Steam room

Hydrotherapy sauna, bath or hammam


You can detox with juices, supplements, or even by working out. But without doubt, the easiest way to refresh your body, especially in the dead of winter, is to relax in a sauna or steam room.

Easy, that is, if you know what you are doing. The point is, there is so much more to sweat than just wrapping a towel around your chest and lying on a wooden bench. What’s the secret to making your DIY spa day work for you?

Enter hydrotherapy, or hot-cold rituals. “Hydrotherapy helps release endorphins and increase melatonin levels,” says Liz Tortolani, founder of CityWell, a public bath (super Instagram-friendly) in what is essentially my apartment-to-apartment version of my dreams. Brooklyn. Inside, there are modern-chic showers, a steam room, and a lounge stocked with raw nuts, freshly brewed teas, coloring books, and all-natural beauty products, while outside is a backyard oasis with a giant whirlpool tub, rainfall shower, and newly installed retro-style sauna (insert a heart-eye emoji here).

“Your body will feel like it just did a big workout, because it basically does.”

“The order of the elements is important because you are slowly preparing your body for the more intense hot and cold,” Tortolani adds. Follow a specific structure, which she has refined after years of practice, and you will reap major benefits. “It’s really good for relaxing muscles, lowering your heart rate, helping circulation and digestion, promoting better sleep, the list goes on,” says the Brooklynite. (Have you ever noticed how totally zen everyone leaving a bathhouse always looks?)

Not only does Tortolani liken the process to interval training, but she also suggests that you practice working out on actual rest days. “Your body will feel like it’s just done a big workout, because it basically does,” she says, pointing out the endorphin rush you feel after submerging yourself in extremely hot and then cold temperatures. “All your senses are awakened in these elements,” she adds.

Of course, in the face of such temperature fluctuations, remember to give yourself appropriate breaks and keep a bottle of water handy. “It’s important not to overheat,” says Tortolani. “Do things gradually as your body adjusts, and hydration is key.” Two laps will reach the sweet spot and leave you completely rejuvenated and happy.

And if you can’t make it to a public bath, you can DIY your own at home. Tortolani recommends soaking in an Epsom salt bath first, then taking a cold shower followed by a hot shower, then starting over.

Read on to learn the steps in a life-changing hydrotherapy session.

hydrotherapy stages
Photo credit: Stocksy / Guille Faingold

Step 1: Rinse

The first step is to prepare your body for the most intense temperatures. “I call it a temperate shower,” Tortolani explains. “It’s about acclimating your body and cleansing the day energetically and literally, then bringing your body temperature to a warm place.”

hydrotherapy hammam
Photo: Stocksy / Monica Murphy

2. Be hot

Time to heat things up – Tortolani says the next stop should be the hammam. “Steam helps improve your breathing, relieve congestion, and help your body relax,” she says. “It’s a good way to start the detoxification process slowly.”

Another bonus? Your pores will open, so that the bacteria causing acne and the bacteria build-up will be released into the fine air (vapor). Tortolani advises to stay in the hammam for 5 to 7 minutes.

hydrotherapy process
Photo: Stocksy / Nabi Tang

3. Resume the shower

Then it’s back to the shower, but it won’t be as easy as the first. “This rinse is cooler than the first because you want to start flushing the system,” says Tortolani. “Try to make it cooler or cooler and really massage large areas of the lymph nodes to help speed up the process.” This includes your neck, armpits, and groin areas.

While it can be difficult to shower below your body temperature, she promises it will be worth it and your endorphins will definitely be on high alert (yes, that’s a good thing. ).

hydrotherapy tub
Photo: Stocksy / Studio Firma

4. Enjoy a hot bath

“Relaxing in hot water is particularly helpful in releasing muscle tension,” says Tortolani. “It also helps fight inflammation and any nerve issues. It’s an amazing feeling to allow your body to be weightless, which we aren’t very often.”

She recommends getting in the water up to your neck (no need to submerge yourself) for about 10 minutes – a hot tub is ideal, but any hot tub will do. You can also take another cool shower if you want afterwards, but this is not necessary.

hydrotherapy sauna
Photo: Stocksy / Trinette Reed

5. Sauna time

A sauna provides a dry heat experience, which is a nice juxtaposition to the humidity of the steam room and has its own benefits. “The sauna is particularly effective in relieving tension, increasing blood circulation and can even help with migraine,” says Tortolani.

After taking a deep breath in the cozy wooden lair, you might even notice a glow after stepping out 7-10 minutes later. This is because, as Tortolani points out, all the increased blood circulation leads to an enviable glow.

cold hydrotherapy shower
Photo: Stocksy / Jacqui Miller

6. Relax

Tortolani recommends ending your routine with the coldest shower of all (or, if you’re close, be that person who jumps into the cold plunge). “This is important because the hotter your system, the better it will feel,” she says. Brace yourself for this instant chill allows you to do more than brag, “The cold is really going to stimulate your body and flush out all the old blood. It helps move all the systems in your body, from your nervous system to your digestive system. systems. “

Do you have problems with cold showers? (I can feel you.) “Warm up as much as possible in the sauna, then try to smile and put up with it,” Tortolani says. “A handheld shower makes it a bit easier, so you can start right under your arms and hit all the lymph hot spots.” Repeat the entire process, if time permits. In the end, the feeling will be worth it.

There are other ways of self-care that you can try as well, like this scientifically supported way to improve your mood.

CityWell, 496 President Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215, 347-294-0100,


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