“After over fifteen years of dedication to the Wellness world, I say people want to feel better,” reflects Ricardo Jiménez, Wellness Director, Chablé Yucatán. “It does not matter if that’s physical, mental, or spiritual—we all just want to feel better. My experience in massage therapy, education, and spa management has led me to understand that all Wellness professionals can make a difference in people’s lives, and I truly enjoy empowering people to Wellness.”
We asked Ricardo to share his thoughts on how to best improve one’s immunity through the wisdom and teachings of spa.
Today, more than ever, consumers are looking for immune-boosting therapies and treatments—but where and how should one start?
We must start immune stimulation with good nutrition habits and an excellent discipline of exercise such as Yoga, Cardio, and physical conditioning, etc. This can be complemented by stress-reducing treatments such as lymphatic, relaxing, or deep tissue massage that can stimulate the meridians. Don’t rule out alternative therapies like acupuncture, magnetotherapy, or Reiki ,to name a few, since they work directly with the energies of each organ and muscles for the best functioning of the body.
What are the cornerstones of immune boosting?
•Good Nutrition Habits •Physical Work •Stimulating Methods (such as Reiki)
If you had to choose the top five immune-boosting foods, what would they be?
Turmeric: It’s rich in curcumin, important in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The ingredient has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, this immune-boosting food has the ability to reduce fever and flu-related symptoms.
Spinach: As a leafy dark green, antioxidant-rich spinach is one of the foods that boosts the immune system and has numerous active ingredients that may help improve blood glucose control for people with diabetes, lower the risk of cancer, and improve bone health.
Ginger: Recent research indicates that ginger has numerous health benefits, including antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antioxidants. The active ingredients in ginger are essential to boost the immune system and combat cellular damage. Ginger also aids in digestion. In addition, pharmaceutical studies show that it helps relieve menstrual symptoms in women.
Garlic: According to medicinal chemistry, garlic has a main active ingredient called allicin that has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. Eating garlic helps fight germs that could cause the flu and other respiratory conditions. In addition, recent studies indicate that allicin reduces the chances of stomach cancer.
Citrus: Vitamin C is important in a biological system because it helps increase the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are known to increase phagocytosis or fight pathogens and foreign materials that can cause infections. All citrus fruits, such as orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime contain a certain amount of vitamin C, and it is imperative that you include them in your diet, .
What are the best immune-boosting spa and wellness treatments?
Ayurveda: This ancient ancient therapy has many health benefits, including enhancing your immune system and decreasing anxiety, depression, and stress.
Contrast Showers or Hydrotherapy: If you can’t make it to a spa with hot and cold mineral pools, try the next best thing—contrast showers. The next time you shower, try alternating hot and cold water—a form of hydrotherapy—for several seconds each. The hot water dilates your peripheral blood vessels and the cold water constricts them, thereby driving blood to and from your tissues and organs. This brings oxygen and nutrients to your cells and also helps carry away wastes and toxins.
Ginger Bath: This bath is a great kick-start for your immune system, but it can be done other times, as well, such as when you’re stressed. Ginger’s warming and diaphoretic properties raise your body temperature and make you sweat, which helps kill germs, stimulate white blood cell production, and eliminate toxins through the skin.
Dry Skin Removal: By activating and increasing white blood cells, dry skin brushing, which is a type of massage treatment, supports your immune system. So if you’ve had a long winter of battling colds and the flu or are just feeling plain sluggish, dry skin brushing can be the perfect boost to your system.
Do you offer IV therapy, and do you believe it has a place in today’s spa?
We do not offer this therapy, a treatment using intravenous fluids to rehydrate and revive your body. IV bypasses the digestive system and absorbs much more quickly and completely than fluids or supplements taken orally. And I truly believe that its popularity is because it helps people avoid having good nutrition, physical, and mental habits.
What do you believe is the future of immune-boosting therapies at the spa?
Once we understand that treating just one aspect of us is difficult, whole wellness is acknowledged as all aspects of one’s being reflect on and influence each other. Therefore it is impossible to just treat one part of oneself, when diagnosing and treating an ailment or sickness. Immune-boosting therapies, will be the future if—but only if we want it.
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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