Relaxing therapies using water
Water has incredibly therapeutic properties. We can float in it, use it to exercise our bodies and, when converted into steam, have a whole-body cleanse from it.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the fabulous water therapies available from spas in the UK that you can access any time of year.
Believed to originate from French seaside towns, Thalassotherapy involves exercising and lying in heated pools (with temperatures of 37-38 degrees) of mineral-infused salted water. Hydrotherapy jets are usually employed to ensure your entire body benefits from the magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron in the water (which mimics seawater). Around 20 minutes of immersion is typical. As well as detoxifying the body, thalassotherapy is believed to help conditions such as stress, cellulite, rheumatism, arthritis and skin conditions such as eczema.
Watsu is a form of oriental relaxation technique. Some refer to it as balletic shiatsu in water. And, certainly, you do move around – but it’s with the help of your therapist who ‘swishes’ you through the water. She’ll also stretch and flex those limbs of yours as you lie, becoming calmer as the minutes tick by. At the same time, she (or he) will apply some stimulating acupressure.
Similar to Thalassotherapy in that it involves submerging your body in mineral-enriched water for a period of time, Hydrotherapy adds another element. And that is darkness. There is no exercise involved either. Rather this is literally about floating in the dark (you’ll wear an eye mask). The sensory deprivation is believed to add to a sense of relaxation (ie there is no visual stimulation you can focus on).
@GoodSpaGuide: “Hydrotherapy is often prescribed by a GP or therapist as part of a course of treatment. If you’re having hydrotherapy at a spa, you may well be having a more general treatment, in which case just be aware of the power of the water.”
Most of us have experienced the delights of a steam room (although not everyone loves it as it can get a little stifling at times); but, If you do, you may want to experience some natural steam therapy! The Grotta Giusti Natural Spa Resort outside Pisa is where it’s at. In the largest cave in Europe, steam actually seeps out from its rocks, allowing you to sweat out those toxins while admiring the various stalactites and stalagmites. Bizarre but beneficial.
Volcanic springs are more commonly found in Alaska (where they are routinely known as geysers), but there are also several in Tuscany. One such hot spring is at the crater of an extinct volcano, around which the Terme di Saturnia spa resort is located. The water, which comes from the ground at a temperature of 37°C contains both hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide, making it the perfect antidote to taut muscles, tension and joint stiffness, according to clinic staff. Clients are also encouraged to use the volcanic mud to detoxify the body.