hope gillerman hydrotherapy

Hope Gillerman pops into our office for periodical checks on our stress levels and physical well-being. With her holistic toolbag of posture-aligning tips and personal remedies, her desk-sides are a major treat! Hope is the creator of one of our favorite lines of essential oils, one of which is on our skin at all times. From relieving muscle soreness to taming stress and tension, H. Gillerman Organics oils keeps us sane and feeling refreshed from our first espresso to the day’s end.

Like most holistic experts we know, Hope’s expertise doesn’t end with her products, but extends into an array of wellness interests and practices. We love this look at healing and skin-rejuvenating hydrotherapy practices from Hope that you can fit right into your summer plans, whether exotic or close to home. Here’s Hope…

A native to New England, I spent most of my youth waiting out brutal winters and steamy summers for my final reward: vacationing along the beloved shores of the North Atlantic on Cape Cod and Maine, where I learned to swim. Supposedly warmed by the Gulf Stream, we tested the freezing waters each day by seeing how long it took for the tips of our toes to go numb. The most common approach was the all-or-nothing: get really hot sunbathing and quickly dive in all at once! But when I wanted to truly escape to find my own sense of peace, quietude and balance, I would walk the shoreline meandering in and out of the water for miles. The healing power of alternating-temperature hydrotherapy is at once soothing, cleansing and  balancing.

Top resorts and spas pay thousands of dollars to install complex plumbing to control water temperature and spigots for the ultimate in relaxing hydrotherapy. Summer is the perfect time to easily create this experience yourself, either at the beach, lake or pool, or even in your shower. Alternating temperatures in these “at-home” treatments brings nutrients and oxygen to tissues (muscles, skin) while draining away harmful toxins and triggering the sympathetic nervous system to get you out of fight-or-flight mode.

“Water changes body temperature 25 times faster than air,” says lead trainer and massage therapist Cherie Rodriguez from Montage Spa at Laguana Beach, California, who I consulted on the relaxing and rejuvenating effect of contrasting hydrotherapies. When your body is heated up with hot water, your nervous system adjusts your circulation and lymphatic system by dilating the blood vessels, opening the pores, relaxing the muscles and relieving stress. As you follow the heat therapy with the cold water your nervous system triggers a constriction of the blood vessels to increase circulation and bring heat back into the tissues, flushing out excess fluids and normalizing body temperature. The benefits of this type of hot-cold tissue flushing include better quality of sleep, increased stamina, improved metabolism, improved mental focus with a sense of calm, and glowing skin tone.

Indoor/Outdoor DIY Hydrotherapy Practices

At an ocean, lake, pond or stream:

While swimming in the ocean or mountain stream, your skin absorbs nutrient-rich minerals while the pounding of surf or a strong current releases held muscles. With a long, easy swim in a lake or a pond, the nutrients in the algae are easily absorbed.

Basic alternating temperature technique:
1) Let your body heat up on shore.
2) Go into cool waters up to your ankles until you get used to the temperature.
3) Go back on the shore to heat up again.
4) Go into cool waters up to your knees until you get used the temperature.
5) Go back on the shore to heat up again.
6) Go into cool waters up to your hips until you get used to the temperature.
7) Go back on shore to heat up again.
8) Go into cool waters up to your chest until you get used to the temperature.
9) Go back on shore to heat up again.
10) Fully submerge yourself in cool waters, including your head.
11) Go back on the shore and relax as long as possible on a towel/rock or lounge, drink water and turn everything off!

(Can be done walking along the shore or at one location.)

In an outdoor or indoor hot tub and pool:

Same as above, alternating between hot tub and cool pool – starting with hot tub and ending with pool.

In the shower

After washing, shampooing, etc., heat up your body with hot water, then follow with cool water using a hand sprayer over the area you want to focus on: target legs for jet leg, fatigue, or sitting too long; target area of tension; target liver for hangover, or during a cleanse. Repeat alternating between hot and cold and each time go a little colder. Finally, try to stay a minute in the colder water.

As you towel dry, your body will rush new blood to the area and flush out all the stagnant excess fluids that have been making the body feel sluggish. Remember, it doesn’t have to be extreme; as little as a 20-degree change in temperature will bring about the benefits.

© All rights reserved, Hope Gillerman

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