Day 20 - Water Pt 2: Hydrotherapy #22DayChallenge
Updated: Oct 4
After 19 days of doing this challenge, balancing work life with research and incorporating all these new tips; my body decided it needed to take time out to rest and slow down. I have had the idea for this blog for DAYS but it didn't want to be written and I wasn't sure why, but then the final piece of it arrived this morning when Facebook memories showed me what I was up to this time 9 years ago in South Korea.
Before I go into that I want to say that this is also a beautiful teachable moment. Sometimes we are fired up and get so much done and other times it is important to press pause on life and to stop and smell the roses. It is important to push our boundaries for growth purposes but equally important not to force things when rest is needed and I think that is something I have gotten better at over time as this is important.
This time 9 years ago, I had just moved back to S Korea for the second time and had 2 weeks off before the new school year was commencing. I decided it was time to explore so I set off on a 9 hr journey way down south stopping off to see some old friends and I also followed directions to a tiny rural village on top of a mountain to do a 10 Day Vipassana Meditation Course to fully recharge myself for my next chapter.
I will write about Vipassana in another blog but I was reminded of the beauty of this remote location which was surrounded by a waterfall and a patchwork quilt of fields of rapeseed and lavender. When I had my breaks I loved to walk around hearing the sound of the water and allowing my senses to be stimulated by the most beautiful scents, sights and sounds of nature. I was literally and metaphorically on top of the world and 9 years later I am feeling a similar joy as I do another mind/body/spirit reset
Water has been a recurring theme for me all week. In my last blog, I explored different kinds of drinking water with an internal focus and now I want to talk about the benefits of water externally and different forms of hydrotherapy.
Sticking with the theme of S.Korea, I want to tell you about my favourite form of hydrotherapy...
1. KOREAN JJIMJILBANG
What is a Jjimjilbang?
Jjimjilbangs are a huge part of Korean Culture that use hydrotherapy to rebalance the body. There are numerous pools, hot springs and jacuzzis with varying degrees of temperature. Firstly, you dive into a cold pool fully immerse yourself and then jump into a hot spring. This gets your heart to start beating faster which pumps more blood around the body which boosts your immune system and activates parts of the brain which are usually dormant. It feels strange at the beginning but you soon grow to love it and so does your body.
They also have steam rooms and saunas to sweat out any toxins from the body and you can also book in a body scrub and exfoliation to remove dead skin. This is quite a thorough process but you feel amazing after it's finished and you have a shower and then jump back into one of the hot tubs or pools
90% of Koreans go at least once every 2 weeks and it is clear to see why. Their skin is glowing... It washes away stress and boosts your immune system and they are also open 24/7. Most Jjimjilbangs have a gym also and a pretty cool spa area for further exploration. You can find rock salt rooms, charcoal rooms, crystal saunas and a smorgasbord of other delightful pleasures. Some places also have different hot springs with different minerals. Some are filled with Lemongrass others with Green Tea and lots of other exciting options. It really is one of my favourite places to go and right now I have been wishing I could teleport back to Korea to enjoy this experience again.
Below is a picture of one of the crystal saunas
I decided if I couldn't go to the Jjimjilbang I would try the next best option as my local gym has a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and ice bath but alas, it is not open yet so I will have to wait and look into other options.
2. WIM HOF METHOD - Some of you may have heard of Wim Hof also known as the Iceman that has rewritten all of the rules of what scientists thought was possible. Little did I know that 13 years after trying hot/cold water hydrotherapy in S Korea that Wim Hof would develop this theory further. He asks you to start off slowly by taking a hot shower and then switching to cold for 30 secs and to gradually build up your tolerance and this is not only good for your body, but it also increases mental clarity and really stretches your body and builds up your tolerance for things. The first time I went into the ice bath at my local gym, I was able to stay in it for around 13 minutes. I made friends with the cold a long time ago and ironically share my birthday with Wim Hof so loved that synchronicity. Below is an interview to find out more. He is in the Guinness Book of Records for ruining marathons in -20 degree temperatures in nothing but a pair of shorts and barefoot. Most scientists thought he was an exception to the rule but he has trained people through a technique called the Wim Hof Method to do the same. People of all ages and all walks of life. I'm a big fan of his work and he is very charismatic and affable.
During the Coronavirus, he also made his course 35% cheaper as he wants it available to everyone to make sure our immune systems are the strongest they can be so we can tackle things like this naturally
3. EPSOM SALT BATH & BENEFITS - Last but not least something that I like to do at home is to have a nice long soak in a bath with some Epsom salts or even a bath bomb. Most people are magnesium deficient and Epsom salts slowly release it into the water and into your skin. Below is a link to a great blog by paleo hacks on the benefits of Epsom Salts for those that want to explore further