Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Five:How Runners Can Benefit From Hydro Thermal Therapy


Photo from Refuge Spa

After completing the Big Sur marathon my friend and I thought we would treat ourselves to a well deserved spa day. The spa was Refuge Spa in Carmel. It was so beautiful and very peaceful. That was one of the requirements! They said it was a silent area so there was no talking. And if you are like me you like being friendly and talking to people that you come across. I thought this is going to be a long day of no talking. But it actually wasn't too bad. In addition to the spa they also offered tennis courts, yoga classes, and even a gym. I'm sure they are for an additional cost but I didn't look into any of that.

The day we were there, the therapist had said 80% of the clients were from the marathon!

The spa was broken down to a four step process. Who knew there was actually a process to having a spa day?  It's called the Refuge Thermal Cycle. It's a mixture of heat and cool. It's suppose to be good for runners because it claims to improve physical conditioning.  The sauna and steam open up the body's vascular system and then the cold water enhances muscle recuperation by building down lactic acid.

You are suppose to follow these steps in the proper order to get the most benefit out of it.  Repeat 3-5 times.They claim that skipping steps lessens the experience.


1. Heat up (5-10mins) You go into a sauna or a steam room to sweat out all the toxins in your body. The first time I got in the steam room it was so hot I had trouble even breathing. I couldnt feel comfortable enough to enjoy that. It wasn't until until my third cycle that I realized there was a sauna on the other side of the resort that was much more tolerable than the steam room.


2. Cool down (10-60 seconds) After sweating your butt off in the steam or sauna room you would think this would feel good. WRONG! There are two pools. One is labeled cool and the temperature is in the the 50s. And one is labeled cold and the temperature is in the 30s. I was not brave enough to ever try the cold. The cool was cold enough for me. When I finally managed to get in, I couldn't get myself out of there fast enough. I wanted the full benefit so I forced myself to stay in there for a min. That's the fastest 60 seconds I ever counted to!


3. Relax (10-15 minutes) During this time you are suppose to relax in the recliners outside near the fire pits or indoor zero gravity recliners looking out towards the many hot tubs. Not really sure why you would go inside when you are able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. I guess this would make sense if it was too hot outside. It was such a perfect day when we went, that I took full advantage of the outside.

Photo from Refuge Spa
                  

4. Explore This is the time to enjoy all the jacuzzi style hot tubs. Like the cooler ones, these were also labeled but with hot and warm.

5. A deep tissued massage. Ok so this isn't step five. Although, I made it in my cycle. This wasn't included in the refuge thermal cycle, but by adding that it wasn't any more than most spa prices for just a massage. It was very much worth the extra money.

The first cycle I followed in the order you are suppose to. It was so hard to get into the cool pool after getting out of the steam room, but I wanted to do it right. Each time the cycles got a bit easier. The one time after I got out of the steam room I plunged right into the cool pool. I jumped right into the hot pool because I was freezing and thought it would help. Well let's just say they put those steps in order for a reason. It was way too much of a shock from being in cool to go right into the hot. I learned my lesson that time and continued with the cycles in the correct order the following times.


When was the last time you had a spa day? Did you learn anything interesting?

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37 comments:

  1. I've never done a spa day but I am sure the day after a marathon it would be wonderful!

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    1. Yes it was lovely! There were so many people visiting the spa that day that ran the marathon. You could tell by seeing everyone hobbling around a bit.

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  2. I've never done that, but it sounds interesting and would be great after a race.

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    1. Yes it was! I really do think it helps with the recovery process.

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  3. If I was going to try contrast therapy, I think I'd want to try it at a spa! I haven't done a whole day at a spa, but when we go to Arizona, I try to get a massage at the spa of a particular hotel (if we stay there). They're usually excellent, it's a beautiful place, and we can eat at the spa restaurant which is excellent and healthier than other options though expensive. It's a serene, relaxing experience.

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    1. Yes it was very relaxing! Although this place did not have a place to eat(well I didn't see any), and after being there all day, we were starving by the time we left.

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  4. A group of us got pedicures at Saratoga Springs after the Donald. It was a great way to spend time away from the busy roads during the marathon, and the foot massage felt so good.

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    1. I love getting pedicures after a long run. I could care less about what my feet look like. It's the process that I love. Especially if you get one that takes the time to massage your calves thoroughly....now that is great! And it's even cheaper than paying for a massage:)

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    2. My calves not so much, but the bottom of my feet is just heaven. I also wanted to let you know I have a new blog title, and thus website :) inlesleyscorner . blogspot . com

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    3. Thanks Lesley. I'll be sure to check it out.

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  5. I'm all over that! Sign me up! Deborah @ Confessions of A Mother Runner

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    1. It was such a nice treat! And I thought it was very reasonably priced for what you got. Definitely worth the money!

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  6. How cool!! I love it! I do agree, you had me shivering with your description of the pool after being in the heat. I would have totally added a massage to the end, too - you deserved it!!

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    1. Yes, it was soooo cold! Not my favorite part of the process. But the massage was. That's what I thought too. I didn't feel bad at all splurging on that.

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    1. Neither have I, until my friend suggested it. And I'm glad she did. It was perfect for after my marathon! Or any time you just want a relaxing afternoon.

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  8. Any excuse to get into a hot tub after a run is a win in my book ;)

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    1. Yes Rachel I agree:) I wish I could be a homeowner to have one!

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  9. Wow, that doesn't *sound* very relaxing! (all the temperature changes, I mean - I'm sure the massage was lovely)

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    1. Well the hot tubs were, but not so much the cool tubs...haha. And yes, the massage I think was the best part of the day:)

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  10. That sounds like a wonderful way to recover from a marathon and the picture of the outdoors at that spa are GORGEOUS!!!

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    1. Yes, it was beautiful and a very peaceful day!

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  11. I have done many spa treatments, but never in a cycle as intense as this. It sounds like a perfect post marathon regiment though. I love the sauna and steam rooms at my spa. They're one of my favorite ways to detox. I have an issue with cold baths so I don't know if I could bare the transitions into the cool or cold pools. It would take some serious convincing.

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  12. Yes, the cool pools were hard to get used it. After getting out of the steam room you would think it would feel good, but it was still too cold! I saw many people take a step in and then step back out. I thought if I was going to do the whole process, I was going to do it right!

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  13. I'm now drooling in jealousy of the idea of a spa day...
    I think my last one was in 2000 - not even joking...

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    1. Well you are definitely due for one! Go treat yourself. You deserve it! That's what I always like to say when I splurge on things like this.

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  14. that is wonderful planning -- smart to do this after the race. it sounds awesome!

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  15. Well we only booked it the day prior. Good thing we did, because I was able to get the last massage appointment. My friend was nice enough to let me have it.

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  16. I haven't had a spa getaway in a LONG time. That sounds absolutely amazing and i'm totally jealous :)

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    1. It was really great! Everyone needs to take some time out for themselves and enjoy it once in awhile:)

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  17. That sounds like a really cool experience!!!!!

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  18. I love love love spa days. I've never done one with a thermal cycle though. Generally I just get a nice massage and maybe a pedicure (although I'm scared to get a pedicure now that I'm running, I'd hate to get blisters from tender skin!).

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    1. This was my first thermal was my first thermal cycle experience and it was very nice and relaxing. I couldn't pass up a massage while I was there either:) I've never gotten blisters from pedicures. And they have scraped a lot of caulouses off my feet.

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  19. I have never really thought about this, and didn't know it existed. I am kinda loving the idea, it makes sense! If you go back to my childhood (or even last winter and the one before that, LOL), when we would sit in the hot tub in the winter and then run out and roll around in the snow until we looked like human snowmen, and then jumped back into the hot tub to warm up again. I guess that was our cheap unknown version of this great thermal heat spa idea:) LOL But in all seriousness, I think this would be a great relaxing way to spend a little recovery after a race!!!

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  20. That sounds awesome! It's been too long since I had a spa day! I've had a massage here and there. My last real spa day was during my bachelorette weekend - 10 years ago, lol!

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  21. This sounds amazing, and that photo of the spa area is gorgeous! I love spa days!!

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