The science of proper bathing

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Can you do something wrong while bathing? Perhaps not, but who is familiar with it, can control the effects of thermal-bath-visit and achieve more for his health and his wellbeing.

Bathing is child’s play – you just put on your swimming trunks and take a flying leap into the pool with a splash! However, bathing and saunas are also a science in themselves. True cognoscenti know how to get exactly what they need from thermal baths, be it inner balance or energy and a boost to the immune system.

“Bathing in warm water doesn’t just cleanse the body; it also promotes physical and mental health and wellbeing.”

Immersion in water exposes your body to a very different physical environment. If you quiet your mind, you can hear your skin, the largest sensory organ, “speak” as the warm thermal water wraps your body in a velvety embrace that is relaxing and comforting. Or, put more prosaically: water pressure, buoyancy, water density and thermal conditions are physical properties that induce a myriad of reactions in the body. When you bathe in thermal water with a low mineral content, the minerals work gently on your body. Your heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, motor system, blood and hormones respond to the moisture enveloping your body.

Hot and cold, or just hot?

Bathing is fun whether you are 9 or 99. And when the weather gets cold and frosty, nothing warms better than soaking in body-temperature thermal water. Of course, you can always just climb into the pool and let your cares float away, and then visit the sauna when you feel the need for more intense heat. That’s certainly a good way to relax. If you want to bathe “properly”, however, it helps to know a few scientific facts and set up your bathing and sauna programme accordingly.

We in our 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz joined forces with water expert and sports scientist Dr Matthias Fenzl to identify the “right” bathing cycle – and discovered that bathing is a personal matter. The ideal cycle will vary based on whether you want inner balance or more energy and a stronger immune system. However, it also depends on your reaction profile: those who are sensitive to cold prefer hot treatments, often suffer from cold fingers and toes and have minimal subcutaneous fat. In contrast, balanced individuals (i.e. individuals not affected by changes in temperature) almost always have warm fingers and toes, handle hot and cold treatments equally well and possess a thick insulating layer under their skin.

Customised bathing cycles

Experts have developed two bathing cycles for the 36.5° Wellbeing & Thermal Spa. They are part of the spa-programme “Therapeutic Relaxation” and help guests to achieve deep relaxation: “Body Adaption” for more energy and a stronger immune system, and “Body in Balance” for an increase in inner balance. Body Adaption combines bathing in thermal water with dry heat in a sauna and moist heat in a steam bath. Gradually increasing the stimuli teaches your body to respond faster and more effectively to temperature and environmental influences. Those who are sensitive to cold spend less time with hot treatments and only apply ice rubs and cold water locally. Body Adaption ends with a 30-minute rest period.

Body in Balance combines exercise in the water (swimming, aqua jogging) with saunas, steam baths and floating. Alternating rest and movement frees the body of inner tension and everyday stress. Once again, balanced individuals undergo longer hot and cold treatments during the bathing cycle and start the programme with a longer period of water-bound physical activity.

Tip: Regardless of whether you are sensitive or balanced and whether you are looking for energy or inner peace, you should set aside at least two to two and a half hours for an effective bathing cycle. This is time for you, time for your body and time to soothe your soul.

Have you already tried a bathing cycle with us, or do you enjoy the water according to your individual taste? Tell us in the comments about your experiences with thermal water.

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