Relaxation is a lost art. Our world is filled with so much stress and too many distractions – we can’t even buy a minute of rest and relaxation! I envy those people who can just close their eyes and zone out, even on the subway. They seem to be at peace, relaxing somewhere deep in their minds with Zen-Spa music playing. I want to learn that art. I’m serious. But as YouTube sensation Sweet Brown famously expressed: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” How true, Sweet. How true.
Thank god for the Scandinavians. Aside from giving us IKEA, Scandinavian women are probably one of the most beautiful in the world. Sweden, Finland and Norway have a combined six Miss Universe pageant winners, behind the USA (8), and Venezuela (7) so there’s no argument that this region is a beauty producing superpower.
But beauties aside, the Scandinavians are also masters of relaxation. The Finnish people have been using Saunas since before Christ and may have introduced the practice to China and most of Europe. Even the word “sauna” comes from an ancient Finnish word referring to “the traditional Finnish bath and to the bathhouse itself. “
The Nordic Bath: Complete Relaxation
The Nordic Bath has been used by the Scandinavians for centuries. It involves a three-step cycle of baths and has been known for its health and beauty benefits, along with providing a great sense of well-being and relaxation. The three-step cycle includes:
1. Warming up the Body – sit in a Sauna for 10 – 15 minutes to warm the body up. This step increases blood circulation, releases muscular tension, opening the skins’ pores and releasing toxins.
2. Cold Exposure – Once the body is warmed up, it is quickly immersed in a cold pool for a few seconds, closing the skin’s pores and oxygenates the entire body.
3. Relaxation – Relaxation outdoors is essential to allow the body to fully recover from the shock it received being exposed to hot and cold temperatures. This is usually done next to a fireplace.
For the full effect of complete relaxation to take place, this whole sequence has to be repeated 3-4 times.
Hot + Cold = Relaxation
Based on the method of inducing hyperthermic stress on the body by exposing it to alternating hot and cold temperatures, this practice has many well known benefits, such as:
Immune System Stimulation
After the Sauna, you’ll head on to the cold water pool and submerge yourself from head to toe. This will shock your body, making your blood vessels contract and your heart rate and blood pressure rise, forcing it to produce more disease fighting white blood cells. This whole sequence promotes better blood circulation and as the body attempts to warm itself, your metabolism speeds up, thus activating the immune system.
When you sweat during the Sauna session, your body releases all the harmful toxins and heavy metals through your skin. Research has shown that sweating out toxins by regularly going to the Sauna is one of the most effective methods, as sweat contains and releases more toxins than urine! Somehow, I wish I didn’t know about that…
Again, the Sauna part of the Nordic Bath has proven to help relieve people who suffer from rheumatic pain. It’s often recommended to treat or reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, glaucoma, obstructive lung disease, osteoarthritis, and other degenerative diseases. It has also been known to help people mild depression.
Warning: Persons with high blood pressure and any disabilities or ailments are not advised to undergo this type of activity. Please consult your health care provider for details.
The skin being the largest organ of the body, toxins are eliminated through the skin during the Sauna session. This elimination process helps restore skin elasticity and adds a healthy glow to it. That’s where the famous Scandinavian pink cheeks come from!
Complete and utter Relaxation
With your muscles relaxed and your blood circulating properly, your body releases endorphins or “endogenous morphine” (a morphine like substance originating from the body) giving you this overwhelming sense of calm and relaxation. Your tense muscles turn to putty, your mind attains calm and you feel invigorated and ready to take on the world after. Bliss on tap!
And there you have it! The Nordic Bath is the ultimate in relaxation. Get a deep tissue massage after doing four circuits of the Nordic Bath to really pamper yourself and treat your body right. Use this after a long and toxic week to relieve stress and detoxify your body. Trust me, your body will thank you for it.