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Hot and Cold Winter Wellness

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Maybe the chilly weather has you excited. You want to do snow angels in celebration of winter and spend as much time immersed in cold-weather activities as possible.

Or maybe the season has you shivering. Bundled up, clutching warm bevvies, waiting out the winter in wool socks.

Either way, Boulder’s got plenty of ways to keep you entertained. And either way, it’s also crucial to keep up your health during the cold-cold season. Whether you want to spend the winter warm or you want to really feel the chill, here are some of our favorite healthy activities this winter — both hot and cold.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

HOT

Try hot yoga.

Yoga in a heated room is a great way to warm up on a cold day — and boost your health. Boulder Bikram Yoga, 3035 Sterling Circle, offers a traditional 90-minute hot yoga class that guides you through 26 different postures and breathing exercises.

Sip healthy tea.

It’s no doubt tea can be good for your health. Studies find tea can be filled with antioxidants,  reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack, benefit your bones, soothe stomach aches and more.

For a hot cup of health, the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse (1770 13th St.) is one of the most popular attractions in Boulder. The brightly colored building was a gift to Boulder by its sister city, Dushanbe, in Tajikistan (in Central Asia). It was built by more than 40 artists, disassembled and then sent to Boulder, where it was put back together. The teahouse has a full, extensive tea list; the spicy chai is a show-stealer.

Not far away you’ll find the Ku Cha House of Tea, 1211 Pearl St. a traditional Chinese tea house. It features a large selection of fine loose-leaf teas from China, Japan, India, South American and South Africa.

Another quintessential Boulder bucket list activity is to tour the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory and take a deep whiff of the mint room. It’ll warm you up, nose first. (This is temporarily closed for COVID, so check for reopening.)

Float on.

While a sensory deprivation tank isn’t hot-hot-hot, the water is warm and the tank can get a bit toasty, making it especially appealing on a chilly day. Book a 90-minute float in about 10 inches of water mixed with epsom salt, and float away your stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, tight muscles, insomnia, chronic pain, anxiety and more. Floating in pitch darkness is meditative, relaxing and (honestly) otherworldly. Check out the Isolate Flotation Center (643 S. Broadway) and Radi8 Float (5290 Arapahoe Ave.).

Courtesy photo

Sweat it out.

A sauna studio is a surprisingly pleasant way to raise your body temp, detoxify your body and get your sweat on. The Cyl Sauna Studio/The Sweat House at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall offers private, infrared sauna sessions in luxury pods. These get really heated, ideal for a winter day in Boulder or self-care day.

Relax in a hot tub.

Ease your muscles, aches and pains in a bubbly hot tub. The East Boulder Community Center has a great one. Hit the steam room first, then lean back in a hot tub and let the jets do their job.

Get a warm oil scalp treatment.

Spavia, 1810 29th St., offers a way to warm up from the head down with the Fijian Warm-Oil Scalp Treatment. This relaxing treatment begins with a slow drizzling of warm nut oils on your head and neck from a traditional Fijian coconut bowl. The therapist then massages those areas. It feels great and is also good for your hair.

Try a Gemstone Chakra Balancing Treatment

The St Julien Hotel and Spa, 900 Walnut St., also offers a hot oil scalp massage, but you can pair it with one of the newest (and unique) treatments. Lie on a heated infrared crystal rainbow chakra mat and get treated with warmed gemstones. The mat is said to use far-infrared, negative ion and PEMF therapy to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, among a long list of other potential benefits. Even if this seems a bit woo-woo for you, it includes a full-body massage, which we’re all familiar with.

Sit in an infrared sauna.

Infrared Salt Therapy, located at 825 S. Broadway, has infrared saunas (as well as salt therapy). Advocates claim these saunas can help with relaxation, detoxification, sore muscles, joint pain and more.

If you don’t mind the short drive to Denver, the Beer Spa, 3004 N. Downing St., Denver, combines a full-spectrum infrared sauna with a bubbling cedar tub that is filled with a blend of hops, barley and herbs; they call it beer bath hydrotherapy. It’s like you’re sitting in a big beer tea.

Photo by Aimee Heckel

Sit in a steam room or sauna.

Craving warm air? Head to the steam room or sauna. A favorite is the Mokara Spa at the Omni Interlocken Hotel, 500 Interlocken Blvd. in Broomfield, which has also offered treatments that involved a hot blanket in the past.

Or head to the Dragontree Spa in Boulder, where you can sip tea in the Sangha Room, get a foot bath and then sit in the steam room.

Get a hot stone massage.

Elements Massage, ​​2321 30th St., offers massages with stones heated to about 125 to 135 degrees. This ancient Chinese technique is said to warm your body, loosen your muscles and can improve circulation.

Warm up with cannabis.

For a warm wellness treatment at home, take a hot bath with a Coda Signature’s Bath Bomb while sipping a hot cup of tea from Willie’s Remedy. The locally-made bath bombs feature various scents, each “bomb” containing 15 mg of CBD and 15 mg of THC. The tea is infused with 2 mg of CBD per 1g of tea leaves.

Heat up your pedicure.

There’s something so comforting about a paraffin wax treatment when you get a mani or pedi. Lotus Nails, 2422 Arapahoe in Boulder, offers the Lotus Organic Pedicure, which includes a herbal and collagen treatment to detoxify and soothe your skin; a paraffin wax treatment paired with a hot stone massage while your feet are resting; hot towels; and a traditional pedicure prime and polish.

Add a hot towel to your bodywork.

An easy way to warm up your life is to request a hot towel when you get a massage or other treatments. Boulder Cupping Therapy offers cupping with a hot towel, as well as essential oil therapy. A unique offering is facial cupping (including a warm towel to relax your facial muscles and open your pores), which is said to treat chronic sinus issues, temporal headaches and more.

Light a candle and relax.

Even if you don’t have the time or resources for a full spa day, light a candle, snuggle under a quilt and take time to relax. Pearl Street Lights makes soy candles, finished with a wooden wick. Try the Connection + Healing candle, designed to calm your senses with eucalyptus, mint and bergamot. Order them online at pearlstreetlights.com or check the website for shops nearby.

COLD

Exercise outside.

Yes, even in winter. Just bundle up and go for a walk or hike. Just check the trail conditions before you head out (call or visit the rangers’ station), make sure you’re prepared for the weather and someone knows where you’ll be and be flexible. If you want to go hiking, many of Boulder’s hiking trails remain open year-round. We love Mesa Trail/Woods Quarry, starting at the Chautauqua Ranger Cottage and then heading up Bluebell Road. It tends to be less harsh even on the coldest days.

Go ice skating.

The YMCA of Northern Colorado, 2800 Dagny Way in Lafayette, has an ice-skating rink, complete with tons of programs, including rec skates, skate fitness, hockey and learn-to-skate classes.

For more ice skating fun, there is also Ice Centre in Westminster (10710 Westminster Blvd.), the seasonally open Longmont Ice Pavilion (725 Eighth Ave.) and Louisville’s Winterskate, an old-fashioned ice skating rink and the largest rink in Boulder County. Winterskate is open in the winter at the Steinbaugh Pavilion, 824 Front St.

Recover with Vasper

The Mapleton YMCA, 2850 Mapleton Ave. in Boulder, recently added the Vasper System. This uses compression, cooling and interval training to help with recovery and strength.

Go snowshoeing.

Boulder and the surrounding areas are ripe with snowshoeing options. For starters, check out trails at Rabbit Mountain Open Space, Heil Valley Ranch and Bear Peak Trail. If you need to rent gear or want to join a guided tour, Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides (coloradowildernessridesandguides.com) offers snowshoeing adventures in the area.

Go skiing.

Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides can also take you backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering, but Boulder’s favorite place for downhill skiing is Eldora. This ski hill is just 21 miles west of Boulder, and only three miles from the Boulder County mountain town of Nederland.

Go skiing indoors.

Shredder Urban Ski and Snowboard Park, 3640 Walnut St. in Boulder, is an indoor ski training facility for kids. It uses synthetic snow, man-made hills and various obstacles to train kids how to ski and snowboard indoors, before heading to the real slopes. Not exactly chilly, but an inside precursor to a cold nose.

Freeze, on purpose.

Cryotherapy is said to help your health, speed up recovery and relieve pain. It’s popular among athletes, and you can try it too at Restore Hyper Wellness, 2835 Pearl St. In cryotherapy, your body is exposed to sub-zero temps for short bursts of time. The chill is supposed to be anti-inflammatory, boost cellular survival, release endorphins and reduce pain.

Restore Hyper Wellness also offers CryoToning. This uses cold to create vasodilation; the claim is this can increase the production of collagen to break down cellulite.

Climb on ice.

If you’re experienced and have the right gear, get active outside with ice climbing. You can sometimes find tempting ice formations in Boulder Canyon. Make sure you stay safe and know what you’re doing.

Sled the day away.

It’s fun, it’s free and it’s fun. Slide down The Hill, Tantra Park and Scott Carpenter Park on a sled. Or for a faster run (and a faster heart rate), try tubing. An inner tube is tougher to steer and stop, which can be either a blast or terrifying, depending on the level of adrenaline you prefer.

Enjoy a healthy smoothie.

Wonderpress, 946 Pearl St., can blend you up a healthy smoothie, like the Turmeric Twist, made with OJ, coconut, carrot, avocado, mango, turmeric and ginger juice, beet, amla and black pepper.

Rush Bowls, 1207 13th St. on University Hill, is another way to enjoy cold health food. These bowls are packed with fruit and topped with granola and honey. Try the Bravocado (and not just because it’s fun to say). This bowl contains avocado, banana, mango and pineapple juice; boost it with an antioxidant and immune support boost.

BOTH

Get a table shower.

Craving both hot and cold in the same experience? Try a 10-minute table shower (also called a Vichy shower) at the On Broadway Salon and Spa, 380 Arapahoe Ave. A Vichy shower usually alternates between super cold water and warm water to stimulate circulation and boost health. Look for “contrast hydrotherapy” or other kinds of hot and cold hydrotherapy options at other spas in town, too.

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