Cold immersion is an age-old tradition in hydrothermal bathing. The Finnish are among the first known to actively use hot/cold contrast therapy as part of their bathing ritual. After spending time in a hot sauna, bathers would leave the cabin, sweating profusely and take a “roll in the snow”. It not only cooled them down but also helped cleanse any dirt from their skin. Today, hot/cold contrast therapy is a growing trend.
Plunge Pool / Frigidarium
Traditional cold-water pools stem from the Romans who realized that the surge of blood, caused by contracting blood vessels, which had previously expanded in the hot rooms, was a particularly invigorating experience. This practice is now accepted as a beneficial way of increasing blood flow and can help naturally reduce cholesterol levels in arteries and relieve hypertension. Purists would have it that a plunge pool should be barely above freezing point, but temperatures of 12° C to 20° C are effective. These were dubbed frigidariums by the Romans.
There can be nothing more exhilarating than stepping from a traditional sauna into a landscape covered with a fresh fall of real snow with which to cool the body. Operating at -10° C to 0° C, these rooms are becoming features in some modern spas, as we slowly, but surely, retrace our steps to provide ever more authentic experiences closer to the origins of the treatments we all now desire.
An ice fountain is often found inside a snow room. The powdery snow can be applied to selectively to cool the extremities of the body, such as legs and arms. The very cold snow reaches temperatures below 0° C and the process of rubbing the snow onto arms and legs assists cooling in those areas.
To gain a better understanding of some of the more common/popular hydrothermal experiences found in today’s spas and in-home wellness suites, check out DFL’s recent blog posts: