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Thermal Wellbeing through the ages: Part 1 – Toddlers to Teens

As we start to become more aware of the importance of physical and mental wellness, the benefits of thermal wellbeing and the ways it can be incorporated with complementary therapies are starting to be realised.   Thermal wellbeing is seen in the mainstream as geared to adults with a gym membership or access to a spa.   But actually, wellness begins from birth.  In this series we take a look at the 4 stages of life and show how wellbeing can be incorporated into your lifestyles to ease each transition ….

 

Toddlers to Teens

This is probably the most stressful and confusing, yet delightful age for both children and their parents.   There is so much to deal with as screaming babies turn into toddlers and then into teenagers and all the angst which that can bring!   Children are learning to deal with the world in general, growing independence, school, friends, exam stress, adolescence, and social media.    If ever there was a life stage that required a way to achieve mental peace and physical awareness it’s this.

So how can thermal wellbeing and general wellness help?   Well, it can start as early as a few months old with baby yoga, baby massage and swimming being the most commonly sought therapies to encourage sleep and relaxation.   Babies and toddlers can also benefit from using salt rooms, especially if they suffer from respiratory problems such as colds and asthma.   Salt is 100% natural and safe for children.    Combine it with sensory play for babies, and for older children, let them relax with a book lying on heated loungers.   This ‘time-out’ can be essential for mental health.

Halotherapy Room in Dröm UK’s stunning Showroom in Byfleet, Surrey

Younger children can also use a sauna or steam room safely, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.  Sauna’s do not have to be set on a fierce heat, set the temperature lower and let children sit on the lower benches where the heat is less intense.   This is great for family time too, a time to set aside phones and talk together.  The heat of thermal rooms and/or heated loungers can also help with the discomfort of period pains and aid restful sleep.   Add essential oils to saunas and steam rooms to help revitalise or relax and again, help get a good night’s sleep.  And don’t think that you can’t make it fun – play funky music to keep them interested and install colour changing lighting!  Loud music has it’s place within wellness – see our previous post Techno Spa  Chromotherapy is proved to help improve your mood – always useful with a teenager!

Chromotherapy Sauna & Steam Rooms – Bespoke Installation by Dröm UK Ltd

The digital age is informative but can be cruel too. There is a higher number of young people with mental health problems than ever before in a world where you can never really be disconnected.  How many young people do you see that never put their phone down or venture far from some kind of screen?  Too many.    This can have a really damaging effect on mental health and wellbeing from the pressures that always being connected can bring.   Bullying, peer pressure, pressures to look a certain way, searching for validation and approval.   Children should be encouraged to get out and exercise, even just walk for half an hour a day, and to try a digital detox every day, especially before bed.   Easier said than done, but maybe we need to lead by example. Healthy eating should also be encouraged alongside exercise to help beat childhood obesity which is an increasing problem.

Social media places increased pressure on mental health in children and teenagers

Mindfulness for children and teenagers is a great way for them to become more aware of both themselves and their emotions, and the world around them.  Schools are starting to pick up on the importance of this and the Mindfulness at School Project in the UK partner with parents and youth organisations to bring this form of wellness to a wider youth audience.

Helping children to understand wellness from an early age will hopefully promote a healthy, balanced less stressed future generation.

 

 

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 🙂

 

 

 

Complementary Wellbeing – Part 2: Chromotherapy

In the second blog in this Wellbeing mini-series, we take a closer look at Chromotherapy.

Wellbeing extends beyond the physical.   Psychological and spiritual wellness is also important to assist in coping with the stresses of everyday life.

Aromatherapy, Chromotherapy and Crystals are just a few of the ‘alternative’ therapies that can be combined with the more traditional wellbeing experiences to achieve a fuller sense of relaxation or stimulation.

Colour and light have been proven to have a positive effect upon your mood and health. The light from the sun can be broken down into seven colours each relating to a certain energetic vibration within our bodies. When these energies (or chakras) are out of alignment it can lead to physical ailments. Chromotherapy is the use of colour and light as a non-invasive restorative therapy – helping to realign this vibrational energy, dispel negative energy and promoting mental and physical wellness. We can absorb colour through our eyes, skin and also through the energetic field surrounding the body (aura).

Coloured light relates to vibrational energy within our bodies

Coloured light relates to vibrational energy within our bodies

 

Red – root chakra

Red is the colour of vitality and energy.  Physically it represents healthy organs, body tissue and blood.   It is a stimulating colour and on a mental level helps with concentration and clear thinking.  It guides us towards change, helping with movement and progress.

Orange – Sacral chakra

Orange is a powerful, physical energy, converting ‘chi energy’ into energy that the body can use.  It is fresh and invigorating and awakens the soul.  It encourages you to listen to your gut instincts and inner wisdom.

Yellow – solar plexus chakra

Yellow is a strong energy promoting physical and mental strength and a healthy digestive system.  On an emotional level it helps with self confidence and balance.  The solar plexus chakra encourages personal and spiritual growth and self esteem.

Green – heart chakra

Green is the colour of love, harmony, balance and compassion.  Physically it represents a strong heart and healthy immune system.  Emotionally it represents healthy relationships.  Spiritually it stands for unconditional love.

Blue – throat chakra

Blue is a calming, healing, stress reducing colour.  Physically it relates to the throat ensuring a healthy thyroid, good upper body strength and the ability for clear communication.  It also promotes mental clarity.   It is the colour of conscious creativity and helps with creative expression.

Indigo – brow chakra (third eye)

Indigo is the colour of the third eye chakra, which relates to intuition, perception, instinct and the sixth sense.  Indigo encourages you to connect and listen to your inner wisdom.  Physically it promotes good memory, visualisation and good mental strength.  Indigo is the colour of night where all your senses are heightened.

Violet – crown chakra

Violet is the highest vibration in the spectrum of light.   A balanced violet energy means that all the chakras are working in harmony and energy is flowing freely throughout the body.  It represents excellent overall health.  The energies are balanced, peaceful and calm.   It indicates a deep spiritual awareness.

White

White is the colour of balance and harmony.  It is a pure energy, clarifying the senses and mind.

white light

Relaxing and focusing on a specific colour can help the relevant chakra open up and let go of negative emotions or heighten the positive aspects of each chakra.

Saunas and steam rooms incorporate Chromotherapy lighting to enhance the wellbeing of the bather. This can also be combined with Aromatherapy (see previous blog post) for a more powerful experience.

There are many excellent websites that can provide more information on the use of colour and its effect on the chakras.