I've always enjoyed the transformative healing power of water, whether that be relishing the warm salty waves of the Indian Ocean or the invigorating stabbing pain of ice cold Corsican rock pools. I know that water heals.
Past civilisations understood this too. It's not a new discovery. The therapeutic use of water has been recorded in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers, while Romans had communal public baths for their citizens. Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness. Other cultures noted for a long history of hydrotherapy include China and Japan, the latter being centred primarily around Japanese hot springs. Many such histories predate the Roman thermae.
I grin inwardly whenever I observe ancient healing practices being remembered and acknowledged. This time it's the grand awakening to the power of water as an element that can heal which has led to a mass obsession with cold water swimming and immersion. As with most trends they usually begin with a media hype and Wim Hof, the Dutch extreme athlete and self-styled Iceman has had a lot to do with the sudden appeal of cold water immersion. Everyone's talking about it. I will openly admit to not being a fan but I do acknowledge the numerous benefits to the physical system, when carried out safely and with caution, and with an understanding of your own body-type. The main feel good factor seems to be the sensation of being awakened, setting you up for the day, making you feel enlivened. And in a busy world of competing and striving, it is of no surprise that more alertness is the quality being sought after by so many.
Let me offer an alternative prescription for the human condition. What if we used water to bring more softness, connection and bonding, more understanding of our interconnectedness? Can water help us to notice how our body and mind feels when we remove competing and striving, and sink into our natural state of ease? The answer is yes. This is one of the numerous benefits of WARM water therapy - Watsu - of which I am a practitioner and a huge fan, given that my body-type responds much better to warm therapy as opposed to cold. Watsu therapy switches on the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting deep sleep, muscle relaxation, acute pain & stress relief....to name just a few. There are so many more benefits attached to Watsu, both physical and subtle.
I'm waiting for the day when the next celebrity hits the media having discovered the wondrous discovery of Oneness found in the silky warmth of a Watsu embrace.
We are both hot & cold, active & passive, awake & asleep which is why we must nurture and care for all aspects of ourselves.
Don't wait for media hype, trust instead in the wisdom of our ancestors, and experience the transformative healing power of warm water Watsu for yourself.
Wednesday, 6th March at The Scented Garden Private Day Spa in Orston, Nottinghamshire