleep there is a rise in growth hormones which allows damaged cells to be repaired. Lack of sleep results in under eye puffiness, dryness and the appearance of more wrinkles.   It also leads to increased stress hormones in the body which can lead to the increase in the breakdown of collagen which gives the skin its firmness and translucency.  If the skin cells don’t get a chance to repair themselves, the result is a more noticeable sign of ageing.

The less we sleep, the more it affects our mental wellbeing.   According to Mind, the mental health charity,  it can be a vicious circle:  If you have a mental health problem it can affect how you sleep and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.  Not enough sleep can lead to negative thoughts and can leave you feeling anxious or depressed.    Tiredness can leave you feeling physically and mentally unable to cope with the day ahead, and can be quite isolating as you don’t feel up to socialising with others.

So what is the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep?

There are many suggestions on how to do this and again, it will vary from person to person.   Generally, the time before bed should be calm and relaxed rather than spent in front of a screen with flashing images or loud music!   Take a warm bath, try some breathing exercises, drink warm milk, spray lavender fragrance onto your pillow, or even meditate.  Doing regular physical exercise can also help with sleep.

llavender-collage

 

Avoid caffeine drinks and don’t go to bed either too hungry or too full.   Create a routine of doing the same soothing actions each night so that your body learns it is time to sleep.  Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and that your mattress and pillows are comfortable.

For more information on the above and how best to combat sleeplessness please visit these websites:

http://www.theinsomniaclinic.co.uk/

http://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.dromuk.com

 

 

 

 

 

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.

passion_0338_v1_lo

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.

infra_0806_v1_lo

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.

06-6005_1

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 ……………. 🙂

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.

infra_room03_a3_rgb

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.