Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

WELLNESS PERSONALIS | Recovery & Recuperation


After strenuous exercise, I never know how to decide on the best method of recovery. While I  often accept having wobbly legs or arms that don’t straighten for a couple of days, traversing the Hilltop’s terrain requires full recovery. 

So, since the internet and my personalized social media feed give me an unlimited number of recovery suggestions — including stretching, infrared heat, cryotherapy, Theragun, massage and ice baths — I plan to think like a recovering athlete. 

Next time you feel daunted by the sheer number of stairs on campus, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you tackle those climbs. 

For some, the HigherDOSE Infrared Sauna Blanket that sells for $700 may be ideal. You bundle yourself up in winter clothes and then tuck yourself into this human hot pocket to sweat out all the toxins. While that blanket may sound like your dream, as someone accustomed to cold Seattle rain, I don’t know if I could ever subject myself to that much heat. 

Yet after reading a number of studies on infrared heat, I might have convinced myself. Infrared heat, whether in a blanket or in a special infrared heat sauna, can be more effective than traditional saunas, as it heats the body directly rather than heating the air first.

Infrared heat therapy can improve blood circulation, metabolism and detoxification, as well as reduce time for muscle recovery, improve sleep and provide general relaxation. 

While places like Georgetown Sun Cryo offer appointments in their saunas, they can be on the expensive side. 

If you still yearn for a sauna experience on campus, the Yates sauna (although maybe not at the same level as the Infrared Sauna Blanket) may help with muscle recovery and improve cardiovascular function.

For those of us who would rather be marooned in an icy tundra than stranded in an excruciatingly hot desert, the benefits of cryotherapy and ice baths could be of interest.

The term cryotherapy simply means any application of cold to an area. Often used to rehabilitate for injuries, cryotherapy includes anything from ice packs and ice massage to cold-water immersion. 

Cryotherapy lowers inflammation and can relieve pain in injury or muscle soreness. Ice baths in particular enhance sleep and reduce stress — assuming that getting into a freezing cold ice bath doesn’t stress you out. 

For those of us who are curious about ice baths, but live a dorm shower-oriented life, ending our showers with a blast of cold water or slowly incorporating colder and colder showers into our routines can be a good way to test the waters. 

As someone who likes to take the acclimation route, I admire those that can immediately take the plunge. Taking a cold shower is harder than it sounds — I used to turn the water cold at the end of my showers to reap the benefits it could give my hair, and somehow, the temperature always felt colder than I anticipated. 

Still, I now feel obligated to retry this strategy to obtain these wellness and relaxation benefits. After all, the showers at Harbin have already provided me with the cold water recovery option a couple of times. Turning to massages, they alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness which develops post-exercise. Devices like the Theragun, which use percussive massage therapy, improve circulation and range of movement, break up internal scar tissue and enhance muscle tone.

A more affordable option is to do it yourself  — we could all benefit from decreasing shoulder and neck tension in this digital age.

Whether you turn to infrared technology, the Yates sauna, ice baths or massages, I wish you the best on your recovery journey. Remember, recovery is a return to a state of physical and mental well-being. Your chosen form of recovery should also account for your mental preferences (cold or hot, on-campus or off-campus) to provide the most satisfying and complete recovery.

Sophia Williams is a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences. Wellness Personalis will appear online and in print every three weeks.

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