A Therapy As Old As Time

Contrast therapy (i.e. hot and cold therapy) has been used as a healing tool for thousands of years and is one of the oldest natural treatment modalities. In essence, this therapy involves alternating between hot and cold temperatures, typically in water like a shower or tub.

The heat allows blood vessels to open up (vasodilation), increasing blood flow to our extremities and causing connective tissue to become more flexible. This promotes a reduction in joint stiffness, pain and muscle spasms. Conversely, cold therapy (vasoconstriction) causes a reduction in blood volume to our extremities and increases blood flow in the core of the body. This cycle of tightening and relaxing effectively acts as a “pump” in the lymphatic system moving stagnant lymph around the body and strengthening the core of our immune system.

The lymphatic system’s main function is to cleanse the body and protect against disease but can easily become stagnant when it is overwhelmed with toxins. This can lead to not only impaired immunity but also fluid retention, chronic pain and swollen glands. Stagnant lymph may also be the root cause of swollen ankles and eyes, arthritis, upper respiratory infections and other chronic illnesses.

Here at Shoji, our guests enjoy the benefits of contrast hydrotherapy with the use of our 180°+ wet cedar sauna and cold showers as a part of our amenities pass or in combination with salt hydrotherapy tub, our private spa pass.

As with any treatment, you should always consult your primary care physician to discuss risk and/or benefits before incorporating contrast therapy into your health regimen.

Japanese Spring in Asheville

March 12, 2019

Shoji Spa & Lodge

Ahhhhh…. We can feel spring time approaching, with the slight scent of blooming in the wind as the cool breeze sweeps what is left of the previous autumn’s leaves. In two weeks, it will officially be Springtime here in Asheville. And at Shoji, we love and respect Spring (Haru) as much as Japan does. So, what does Springtime mean to Japanese culture?

Japan has a rather short Spring season, beginning in late March and ending in late April. During that short time, the Japanese celebrate the harmony between humans and nature with picnics under the Cherry Blossoms and countless festivals. Being an agricultural country, and since agriculture is controlled by the seasons, Japan is characterized by the leisurely change of the seasons. “In contrast to the Westerners who fight with and conquer nature, the Japanese live in harmony with nature and desire to become one with it.” This respect for and celebration of nature is most aesthetically prominent during the most beautiful time of year: Spring! And in Japan, that aesthetic comes from the beautiful and momentary blooming of the Cherry Blossoms, or Sakura.

For just a couple weeks out of the year, typically between March and April, these beautiful, vivid magenta flowers cover the landscape of Japan like a pink umbrella. The flowers symbolize a beautiful innocence during a seasonal representation of renewal and growth that has become almost internationally and inherently recognized by other cultures.

The Haiku, which has become an globally recognized form of poetry, is rooted in Japan’s oneness with nature, and more often than not is representing of Spring time.

The cherry blossoms:
Being ill, how many things
I remember about them

Scatter layer
by layer, eight-layered
cherry blossoms

Moon at twilight
a cluster of petals falling
from the cherry tree

cherry blossom petals
blown by the spring breeze against
the undried wall

  • Masaoka Shiki

Asheville may not have thousands of cherry blossoms, but the region does celebrate the blooming of spring with the beautiful pink hues of the rhododendron. Asheville also has a spiritual sense of harmony between humans and nature. Here at Shoji, we celebrate Spring by immersing you into the spiritual nature of the Blue Ridge Mountains and sharing that experience with those individuals that can feel the season’s power as much as the Japanese people have for centuries.

Beautiful flowers of rhododendron. Closeup