Unit 2 - Lesson 5: Embracing Thermal Therapy

Learn about the power of hot and cold therapy and how you can do it on yourself at home to treat aches and pains in the body

MOST POPULAR: "Top 10 secrets of highly effective stone massage." (read more)

View Video Transcript +

Okay, in today’s video we’re going to talk about how you as a massage therapist or a body therapist, a beauty therapist, can embrace hot and cold to your body on a daily basis because you are not going to be able to apply those cold stones to a client’s body if you don’t learn and understand the power of temperature/to what cold does to your body on a regular basis. In order for you to be able to get your client to embrace that cold application and what’s happening on a chemical level, you need to also be able to do something for yourself on a daily basis to learn what that power is and what that process is.


Some of the things we’ve put up for you are simple things you can do at home for yourself. They will be able to help you with understanding the importance of cold to the body and how it helps to heal the body as well as learn to appreciate it and get the benefit of it as well, just in your own bathroom.


One of the things you can do if you have isolated pain somewhere, you could have it in your shoulder or you can have a headache or a sore throat, sinus blockage, one of the nicest things you can do is a hot foot bath with cold application. So, you have isolated pain. You have it in your shoulder, you have it in your head, whatever, you can take a hot Epsom salt bath. So if you take an Epsom salt bath, as hot as you can possibly get that bath water, then what you are going to do is dry off and when you get out of that you are going to put those cold stones on where ever it is that you are hurting, or a cold ice pack.


Don’t use those blue gel things that pop open or those cold packs you put in the refrigerator that have cloth around them. They don’t get cold enough to shock the body in to a chemical change. They just get a cooling effect happening and when you really want that shock to take place is once the body has gotten really really warm, like in a hot tub or a hot bath, and then shock it with that extreme cold so that brain thinks it’s a possible frostbite. That’s when you’re going to get that vassal constriction, the blood and the lymph, the inflammation will run away and then it will come from the heart for that secondary response. So you want to be able to do that. If you go back and forth one to four times that’s going to improve that circulation where ever that pain is. So you have to go back and forth between that hot water and that cold application, hot water and the cold application.


Alternating a shower for hot and cold in the shower. This is very very good for all over lymphatic disorder, or let’s say you get colds easy, or your sinuses bother you a lot at different parts of the season, or you just want to tonify and strengthen your epidermis all over your body. It’s sort of like a mini facelift all over your body. So what you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to take a really hot slower and get super hot. So hot that you are uncomfortable in that shower. It’s really important that you are very very hot. You’re going to turn that water to cold and hopefully you have a showerhead that comes off. If not you want to use a water pitcher. You’re going to take as cold of water as you can possibly tolerate and pour it down your right leg and then up the inside of your right leg. Then you’ll pour that water down the left leg and up the inside. This is as cold as you can tolerate. Then you will go down the outside of the right arm and up the inside. Down the outside of the left arm and up the inside. You can do the front of your body and the back of your body. They you’re going to get hot again in that shower. So then you change your water back to hot again and you get really hot again and you repeat that process. You always go from the farthest limb from your heart so that’s your right leg. And it’s best to go down the outside of the leg and up the inside with that cold water. The same down the outside of the left leg and up the inside. Down the outside up the inside, the outside up the inside. Up the front and down the back. Hot again and then repeat the cold. You do three rounds of hot and three rounds of cold.


You’ll come out of the shower, if you do it right, you’ll come out of the shower sweating even if your house is cold. Even if the location of where you are showering is cold you’ll come out of that shower sweating because you’ve had what’s called a vascular gymnastics happening with inside your system. You’ve asked the entire body to become active with this temperature, both the hot and the cold. So every aspect of your body is having that vassal constriction and the vassal dilation going on and it’s requiring that the heart and the blood all play with that. It’s very tonifying for all the tissue. It’s very powerful to make the lymphatic system drain and it helps with your digestion. It’s a great thing to do too if your house isn’t warm and you want to get out of the shower warm. Instead of getting out of the shower in a hot shower and you come in to that cold room and you’re freezing, you get out of a cold shower in to a cold room and you’re going to feel warm. Trust me.


Water treading is like one of my favorite things to do. Someday I would love to have a water treading unit in my backyard. In Germany, throughout Germany, this is a very common thing. Sebastian Kneipp was a hydro-therapist back in the 1800’s and we’ll speak more on him later on (and he came from Germany). What they have throughout Germany are these tanks that, it’s like a mini pool and it’s sunk in the ground, usually, and it’s around knee high, or slightly above knee or slightly below knee. This is very cold water. Just below the freezing point. So it’s rigid cold water. It’s painful cold water. They also have it for arm plunges and we’ll talk about that in a second. But the water treading unit is designed for getting….the lymph pools in our ankles. It goes to our ankles and then we can eliminate it through the process of our kidneys. But the last place it goes is our ankles. So if you get those feet, those lower limbs down in to that iced cold water and the goal is what they call stork walking, so really walk while you are in this unit and there are different designs and it’s big enough to walk in. Probably the average unit that I saw was probably 6’ by 10’ maybe, or 6’ by 8’ and sometimes there are handles to hold on to. The goal is, when you’re in there your heart is going to increase, right? Your heart is going to increase its beats and you’re also walking like this. It’s not like you have to walk fast, but you’re doing that stork walking which accelerates your respiration and helps the heart beat a little faster.


What’s going on with the constriction, remember vassal constriction for those cold stones, what’s going on is it’s making that lymph that pooled in our ankles come up and we have to eliminate it. We have to filter it out. So it’s one of the most powerful things to keep your body healthy. It’s great for people that have varicose veins, or people that have leg cramps, people that are on their feet all the time, people that are stationary. This allows that circulation to go on with our lower limbs and gets that heart to be healthier. It’s a vascular gymnastics for the blood. It’s like a blood transfusion for your whole system because your entire body will respond to that.


The arm plunge is the same idea, but now this is a sink that you are going to put your arms in to that rigid cold water and it’s going to come about this far, about midway from elbow to shoulder. You are going to hold it in there for about three minutes. Typically when you first try that you might get 30 seconds out of it because it’s so rigid and you’re going to go Oh My Lord this is so cold. It’s going to feel so cold, it’s going to feel hot because it stings, it burns. It’s so good for the heart. It’s so strengthening for the blood and the heart. It helps with the beats of the heart and it makes the heart have that little exercise going on. It’s something you can do once a day to help strengthen your heart.


You wouldn’t want to do water treading and the arm plunge in the same experience. You’d want to do one or the other. You can do one in the morning and one in the afternoon. But you wouldn’t want to do them back to back with each other.   They’re too strong. There’s too much information going on for the heart. It’s like I keep saying, it’s a vascular gymnastics for the circulatory system and you don’t want to do that aerobic internal exercise back to back. You can separate them out.


Salt Glow. This is a really nice way to help your partner’s skin or your skin become newer. The salt glows that they do in spas and resorts now days tend to have oils, either essential oils or other types of oils mixed in with the salts, and then because it makes it more comfortable to have it done. It’s not really doing what it was intended to do. A salt glow, initially, was intended to rid the body of dead skin and because this is our largest organ and the organ that communicates to the rest of our body initially when we are stimulated in our environment, we want that skin to be fresh and as clean as possible. One of the ways you can do that is with an authentic salt glow.


It’s going to be a mixture, I personally use Epsom salt and kosher salt. You can use any coarse salt you want as long as it’s not been iodized. So you want to use like a sea salt or Epsom salt or kosher salt. It’s got to be pretty gritty ya know, not smooth. You can mix it 50/50. It’s going to take about four to five cups to do a full body. Just like we did before when we went down the leg and up the leg with the water, and starting with the right leg, you’re going to do that with this technique as well. You are going to vigorously rub that salt in to a damp skin, not wet skin to where it gets pink. You you’ll just put a hand full of salt and you’ll rub from the ankles up this time, but you’ll start with that right leg and you’ll get it really nice and pink. Then you can rinse it off. And on a damp leg you will do the left leg the same way. You’ll do that right arm damp and then rinse it, left arm. You can do the front of the body and the back of the body. I wouldn’t suggest doing your face because it’s a little rough. You only need to do that once. It’s going to take that four or five cups of that mixture of salt to do your whole body. It’s nice if you can have a partner do it for you so that you can have somebody really do your back and you can stand and just have somebody rub that leg for you. In spas they typically put you on a wet table and do it while you are laying down. And again they usually, almost always add some kind of oils to it which makes the salt not as abrasive. So it makes it feel better. It can exfoliate the dead skin, but not as good as if the salt is dry and the skin is just damp, not wet.


Now the big thing is when we’re doing this vigorous rubbing we’re stimulating a vassal dilation happening. The skin will vassal dilate. So now we’ve opened up all the pores and the pores are vulnerable to accept whatever is being put on them. So if that salt has been contaminated or camouflaged with some kind of an oil, whether it’s an essential oil, or Jojoba oil, or some type of massage oil to make it softer, now we have this vassal dilated pore and it’s absorbing whatever oil is in that salt. So you have these vassal dilated pores and they’re prime for healing and prime to be receiving what type of treatment you want to put on it. But you don’t want to clog it up with whatever oil is in that salt because when you rinse it off with the cool water the pores will vassal constrict. So you don’t want anything in that pore. You want that pore to be pure. So as you’re doing that vigorous rubbing with that salt and you rinse it with cool water the vigorous rubbing vassal dilates. You want that skin nice and clean, no oils, because when you put that cool water on it, it’s going to vassal constrict and that’s going to lock in the moisture of the water and not some oil that could contaminate your skin.


Afterwards, if you feel you need to be oiled down or lotioned up, you can go ahead and use the oils or the lotions. But most of the time after an authentic salt glow your skin feels so baby soft you won’t need any lotions or lubricants to make it feel moist. It will be moist because it’s in its natural state. You can do a salt glow about every two to three weeks. You don’t want to do it any quicker than that. Two weeks at the shortest amount of time/three weeks. Then you’ll have nice fresh skin and it will be baby soft.


Enjoy the treatments at home. Experiment with cold.