Living on the east coast, we deal with dramatic changes on a day to day basis, which puts major stress on the body and our immune system. One day we go out under dressed cause of the warmer temperatures and the next day we’re bundled up again because it’s snowing and in the negative temperatures. Because of this bipolar weather, fevers and colds happen…if you’re wondering how I avoid getting sick…I go to the Banya!
This eastern European tradition originally came from the Greeks who had a cult of bathhouses. Now banya, also known as the bathhouse are everywhere in this amazing city of ours. They include steam rooms, dry saunas, wet saunas, a cold pool plunge, a Jacuzzi, and sometimes your ordinary pool. So what are the benefits and why do I make it a ritual to go every week? Check out several reasons below:
- Stress during the week gives our muscles some serious tension but the heat and humidity of saunas relaxes muscles and promotes the release of stress-caused tension.
- Hot temperatures exercise our hearts so when you are sitting in a sauna, your body learns to relax and actually helps you burn calories by sweating out toxins and excess water weight.
- The steam in a banya will help your entire body go through detox; opening up pores, and helping with sinuses.
- And if you are wondering why I hardly get sick during this brutal winter? Well banya’s the most useful for building up your immune system…here’s how: The heat from the banya creates an artificial “fever” ramping up your immune system. Regular use of a sauna helps fight illness. In other words, intense heat mixed with the intense cold strengthens our immune system.
Just some more amazing things that you can do in the banya that I follow religiously is getting a Platza or the American and Russian term is called a “venik”. This is a massage that is done inside the sauna with a bunch of oak or birch tree twigs. This massage provides relief from the humidity whilst releasing natural oils from the skin to improve metabolism and prevent premature aging of the skin. It also increases blood circulation.
Tips: wear a hat inside the sauna to prevent from overheating. Also use natural ingredients inside the wet sauna to create an exfoliating scrub with honey and sugar or coffee to wake up the skin.