Scientific Fact #1
The diameter of the Sun is roughly 400 times the diameter of the Moon and the distance between the Earth and the Sun is approximately 400 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. This exact proportionality of distance to size is so harmonious that we can witness one of nature’s most stunning stellar phenomenons: the solar eclipse.
Scientific Fact #2
If nuclear force was even two percent stronger or two percent weaker, the universe would never be able to support life.
Scientific Fact #3
One of my dear yoga teachers, Desiree Rumbaugh, is coming to Dallas next month. I highly recommend anyone who is looking to gain clarity, hope, or more zest for living to join her in one or all of her sessions. She is an excellent teacher and has much insight to offer to your yoga practice, whether you be interested in breaking down poses, refining alignment, or seeing your practice take flight. Mark your calendars for November 11-13th. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, “A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.” This is something you will not want to miss…the quality of your life may well depended on it!
Both saunas and cold water therapy have their place. Although it seems relaxing and therapeutic, a post-hike hot tub, sauna, or heating pad is not always recommended. After a lengthy hike or any extreme workout, your joints and muscles are inflamed. If you put heat on them, the blood flow to those areas will increase, which can make them even more inflamed. In addition, you may already be slightly dehydrated, and the additional heat and sweating may dehydrate you even more.
An icy soak, on the other hand, will help reduce inflammation of tissues and joints, relieve soreness, and speed up your recovery. There are two ways to accomplish this. First, simply fill a bath tub with cold water and get in, so your body can adjust to the temperature. Then dump in ice (as tolerated). Stay in the tub for 10 minutes. If this is too extreme at the beginning, you can work your way up with a cold shower. Gradually decrease the temp of the water so your body can adjust. The recommended approach is to start with a five-minute gradual adaptation and decrease in water temperature until the water is around 68 degrees — 2 to 3 minutes once or twice daily at this temperature will give you many of above benefits. At the very least, there is the more traditional route of putting bags of ice or frozen vegetables on the sore or inflamed parts for 10 to 15 minutes post-training.
Benefits of Cold Water Therapy
• Improves circulation. Efficient blood circulation speeds up recovery time from strenuous exercises. Alternating between hot and cold water while you shower is an easy way to improve your circulation. Cold water causes your blood to move to your organs to keep them warm. Warm water reverses the effect by causing the blood to move towards the surface of the skin.
• Relieves depression. Research at the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine indicates that short cold showers may stimulate the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline — a chemical that could help mitigate depression.
• Keeps skin and hair healthy. Hot water dries out skin and hair. Cold water can make your hair look shinier and your skin look healthier by closing up your cuticles and pores.
• Strengthens immunity. According to a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increase in the number of virus fighting white blood cells compared to individuals who took hot showers. Researchers believe that the increased metabolic rate, which results from the body’s attempt to warm itself up, activates the immune system and releases more white blood cells in response.
Benefits of Sauna
Saunas offer many beneficial effects as well–particularly after the 36–48 hour post-hike window.
• Saunas induce perspiration, which helps the body get rid of the toxic by-products that are produced during exercise. This takes some of the load off of the kidneys which have to work overtime to do this detoxing action in other ways.
• Saunas also increase circulation and raise body temperature, which helps the body fight aches and pains. Studies also show saunas are effective in helping to relieve muscle tension. This can mean quicker recovery between workouts.
When using the sauna, make sure that you begin with moderate heat and adjust the heat when necessary. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before you enter the sauna. This increases the chance of dehydration. Make sure to replenish fluids after your sauna session. Try to wait 36 to 48 hours after a difficult training session before going to the sauna or hot tub. If you’re training in the mornings, in particularly cold conditions, or are a bit stiff going into a workout, a short (less than 5 minutes) time in the hot tub, steam room or sauna can help warm you up, or loosen up muscles prior to stretching. That doesn’t mean you can use this as your workout-specific warm up and you may need additional hydration as a result.
Some conditions require you consult your physician before you enter a sauna or take a cold shower. If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, fever, or heart disease; you should consult with your physician before using either. The extreme temperatures can cause stress to the body when the body is battling an illness.