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Oh come on!  Why not?  It’s a snow bath! When I saw this picture, it captivated me.  Not because it looked miserable or felt like a crazy thing to do, but because it seemed so cleansing and free.

It also reminded me of an experience I had while staying at the Montage in Laguna Beach on a business trip. I remember that day’s intention: To let go of my inhibitions and try something new.  I remember that very clearly because I did not expect it to show up during my relaxing spa visit!   But it did.  The challenging part of setting intentions is having the courage to act upon them!

As my spa guide gave me a tour of the spa, I was eager to indulge in all the luxury it provided.  A bowl full of iced cucumber slices.  Cold wash cloths rolled and stacked neatly next to the cucumbers. Warm, plush bath towels waiting to be wrapped around me after a few laps in the pool.  I was led past the salt-water hot tub, the tranquility pool, and into the relaxation lounge. Next to the sauna there was a very small and narrow, but deep pool with steps descending into the water.  I asked, she explained.  That small pool of water was very cold (50 degrees or so) and purposefully placed right next to the sauna.  The instructions were to plunge into the cold water, then immediately sit in the hot dry sauna for at least 10 minutes.  The plunge routine was to be repeated two more times. This process of moving from cold to hot and back again is an ancient and powerful ritual that provides a multitude of health benefits. But as I stood there in that spa, wrapped in a comfortable warm bath sheet, ready to relax and be pampered, I honestly could not imagine that experience being beneficial, or anything other than miserable!   In the midst of such an atmosphere of well being and relaxation… I heard my intention whispering in my ear…

“Let go of my inhibitions and try something new!”

First plunge… incredibly, shockingly, spine stiffening, FRIGID!  I successfully ignored the instant shock.  It must have looked like there was a trampoline in the water, because I popped back out like a rocket launch!  I wrapped up in my soft warm towel and eagerly headed to the warm sauna.  The heat was so very welcomed!  Within 10 minutes, it was time to repeat the plunge.  And yes, I completed the series of all three plunges.

They told me that this ritual will lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, be the equivalent of an hour of cardio at the gym… and provide all kinds of other health benefits.  It can also send you in to cardiac arrest too, so be mindful of that!

Overall, I was glad I accepted the challenge that day to participate in this unusual spa treatment.  It was invigorating, relaxing, cleansing, and liberating!  What opportunities have you missed because you decided it was going to be too uncomfortable?   This week set your intentions to be open to new opportunities.  Try new foods! Be spontaneous! Do things a new and different way!  Take the plunge!  You might discover a new person inside, waiting to be set free!