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Traditionally spas have been all about hot: saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, hot rock massages, to name a few. “Hot” is the spa world’s age-old weapon to make people relax, sweat, detoxify and draw blood to the surface.  But now spas are bravely stepping out into the cold.

Cold/ice therapies reduce pain and inflammation in muscles and joints, and they certainly release endorphins, which are shown to affect pain, mood, etc.

Canadian Spas are offering more pure cold-rock massages and contrasting hot/cold versions and Scotland including ice masks in facials.

More hotel and resort spas will add ice/snow rooms, or “igloos,” making that transition from hot to cold less dreadful than the old cold “plunges.” Spa-goers to Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace Las Vegas’s can enter the “arctic ice room” and experience falling snow; at the Dolder Grand in Switzerland, guests can have a snowball fight in the “snow room”; and at the Aqua spa at the Belfry (UK), they can cool down in the “igloo,” or induce a giant wakeup call with ice hoses and showers.

The most stone-cold radical of these new experiences? “Cryotherapy,” where people (wearing just a bathing suit and socks, gloves and mouth/ear protection to prevent frostbite), enter a chamber cooled to the mind-numbing temperature of -120° C (or -184° F). A human can only last two to three minutes in a cryotherapy room or pod (portable ones are even available now), but it’s all the rage with elite athletes to help them recover from workout inflammation and pain. (One Welsh rugby player dubbed it “the evil sauna.”) The Olympic rehabilitation centre in Poland has a cryotherapy chamber used by sports teams from around the world.

Spa-goers can brave the ice chamber trend at places like the new Sparkling Hill Resort and Spa (Canada) or Champneys Tring (UK).

So it would seem is time to venture out into the cold to lift your mood and enjoy the benefits of the very simple creation- ice!

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