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heat


eperiences


ETIQUETTE


In comparison with the rest of Europe, we in the UK are novices when it comes to thermal areas. Kath Hudson talks to the experts about creating an in-club bathing culture


M


any people think saunas, steamrooms and whirlpools are a good place to slob out for 15


minutes post-workout, or have a chat with a mate in the middle of a swim, without any idea of what they are trying to achieve or the benefits that heat experiences can offer. So how can you ensure your members don’t fall into this trap? How can you educate them on the correct way to use the sauna, steamroom and whirlpool, so your thermal area works both as a complement to members’ fitness regimes, and as a retention tool for your club?


HEALTH BENEFITS


Multiple cycles of heating up and cooling down can do wonders for increasing mental clarity, vigour and energy. In fact,


A cold or cool shower between heat cycles releases corticoids, which tone the skin


the thermal workout is a relaxing way of working the body. “Thermal areas are not just about pampering and escapism. They can bring about long-lasting results,” says NiQi Kundhi, CEO of GeoSpa. For example, since saunas raise the


body’s temperature – effectively creating an artifi cial fever – they are great for fortifying the immune system. The humidity of steamrooms, meanwhile, benefi ts the respiratory system. “The heat also offers an alternative way


of stimulating the cardiac rate without having to work hard in the gym,” says Anne Bramham, founder of Astecc. “The Europeans have been doing it the smart way for years. It can increase the pulse rate up to around 120, which is the equivalent of a workout.” On the mental wellbeing side of things, encouraging time-out is another clear


benefi t. As our lives get faster and we’re constantly in touch by phone, email and social networking, it’s getting harder to fi nd the time to be still – and the sauna can be just the place to switch off. “The treadmill is still about your boss or what went on at work, but the spa is a place to relax,” says Kundhi. “We need down-time and sacred space. There’s no longer room for this in life, but the spa area can foster a different mindset with the aromas, the heat and the humidity.”


THE ART OF SPA So how should the thermal area be used if we want to maximise the benefi ts? Before going into the sauna or steamroom, it’s important to shower and fully dry off so the body is clean and can become hot as quickly as possible. Experts agree that bathing should be done in three cycles – there is no advantage to doing more than this – with adequate time to properly cool down in between. In fact, having a cold, or cool, shower between heat cycles is advantageous because it releases corticoids, which have a stimulating effect and tone the skin. “Stay in the heat for fi ve to 15 minutes


and rest for 15 minutes. Don’t re-enter until the pulse returns to 60–90,” says Bramham. “If you do the cycle twice you’ll feel tired, but if you do it three times you’ll feel energised, as you go through the cycle of recharging and come out the other side.” According to Gerard McCarthy, sales director at Dalesauna, the heat experience with the lowest temperature should be used fi rst, followed by a


66 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital august 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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