Secrets of the spa: awakening skin with heat and cold

A hot bath can be one of the most relaxing experiences after a long day. Cold baths, on the other hand ... aren't as well appreciated.

But the therapeutic benefits of cold water have been used for centuries in various civilisations to promote longevity, reduce sickness and strengthen the health of the skin.

Cold water baths have also been used by celebrities such as Katharine Hepburn, Miranda Kerr and David Beckham, all of whom have credited their enviable glows to cold water treatments, otherwise known as cryotherapy.

Combining hot water treatments with cryotherapy can work wonders on your body. It's easy to create the benefits of this therapy at home just by alternating hot and cold showers.

Temperatures needed

For a heat treatment to be effective, the temperature must reach a minimum of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the heat will relax your muscles and expand blood vessels. As circulation improves, blood flows to targeted areas and delivers more oxygen and nutrients for healthier, brighter skin.

Ideally, cooling treatments should reach below 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting chill can shock the dermis and muscles, constricting blood vessels, shrinking pores, tightening skin and reducing inflammation.

What feels shocking at first quickly becomes refreshing, with lasting anti-ageing effects.

How to do it

To get the most benefit out of your daily shower, begin by dry brushing your body to remove dead skin cells and stimulate circulation and lymph flow. The effects of the hot and cold shower are magnified if you take this first step.

In the shower, start with the water as hot as you can comfortably tolerate for two or three minutes. Switch the water to as cold as possible and let it flow over your head and body for 15-20 seconds. Then switch back to hot water and repeat the process two more times.

The hot water amplifies the stimulating effects of the cold water, in turn energising the flow of lymph and blood. Do not exceed three rounds total as it is actually counterproductive to the treatment.

Cryo + thermal facial

The Spa at Seafire has added a new treatment, the Cryo + Thermal LilFox facial featuring aesthetician-grade stainless steel chill wands.

Designed to calm, awaken and reduce puffiness of the skin, this facial starts with heat as the wands relax your facial muscles, boost product penetration and soothe away any tensions. Icy-cold wands then will shock your skin instantly, tightening your pores, reducing inflammation while lifting and firming the skin.

The LilFOX products come from a natural skincare collection containing botanical extracts, exotic virgin oils, unrefined plant butters, mineral-rich clays and earth crystals.

Anneka Greenway is the spa manager at the Spa at Seafire at Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa.


This article appears in print in the August 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times.