According to the US Pain Foundation, chronic pain affects 50 million Americans, 20 million of whom have high-impact chronic pain. Many who suffer chronic pain find themselves running in circles to find relief, most often trialing different types of medication prescribed by a doctor. But what about those prescription-free pain management techniques that don’t require a doctor’s signature?
At SALMON at Medway, the experts are including holistic benefits of their on-site amenities, including sauna, fitness center, and indoor pool in the Resident care and fitness plans – a prescription-free way to manage pain and other possible ailments.
SALMON at Medway Residents are already reporting the positive effects. Since she began following her own whole-health lifestyle plan, one Resident, Gina Colasacco has been able to get off her blood pressure and cholesterol medication. Director of Fitness at SALMON at Medway, Mia Baxendale says, “It is a tremendous opportunity to help people through exercise. There is endless value in staying active and being fit. Being here in an active lifestyle is helping people age younger and creates the ripple effect of overall health and happiness!”
Many of us are already familiar with the health benefits of visiting the sauna, ranging from clearing sinus congestion, and opening your pores, to boosting heart health and easing lower back pain. Director of Fitness, Mia Baxendale, shares that the sauna heat causes our blood vessels to dilate, increasing heart rate and blood flow, which in turn can help reduce pain in muscles and joints. The sauna can be especially beneficial to those suffering from arthritis, bad knees and hips, or other chronic pain.
While saunas can produce great health benefits, it’s important to hydrate before and after hitting the sauna, and refrain from alcohol. Water, coconut water, herbal iced teas, natural electrolyte solutions are some of the many ways you can stay hydrated. Those with low or high blood pressure or history of heart attack should consult a doctor before using any sauna and may want to keep sauna sessions to 20-minutes at a time.
Regardless of whether you hit the sauna at home, at the gym, or at the spa, experiencing the sauna is a great way to relax the mind and body, and leave feeling happier and healthier than before.
Pools can provide benefits far beyond just cooling down on a hot day. Pools produce hydrostatic pressure, due to the force of gravity and the calm water. The pressure is like a neoprene sleeve, which is normally used to support upper or lower limbs. Like the sleeve, the pressure of the pool water helps support the body so people can move more freely, especially those who are older in age or experiencing joint or muscle pain. That’s why so many fitness classes for seniors take place in a pool.
Some of the best water exercises include swimming, flutter kicks using a kickboard, arm curls, leg lifts, aqua jogging, standing push-ups, arm circles, leg swings, chest flies, and water resistance exercises. These exercises can help seniors move their bodies on all planes of movement, and help improve flexibility, balance, heart, and lung function, and helps relieve joint pain.
Just like with the sauna and pool, the hot tub may be used for relaxation, but there are also many other health benefits, too. One of the most obvious benefits is the potential to relieve physical, emotional, and mental stress. The hot water and jets can help soothe tight, tense muscles, and relieve pain. For those with conditions like arthritis, a soak in the hot tub can ease the stiffness and inflammation in joints that causes pain. According to some studies, relaxing in a hot tub can even raise your heart rate and lower blood pressure. Those who use the hot tub before bed will even most likely experience an improved night’s sleep.
When you combine the sauna, the hot tub, and the pool into your prescription-free pain management plan, the health benefits seem endless. Quickly changing your body temperature by alternating between the cool pool and hot tub/sauna can release hormesis, the health-enhancing stress hormone. Controlled, acute hot-cold plunges can produce just enough stress to knock you out of comfortable homeostasis and activate a variety of cellular mechanisms that help maintain strength, promote stress resilience, reduce inflammation, and more.
At the same time, these abrupt changes in temperature can also be a great mindfulness tool. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment, in the body, without judgement of thoughts or feelings.
The flashes of hot and cold temperatures can also increase blood flow, which can aid in muscle recovery, as well as improve our immune system. Ice baths and cold therapy are known to help with fat loss. Hormones, brown adipose tissue growth, and muscle fibers are all activated to keep the body warm when submerged in cold water. When this happens, the body turns to our fat cells as a source of heat.
With all of that, there are other, amazing fringe benefits such as, better sleep, better moods, less stress, and more energy!
SALMON’s Chief Future Officer, Andrew Salmon says, “Every outcome is a product of a process based upon commitment. Seeing Gina improve her health is a fantastic example of a process our Director of Fitness, Mia, implemented for this specific outcome. But it’s even more impactful when factoring in the quality of life that those around Gina will enjoy in the future.”