The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

In Japan, soaking in natural hot springs is a treasured pastime that’s steeped in thousands of years of tradition, and during my stay there, I visited a few. The experience opened my eyes (and pores) to a world of good-feeling benefits, many of which (but not all) are backed by a plethora of research.

Source: The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

I think heat is part of the stress relief.  It doesn’t have to be a hot spring – a warm blanket/etc can do wonders.  Wrapping up in one, insulating ourselves from what’s around – it’s a physical barrier.

Why Standing in One Place Makes Your Legs More Sore Than Walking

Working retail, waiting tables, standing in line at the amusement park or just shopping with mom, anyone who’s ever been stuck on their feet for a long time more or less standing still knows that it’s much more tiring than walking the equivalent amount of time.  But why?

Source: Why Standing in One Place Makes Your Legs More Sore Than Walking

What’s interesting is there’s no discussion that I’ve encountered about the venous pooling being an issue for Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) etc.  It’s always been sitting for long periods of time that I’ve ever been warned about.  The article also doesn’t mention that the pooling is part of why we sleep the direction we do relative to the ground.

Walking is very good for you:

Sports Massage Doesn’t Flush Toxins, but May Help You Recover

There is good reason massage therapists are part of an elite runner’s entourage. And why the lines for a postrace massage seemingly extend for miles. A rubdown—even a deep, intense one—feels great. Runners report that massages help lessen muscle tension and improve range of motion, while also making them feel relaxed and rewarded for their hard efforts.

Yet despite massage’s popularity and positive reputation, there’s been little scientific evidence to support why athletes feel so good when they hop off the table. “It can be hard to merge basic science with alternative medicine,” says Justin Crane, Ph.D., a McMaster University researcher who conducted some of the first objective studies on massage in 2012. Practitioners say massage relieves muscle soreness, promotes circulation, flushes toxins and lactic acid from the body, and eases joint strain—claims supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence from China, Sweden, and around the globe. But science hadn’t confirmed just what massage actually achieves—until now. Recent research has sorted out what’s true and what’s not.

Source: The Pros and Cons of Massages for Runners

Massage do not flush lactic acid, or other “toxins” from your muscles. Lactic acid is produced during exercise, and though you might associate it with a burning feeling during hard work – it’s not a problem, isn’t responsible for next-day soreness, and doesn’t need help to be removed from the muscles.  Plenty of studies show that massage has no effect on blood flow to the muscles.

Massage does help to relax muscles, though, which can help to relieve tight muscles. The same action can break up adhesions, a type of scar tissue that sometimes forms in muscle.  Massage promotes recovery.