Hammam: so hot, so cold… so cool!

I’ve already told you about the fun of jumping into a snow bank after a sweating period in the hammam, a hot steam bath. But last time I went to Spa Eastman, I went a little deeper into craziness…

Michel Leblanc is a massage therapist at Spa Eastman. He was there in 1992 when I started going to Eastman. He is a great massage therapist. My father, a 6′ tall man of 230 pounds (he says!) is fond of Michel’s shiatsu massage. The guy is passionate about his job and his massage reflects it. So does his passion for thermotherapy, the benefits of witching from warm to cold… snow or water, for instance. So when I looked at the daily schedule of activities that day, I saw that Michel was guiding a hammam-snow workshop. I decided to join in.

We were 5 or 6 with him in the hammam. Michel announced we’d be doing 3 X 20 minutes in the hammam followed by a dip in the pound. I announced I’d simply play in the snow bank instead. He agreed. Then he started giving us informations on how thermotherapy could improve wellness and well-being, how it worked, what it does to the immune system, etc. It was so interesting that the first 20 minutes were gone before we knew it. It was time to go outside. It was minus 11 degrees C.

We all went through the door and, don’t ask me why, I did not stop when I arrived to the snow bank and followed Michel and two other people down the path that led to the pound. Remember: we were wearing bathing suits and walking in a snow path with our flip-flops. Still at minus 11.

I had only one thing in mind: do it and get the hell out of there as quick as I could to run back to the hammam. I went first to the little pool ladder and went into it: one step, two steps, and three, and one last, and down to the chin. I climbed back on the deck, grabbed my towel and… stayed there to share the other’s experience! We all left the deck together and happily re-entered the hammam. Whew! That was cool! Everyone was ready for a second and a third warmth-cold cycle but I had to leave after a while because I had a spa treatment just a little later. I was almost sad to leave.

My body was deeply relaxed and I was feeling extremely calm, but yet invigorated. I can easily imagine how it feels to do the entire session.

I’ll have to do it again!


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