If one of your top resolutions in 2024 is to feel healthier, you’re not alone. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, 39% of respondents want to improve their physical well-being, and nearly 30% will work on their mental wellness. Along with eating better, following a consistent workout routine and getting enough sleep, there are some other wildly innovative ways to boost your wellness (even if they’ve been around for centuries!). I tested cold immersion, infrared saunas and mineral baths. Here’s my experience.
You may have stepped into a sauna before and know it can ease your mind while soothing your muscles. But have you tried a sauna that puts on a light show? That’s what happens in an infrared sauna. These state-of-the-art chambers emit a rainbow-prism of light waves to heat your body instead of warming the air around you. The experience is designed to promote detoxification, improve circulation, boost your metabolism and improve your spirits based on the color that shines down on your body. I did a 30-minute session at the end of winter cold and woke up the next morning with my nose feeling clear for the first time in days. Some risks associated with this type of sauna include lightheadedness, heat intolerance and claustrophobia.
A high-intensity workout can lead to soreness and inflammation. Cold-water immersion (a form of cryotherapy) can help speed recovery (White GE, Wells GD. Cold-water Immersion and Other Forms of Cryotherapy. Extrem Physiol Med, September 2013). We tried a cold bath set at 57ºF and an Ice Bath at 50ºF, definitely the milder side of cold immersion. While the system immediately feels the shock on that first plunge, it gets easier to stay in the water longer after every try, and it does give a cooling sensation to the muscles and mind. You can hop into a cold shower to recreate the experience at home.
Natural Mineral Baths
Mineral springs deep within the earth are naturally carbonated and effervescent water filled with minerals like magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium and more. In a 40-minute soak at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa in Saratoga Springs, New York, you step into a four-foot deep tub filled with natural mineral water coming up from the ground. As low lighting and soft music plays, you can become buoyant in the water, allowing the body to relax aching muscles, which left me feeling refreshed and at peace. Just so you know, you can also drink the water from several public mineral springs in Saratoga State Park and experience the water’s salty, metallic taste.