Immersive Therapies: Hot, Cold, Mud, Sand, Cedar, Water as All Body Healers
Near Siwa, in Egypt, people are buried up to their necks in warm sand as a therapy for detoxifying and nourishing the body. In Japan, it is Enzymatic Cedar Baths. All over the earth, from Croatia to the New Mexico, mud and clay immersion is common. And of course, those of us who are mineral pool junkies will hike miles into the wilderness to find a natural hot pond. In countries like Iceland, geothermal bathing is almost a religious experience. So, why does Immersion Therapy work? Why does it feel so good?
The mechanisms of healing from immersion therapy rely on three things:
1) Alternating hot and cold environments creates a pump in the body. The pores expand to cool the body, then contract to warm the body. When done in rapid succession, this oxygenates the skin and rapidly moves lymph, creating a detoxing effect.
2) The skin is the largest organ in the body, and absorbs well. Minerals in the mud, water, sand etc are more easily absorbed into the body through full immersion. Some minerals that are common in mud baths include Calcium, Iron, Lithium and Sulfur, Sulfur. Some of these have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal and keratolytic effects. This is the same reason epsom salts work.
3) Systemic effects from general relaxation help the whole person. Immersive media like clay and mud and water, when heavy and thick on the skin, can be comforting to the nervous system, much like a weighted blanket. The heart rate usually slows, and we move into a meditative "zoned out" state.
What we put on our skin matters. Choose wisely. We've written a piece on our Ingredients Philosophy for your consideration. In The Invitation, we talk about lowering the body load, how to lower the stress on all your organs, and nourish yourself.