Water is good for our bodies. Not only to drink it, but also to bathe in, especially if the water contains healthy minerals; thermal water. A treatment frequently used in thermal spas is contrast therapy, also known as “hot/cold immersion therapy¨, a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in warm water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in ice water. This procedure is repeated several times, alternating hot and cold.
What many people probably don’t know is that the practice of warming the body, where after giving it a good shock with chilly water, is a centuries-old therapy used by different cultures to maintain good health.
The Turks, Finns, Romans and Chinese have all used the idea of Contrast Therapy, transferring the body from very warm temperatures to very cold temperatures, as part of a regular health and wellness routine. The theory behind contrast therapy is simple—the heat from a hot pool or hot sauna brings blood (and its nutrients) to the surface, which can soothe pain and ease sore muscles, then shocking the body in a cold plunge, which in most modern bathhouses remains at about 10°c, increases circulation and pushes that nutrient-rich blood back into the body’s core.
The traditional ritual is to go through the hot-to-cold cycle a couple of times before taking a rest to drink some water, have a snack and let your body readjust to a normal temperature. Working up a sweat will also help release toxins, excess water, lactic acid and salt retained by the body, all while giving you a passive cardiovascular workout.
While you can enjoy some of the benefits of contrast therapy at home by shifting a very warm shower to a very cold one for a few seconds , contrast therapy in a spa environment can be an excellent relaxing activity. Many spas are bringing this treatment to clients as a way to maintain an effective health routine! They do this by offering plunge pools in the thermal circuit, ice caves or offering Scottish showers as a treatment.
Balneario de Archena is one of those thermal spa´s where contrast therapy is applied. It is one of the largest thermal Spa´s in Spain with a large range of contrast therapy facilities:
- Saunas at different temperatures and humidity
- The Archena Stove with a humidity higher than 90% and a temperature close to 50ºC, which applies the micro-diffusion of medicinal mineral water from the Balneario de Archena spring.
- Countercurrent pool of medicinal mineral water with a temperature of 30-31ºC.
- Natural essence pool of lemons with air bubbles and a thermal water cascade at a temperature of 34ºC.
- Flotation pool with water of high mineralization, 80 gr / l of salt, which gives us a feeling of isolation and sensitive stimulation with a temperature of 34ºC.
- Cold water pool with medicinal mineral water at a temperature of about 20ºC that helps us to achieve an effective breakdown of the heat accumulated in the saunas and the stoves.
- An Igloo or ice cave at a temperature around 2 ° C, which allows a slow and progressive loss of heat obtaining a feeling of subdued serenity.
- Two foot ¨paths¨ of medical mineral water, one of hot water at approximately 32ºC and another of cold water at about 20ºC, that cause our legs to perform passive vascular exercises (the heat causes dilation of the veins and the cold produces contraction of the same) helping us to improve circulation.
- And a rest area with hot and infrared hammocks
More information about Balneario de Archena: http://www.spa-in-spain.com/hotels-and-spas/hotel/balneario-de-archena/