The winter blues are real, and they affect millions of people. Also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, the cloudy skies and cold, bleak weather affect the brain in ways that increase depression, loneliness, and anxiety. With a Polar Vortexmaking the February chill even more frigid in many parts of the US, the winter blues are at their peak.
While it might not solve the problem of winter, some time at the spa is a great way to refresh and rejuvenate. Some spa treatments are particularly helpful when it comes to tackling the psychological and physical symptoms of those cripping winter blues. Here, we gather our favorites.
Saunas are a great way to release all your stress, flushing toxins through your skin by allowing you to sweat them out. Tension fades from your body, and you emerge feeling refreshed. The winter blues might come creeping back at some point, but a good sauna session can definitely help reset that mood cycle and get you back to feeling like yourself again. Research has also shown that a sauna can improve that night's sleep quality, and better sleep is always good for regulating those less-than cheery moods.
A float pod is essentially a sensory deprivation tank where you are able to float comfortably in the dark, in total peace. In these pods, your body and mind go into a meditative state almost immediately. This is great for tackling not just the winter blues, but all kinds of anxiety and depression. If you're afraid of feeling claustrophobic in the pod, it's completely serene, comfortable, and well-ventilated inside. It actually feels like it could be a vast open space once you're inside, and if you start feeling axious, you can always just pop the tub back open at any time. The pod water is usually enriched with nourishing epsom salts, so the tub soothes your physical body and muscles as well as your mind.
Without the sun, we get depressed. While mud may not be a substitute for warm, golden sunshine, it puts your body in touch with another one of the planet's critical elements. That insinctive calm that comes from feeling like you're getting back to nature can be a great mood booster, and has physical benefits for the skin as well. After all, the skin is the largest organ of the body. Why not try a treatment that combines mother nature with looking your best?
Available at many spas, acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine that has been reported to calm symptoms of conditions from muscle and joint pain to depression. Said to work by interacting with the flow of Qi, or universal energy, acupuncture claims to be able to restore the free flow of this energy to return a state of harmony to the body. Believe it or not, studies have shown that people who use acupuncture commonly do see improvements in their symptoms. For this service, you may have to find a higher-end facility that has a medspa, allowing for more advanced types of spa treatments.
Generally speaking, hydrotherapy can be described as any system that uses water to treat issues and relieve symptoms. These symptoms could be pain, soreness, stress, anxiety, circulatory issues, and other problems. As far as the winter blues goes, depression and anxiety are common. And symptoms like physical pain and muscle tightness often accompany the mental and emotional symptoms of depression. Hydrotherapy can help with both. Some systems use alternating hot and cold water, others involve spa tubs with powerful jets that provide an underwater massage, others use nourishing minerals that penetrate the skin while you soak. Every type of hydrotherapy is excellent for the winter blues, helping to refresh the mind as well as treat the physical symptoms of depression.