As someone hell-bent on finding health hacks (since I had an unhealthy past, I digress…) I was surprised to come across the best thing since exercise: saunas!
The old man was banging on about the health benefits of saunas and I thought: ‘give me a break’. I’d heard the sales-y claims of spas before- something vague about feeling younger… So I thought I’d consult the expert on everything: Google. I came across an interview on the Joe Rogan show (an endorsement which I was powerless to ignore), with Dr Rhonda Patrick- the world’s leading authority on saunas (not the Sebastian Horsley variety.)
Dr Patrick fired her shots with military precision. If someone tells me ‘spend 20 minutes a day in a sauna and you’ll live longer, have greater athletic endurance, improved cardiovascular health and measurable cognitive benefits ( all backed by multiple scientific studies https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775/)- I might not believe the hype, but I’ll certainly do more research and hop in a sauna.
I’d just finished my weekly long-run (a hilly 15-miler) and was seeking relief for my battered knee caps. I was passing by the shower/ sauna block for our guests, returning to the house to rehydrate. I thought I’d wack some logs into the wood burner, returning an hour later to re-stoke it. It’s now 7pm after a long day of admin, taxes and website design- the necessary evils involved in a start-up.
As I walk through the door, I’m hit with Saharan heat. This is what I was pining for. I splash cold water on the sizzling rocks and hobble up to the top deck. I set my watch’s timer for 30 minutes, lie back and close my eyes. The day is done and now I can relax. The warm wood feels comforting against my skin. The smell of the wood and the sensation of steam in my nose bring me back to my childhood, sitting in my grandfather’s sauna in Guernsey. I went from being a sceptic to a convert, in under 10 minutes.
As I walk out of the sauna, looking like a lobster released from a pressure cooker, I feel like a new man. I stride back to the house where I contemplate the sorcery of what just happened. My legs feel damn near rested.
Now I’ve got a complete routine, fitting my love for the extremes- baltic water at 5am in the morning and saharan steam at 7pm. Bliss...
Glamping in Devon is popular- with many places to choose from. But I challenge you to find a glamping spot with spa facilities - perhaps one with a wood-fired sauna and a window overlooking the luscious Blackdown Hills AONB!