I've always known how good taking time out in a steam room is for you, but I've never been a fan - the racing heart and general feeling of discomfort are something I've never been able to shake. Fortunately, I recently discovered a practice with similar benefits but little of the cons - spending 45 minutes relaxing in a Japanese Stone Spa.
I was lucky enough to try the only one of its kind in New Zealand, which can be found in the opulent surroundings of BLISS Reflexology in Downtown Auckland.
They call it Stone Spa “bathing” but there's no water involved, just a preheated to 45 degrees celsius basalt stone bed which you recline on in a fairly dark room that has a humidity hovering around the 65 degree mark.
Wearing a Stone Spa uniform of t shirt and shorts, you begin on your tummy, which heats you up from your core and evenly spreads heat throughout your body and organs, bringing about an intense feeling of relaxation once you're on your back.
Unlike a sauna or a steam room, this is gentle on your body and sure you sweat, but it's gradual and you sip water throughout. You pop out every so often if you need to cool down, and the alternate heating and cooling gives your circulatory system a real boost. Heating your core also helps to boost your immune system, which is a bonus as we head into cooler months, and it's also great for your skin.
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Editorial by Helene Ravlich