2017.06.02 - Stress relief and the culture of bathing
Stress relief and the culture of bathing
It is often said that some of the most efficient ways to release stress are thermal bathing and having a sauna. In the life of the urban population it is especially important to find a way to release stress in today’s rat race world. What is stress anyway, how does it affect our lives and how can one get rid of it?
What is stress?
Stress is our body’s answer to the challenges that come from the world around us. It is an extreme condition that involves increased energy use and a higher pulse rare. When we are in stress, our hormones change and certain life functions – for instance digestion – become inactive. There are two types of stress: one can be called positive stress, this manifests when one faces challenges such as sports, games or a difficult task. After the hard work done by the human body one can take a break and relax. This is a useful thing because it serves as a kind of training, but the other type of stress – let’s call it negative stress – is very unhealthy. This stress type occurs when we are facing challenges which are difficult to apprehend and last a long time; in these situations the human body is under great pressure that can’t be released, one can’t take a break and usually the end result is some kind of serious illness or a tragedy. City dwellers are exposed to a lot of stress, due to the limited space in the urban environment, public transport, noise, the rapid pace of life and higher social expectations.
So stress relief is very important. Regular physical exercise has been proven to release stress. Yoga, relaxation and meditation can also serve as a form of stress relief. Travelling, going on a vacation, taking a walk and being in nature also reduce stress. The touch of another person and having a massage can also release stress.
Water and stress relief
It is a proven fact that already the nearness of water can reduce stress. When we hear the sound of water, the effect is even stronger and anyone can enter a meditative state when they are near a babbling stream or a fountain. When we go into the water our body feels weightless, our muscles and joints relax, and all of these have a positive influence on our subconscious and our stress reduces. This effect is even stronger when the water is hot, because the temperature is ideal and our body doesn’t have to take care of ‘heating’ – which, once again, would also result in a state of stress. Having a sauna or a steam bath also bring the effects mentioned above, what is more, a detoxification process starts as well, and because the toxins accumulated in the human body increase stress, getting rid of them is a relief to the body.
It is needless to say that the healing power of water can also be enjoyed at home, putting candles on the side of the bathtub, but in these situations the phone might ring, the neighbour might pop in or we might think of something important to do, so very often we must interrupt the self-healing ceremony – not to mention the fact that not everyone has a sauna at home. Probably it is a better idea to take the time and regularly visit our favourite thermal spa, the place where no one and nothing can disturb us as the environment is designed exactly for releasing stress.