Many regular spa users love the benefits of the sauna. The hot, humid atmosphere is a great way to cleanse the mind and feel rejuvenated. Going with friends turns it into a social occasion but when you decide to indulge in a little sweat bathing, make sure to check your spa’s dress code: for the Finnish, the daddy of the modern spa, it is normal to be naked in a personal sauna, but in modern, public saunas, particularly if they are mixed sex, a swimming costume is obligatory. And do take a towel to sit on or to wrap around your head – yes really – read more to know why!
So what types of sauna are commonly available? One of the commonest types of sauna is the Finnish sauna. In fact the Finns were the first country to develop saunas way back, which they then brought with them to other areas of the globe. A Finnish sauna comprises a small room with wooden benches at differing levels, and operates between 70oC and 100oC. It is heated by an electrical heating element which heats the air, and in turn your body. Humidity is created by pouring water on very hot rocks. If you sit on one of the higher levels, it will be hotter and people place a towel over their head to cool that area when the heat on their body is still pleasant. So if you enter a sauna and see someone who appears to be impersonating the Abdominal Snowman, now you know the reason why!
FIR saunas, or Far Infra Red saunas have a slightly different way of heating – they emit radiant heat which your body absorbs directly. This means that rather than heating the air around you, your body absorbs heat without the risk of burning. In practice you sit in a sauna tent created from a special reflective silver impregnated cloth which ensures heat absorption is uniform across your body. They are normally slightly cooler than traditional Finnish saunas, and your head stays outside the tent, and so are easier to tolerate.
The fundamental end result of sweat bathing in both types of sauna is still the same – intense perspiration. This opens the skin’s pores to allow toxins to be released and the body to be cleansed. The heat also increases the heart rate resulting in improved blood circulation and an increase in metabolic rate which can improve skin elasticity. The moist, hot air can help with respiratory problems as it loosens the mucous in the lungs and can help ward off the onset of a cold. The feel good factor of relaxing in the heat can help people who suffer with depression and an important contributing factor to this is that sweat bathing has been found to reduce levels of adrenaline, which is the stress hormone, but increase levels of endorphins – the nice hormones which give us a natural high. Another important sauna benefit is to reduce chronic pain in regular users and it has also been linked with weight loss as during a single session, in excess of 600 calories can be consumed.
After the sauna it is essential to have a cooling down cycle. You can take a warm shower, which is great to wash away all those toxins off the skin, and gradually reduce the temperature of the water. Hardy folk may follow the traditional Finnish example of jumping into a cold plunge pool immediately after leaving the sauna, but to reduce the shock to the body it is advisable to enter the plunge pool slowly. It is also very important to rehydrate after your sauna to compensate for the fluids lost through intense perspiration. And if you are new to sauna bathing, do follow some basic safety rules. Start off with only 15 minutes but leave if you feel too hot or dizzy, and saunas should not be used by those with medical conditions without first consulting a doctor.
So there is an impressive range of health benefits associated with sauna bathing. It’s no surprise that many people incorporate regular sauna sessions into their day-to-day lifestyle to improve their health and overall well being. Perhaps you should follow their example!
Mon, December 24 2012 » Wellness » No Comments
Bhringaraj is also known as Eclipta alba, bhringraj, false daisy or yerba de tago. It comes from the family Asteraeae has been lauded as an herb for longevity and an anti aging herb as well. It has been used in India for centuries as a cure for many medical conditions and is believed to be able to cure any disease.
Bhringraj Powder Benefits
The bhringaraj or bhringraj herb powder may heal the largest organ of our body, which is our skin. Ayurvedic healers state that many of our skin diseases are caused by blood impurity. Bhringaraj powder is said to help purify our blood. People who ingest bhringaraj claim to feel and look younger as it promotes better skin. Bhringraj powder also works as a great topical solution to promote fast wound healing.
Aside from that, it may also assist in liver and kidney detoxification. In India, this herb has been used to treat liver cirrhosis and hepatitis. It has also been known to improve the cardiovascular system. It improves blood flow to the heart, regulates blood pressure levels, lowers cholesterol and improves triglyceride levels. Some experts also believe that because of its ability to improve blood circulation, bhringaraj may be also a potent memory enhancer.
Bhringraj powder has also been used for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It has been used to reduce fever and as a pain reliever. Bhringraj powder is combined with either oil or water to create a paste and applied to the area of concern. In India, people have used it to alleviate the pain caused by toothaches. The powder is rubbed directly around the tooth and it is said to help minimize the swelling.
Is Bhringraj Oil Good For Hair Problems?
Is bhrinagraj oil good for the hair as well? There are numerous benefits of bhringraj oil for hair. It has gained increasing popularity as one of the best ayurvedic products for hair growth. It has been a staple in ayurvedic medicine with this property making it the most sought after herbal treatment.
Bhringraj Benefits for Hair
For centuries, its powder has been used as an herbal hair treatment for hair loss. It combats problems like hair fall, premature graying hair and is a well-known baldness treatment in Ayurveda as it is a natural therapy for hair growth. If you are looking for the most natural hair oil for baldness, allow the benefits of ayurvedic care for hair work on your problem. You may purchase ayurvedic herbal hair oils like Bhringraj oil from trusted sites online to help you attain optimal hair growth.
It is also popular hair growth oil for women who have problems like slow hair growth or thinning hair. Bhringaraj promotes growth of soft lustrous hair and combats premature graying. Men and women have used it as a hair dye as it mimics the color of natural Indian hair. Combined with its ability to strengthen hair as it nourishes the follicles, bhingaraj has become the best herbal hair oil for hair growth.
Make Your Own Bhringaraj Herbal Product for Hair Growth
You can also choose to create your own bhingaraj concoction at home. This recipe is a famous hair loss treatment in Ayurveda. It helps repair dry or frizzy hair by protecting the hair shaft. People with dandruff and alopecia will benefit from this herbal hair oil treatment because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It prevents hair thinning and hair loss while it stops premature graying. It also works as a tint because it will cover each strand with a color similar to black Indian hair.
- 3/4 cup of Virgin Coconut Oil
- 1 tablespoon Neem Oil
- 1 tablespoon Sweet Almond Oil
- 1 tablespoom Castor Oil
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 5 tablespoons Water
- 1 tablespoon Brahmi leaves ground
- 1 tablespoon Bhringaraj leaves ground
- 1 tablespoon dried Amla berry (without seeds) powder
- 1 tablespoon ground Fenugreek leaves
- 1 tablespoon Red Hibiscus (leaves and petals) ground
Bring water to a boil. In a separate container, mix the dried herbs together. Pour 5 tablespoons of the boiling water into the herbal mix and leave for two hours. Pour the oil into the mix and stir well. Keep the heat on low to keep the mix warm. Allow it to steep without a cover for about two hours. Let the mixture cool and then filter it to remove any solid particles. Once it is free of particles allow the mixture to boil for another 30 minutes using low heat. Store this hair growth hair oil in containers that are non-transparent.
This Ayurvedic herbal hair oil works best when left on hair overnight. Apply a few drops to each hair partition. Massage your scalp for at least 30 minutes to allow better circulation. This hair oil for hair loss treatment is best for daily use for thinning hair. However, if you have an oily scalp, you may choose to use it once a week instead.
Instead of relying on synthetic based hair oils for hair loss, make use of this well-known hair loss treatment in Ayurveda. Let the benefits of bhringraj work for you with this herbal hair fall treatment. Why invest on expensive hair-loss treatments that do not work when you can use an herbal cure for baldness and thinning hair that has no negative side effects? Trust the most popular hair fall treatment in Ayurveda to give you soft and supple hair. Give it a try and discover why this Ayurvedic treatment of hair loss has gained such a steady following.
Mon, December 24 2012 » Alternative medicine » No Comments
If you’re not a regular spa goer, you may be slightly apprehensive about the massage you so recklessly booked. Well don’t be. There are many health benefits of massage and if you follow some simple tips, you too can enjoy them: the increased lymphatic circulation which helps eliminate toxins from the body; the absolutely fantastic sensation of touch on your body from a trained masseur; and when you have your massage in the relaxing ambience of a purpose built spa suite, the health benefits of relaxation and stress reduction due to the calming ambience, dimmed lights and gentle music.
So here are some simple steps to get you on your own personal road to Nirvana:
- Choose your Therapist. If you would prefer that your massage is given by a female therapist, request this when you make your booking. It’s certainly not going to make a relaxing start to your spa experience if you are greeted by a male therapist when you are strongly opposed to the idea. Most people, both men and women prefer that their massages are given by a woman – men fear the male therapist might be gay, and women fear that the therapist is a testosterone fuelled heterosexual! But if you are looking for a very intense massage, a stronger male therapist has the edge.
- Be on time. If you truly want to enjoy the massage experience and gain a heightened sense of relaxation, don’t start off on the wrong foot by being late. If you do, your stress levels will already be sky high and your treatment will be curtailed because the therapist has to be available for the next prompt client.
- Don’t overeat. If you have a massage scheduled in the early afternoon, it’s a really bad idea to eat a big lunch. How can you really relax on the massage table when your stomach is churning and working really hard to digest all that food?
- Dress appropriately. For most massages you strip to your pants but don’t break out in a sweat at the thought – you won’t ever appear half naked to the therapist. The spa therapists are highly professionals and your body will be draped in towels throughout the massage – only the areas the therapist is working on will see the light of day.
- Communicate Part 1. Be sure that the spa therapist is fully appraised of any health concerns you may have. Bad back? Pregnant? Dodgy shoulder? It’s essential that you let her know of any issues so that she can adapt the massage and products used appropriately.
- Communicate Part 2. Be clear what you want from your massage – be it a deep tissue massage, relaxing massage or detoxification massage. The spa therapist can then use the appropriate technique and can choose the right product or aromatherapy oil to meet your needs.
- Communicate Part 3. Talk as you go along. During the massage, if there is something you’re just not happy with, you need to speak up. If the pressure is too hard or too light, if the speed is too fast or too slow, let the therapist know. Not everyone wants the same type of massage so it’s only fair to communicate clearly – and then the therapist can alter her approach to give you just what you want.
- Relax. You know that massages are promoted for
the fabulous health benefits of relaxation. But if you are coiled as tight as a spring, and keep practicing that big work presentation in your head during the massage, ain’t no relaxation coming your way! You have to meet the therapist half way – clear the mind, focus on slowing the breathing and on the movement of the therapist’s hands over your body. This centres your thoughts on the here and now, and offers your body up to benefiting from a relaxing experience.
- Reentry. A massage can be surprisingly intense – not just physically but also in the mental department. At the end of your massage you may feel so spaced out that you really aren’t ready to bounce up off the massage table and go join a fitness class. This is all quite normal, so take time out to lie quietly, sit up slowly, drink some water and make sure you are back in the real world before you try to reenter it.
Thu, February 21 2013 » Wellness » No Comments
Hamman is another name for the traditional Turkish bath which can be vaguely considered as a steamier version of the sauna. But do the two offer different health benefits? Both use heat as the foundation of the treatment but a traditional Hamman edges ahead in the benefits section by offering a host of other goodies.
The health benefits of heat therapies are primarily due to triggering intense perspiration and the elimination of toxins from the body via the skin’s pores. The heat also increases blood and lymph circulation to help with detoxification, the moisture in the air can help with respiratory problems and the relaxing experience increases levels of endorphins in the bloodstream which chase feelings of stress away.
So what are the extra goodies available in a Hamman? To understand this, let’s be clear about the sauna. In modern spas you will encounter either a Finnish sauna or an infrared sauna. The Finnish sauna is a small wooden room heated by an electrical heating element. This heats the air in which you sit, and so your body warms up. Humidity is created by pouring water on very hot rocks. Infrared saunas, also known as FIR saunas or far Infra red saunas achieve the same heating effect on the body but by a different way – they emit radiant heat which your body absorbs directly. In both types of sauna, you merely have to sit and relax in the hot atmosphere and embrace the intense perspiration that sauna bathing achieves.
And now for those additional extras that comprise the rather unique offering of the Hamman. Few modern spas offer a traditional Hamman often due to the cost considerations of installing an authentic version. But if you have the chance to try one out then take it! The Hamman consists of several rooms: an area to disrobe, a transitional area to warm you up before you get to the main event – the hot room or hararet, and a cool down area. The hot room is heated from the floor and there are buckets of water to produce the steam. The domed roof holds in the condensation to make for an even steamier experience.
So far not much difference between the two options – the sauna and Hamman both heat the body up to encourage sweat bathing. But the Hamman offers some unique and fabulous additional essentials according to tradition. Once you are in the hararet, you relax on a heated stone table which further encourages sweat bathing. When your skin has been softened by the humid atmosphere you will move on to the extras – the nothing-quite-like-it exfoliation and cleansing. Those who have experienced a traditional Turkish Bath will not forget the experience! The attendant moves you to an alcove for individual attention. Using a traditional coarse mitt, you will be brushed and scrubbed vigorously to remove all the dead skin cells. Then comes the unique soapy experience – you are lathered in a special soap with actives such as tea tree and eucalyptus, which bubbles up nicely until you resemble a bubble monster. This deep cleansing step is followed by a rinse and then you will find yourself moved back to the heated stone table for a pummeling massage unlike any you have ever had before! The final step is to move to a cool room to allow your body temperature to return to normal.
People who have had a traditional Turkish Bath report it as being an
invigorating, if not a slightly over zealous massage technique. In modern Western spas, those who offer a Hamman experience tend to combine it with a slightly moderated massage technique, in line with what their customers’ expectations.
But all is not lost for the humble sauna. As a stand-alone facility, the traditional sauna offers the many benefits of heat therapy. However spas offer a wide range of tempting exfoliation and deep muscle massage treatments. So it’s fair to say that you can plan your spa day to re-create your own Hamman experience – start off by sweat bathing in the sauna, then book an exfoliation treatment, followed by a really deep muscle massage. Of course it won’t be quite the same as being in Istanbul, but it really is a close second!
Wed, February 20 2013 » Wellness » No Comments