Updated: Jun 18
I'm currently struggling with a very large ovarian cyst that makes me look like I'm ready to give birth. I've done 2 surgeries before for the same thing and right now I have straight up refused to do a 3rd. My loving friends think I'm crazy...and maybe I am...but they're still supportive of my decision. One such friend in an effort to support my natural health journey introduced me to a lady named Etta Dixon and oh, it was a blessing meeting this gem.
This woman was a walking witness of wellness! And guess what?.....She wrote the book on it; "I Am A Wellness Witness". She stood upright as she spoke with me with a sparkle in her eyes. I get very conscious about my own poor posture whenever I'm around her. Her vibrant spirit would make anyone believe they were speaking with a 21 year old who had her 84 year old grand mother whispering in her ear. She was always ready with dietary tips, exercise tips and lifestyle tips. She started telling me of the kind of diet ("lifestyle" sorry.....she doesn't use that word in her vocabulary) that I should be on to starve my tumor and how this lifestyle positively affects her life. Would you believe this woman still dances?! Yes, she's dances professionally and even enters competitions.
Etta decided to take control of her health and ultimately became a wellness witness after her two sisters died young. She and her sisters were vastly different. Their inattention to their health created everlasting consequences which frightened Miss Etta. She decided early on that that would not be her destiny.
Just before walking away, Etta gave me a brochure and said "why don't you come to the spa with me? I go every Wednesday at 10:am". When I took up her up on her invitation and joined her in going to the spa I realize that this was one of her secrets to a long vibrant life. One of her famous sayings are "A weekly trip to Palisades Park Korean Spa will take our longevity very far".
If Etta's own testimony is not enough to prove that going to the spa adds longevity to your life, then lets look at some research.
According to research:
Saunas will save your life – and cognitive function
Associated with lowered risk of dementia, hypertension and cardiac disease, and lowered risk of all-cause mortality
In 2015 researchers from the University of Eastern Finland found that frequent sauna bathing was associate with lower death rates from cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as all-cause mortality. The study tracked 2,300 middle-aged men for an average of 20 years, categorizing the men into groups according to how often they used a sauna each week.
“Over the course of the study, 49% of men who went to a sauna once a week died, compared with 38% of those who went two to three times a week and just 31% of those who went four to seven times a week.”
The same researchers also found that the most frequent sauna bathers had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia-related illnesses than less frequent bathers. Men who went to the sauna four to seven times a week were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia, and 65% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, than those taking a sauna once a week. Furthermore, those who regularly visited saunas were almost 30% less likely to develop pneumonia, while taking a sauna four times a week cut the risk by 40%.
The same research has yet to be conducted on women. Still, saunas seem to be pretty much magical.
Bathing. Soaking in the tub isn’t just relaxing. It might make you live longer
Decreases inflammation, burns calories, may help regulate blood sugar
This continues on the study of “passive heating,” meaning heat from an external source rather than from exercise.
A study that recently made international headlines found that taking a hot bath improves health and can burn calories.
Researchers at Loughborough University investigated the effect of a hot bath on blood sugar control (an important measure of metabolic fitness) and on energy expended (number of calories burned). For the study, they recruited 14 men and divided them into groups to either soak for an hour in a hot bath (40˚C) or cycle for an hour. The activities were designed to cause a 1˚C rise in core body temperature over the course of the hour.
After measuring calories burned in each session, and blood sugar for 24 hours after each trial, they found that, while cycling burned more calories than the bath, bathing resulted in about as many calories being burned as a half-hour walk (around 140 calories). The overall blood sugar response to both conditions was similar, “but peak blood sugar after eating was about 10% lower when participants took a hot bath compared with when they exercised.”
They also found changes to the inflammatory response similar to that following exercise.
“The anti-inflammatory response to exercise is important as it helps to protect us against infection and illness, but chronic inflammation is associated with a reduced ability to fight off diseases. This suggests that repeated passive heating may contribute to reducing chronic inflammation, which is often present with long-term diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.”
Recent findings of separate research has also suggested that, though we have long cautioned pregnant women to avoid hot bath and saunas, they may not present a risk after all. More research needs to be done, however, to confirm those findings before pregnant women should start soaking up the heat.
So many health benefits. So many reasons to head to the spa. And the world might be catching on.
In August 2018, ISPA released its annual findings of spa industry financial indicators, reporting that the number of spa visits in the US had increased from an estimated 184 million in 2016 to 187 million in 2017.