When it comes to health, wellness, and feeling good, I'm a traditional lad – I like hill running, push ups, squats, and a relaxing Sunday snooze.
From time to time I need to push myself to voyage outside of the box for the sake of mind, body, and this column.
Last week I did just that. Like Dorothy skipping into the forest, I tiptoed towards the lions, tigers, and bears (oh my) of the wellness industry. Cryotherapy, skinny dipping, float therapy, and prostate massage are all things you've probably heard of it. If not, rest easy.
I tried them all, and here's how I travelled.
The Lion, or cryotherapy
For my first experience, I turned polar bear at Polar Bare in Sydney's Bondi Junction. Owner Bianca Naylor gave me the quick rundown on Cryo: "Cold therapy was originally discovered in Japan in 1978 for arthritis. As cryo went mainstream, it promised to benefit three areas: sport and fitness, health and wellbeing, and anti-aging.
"For some athletes, sitting in an ice bath for extended periods is a thing of the past. Cryo helps with recovery and inflammation. Other clients feel rejuvenated with less pain and better sleep by the body's increase in oxygen levels. Cryo also assists in skin health and a younger look."
After disrobing, you'd think standing in -154C temperature for three minutes would be treacherous, but it's a chilly mist rather than a shocking cold that keeps one standing in the cryo tank. Lads will leave with shrinkage (envision a scared turtle), but all leave with a positive burst of energy.
The Tiger, or nude swimming
With the sun finally shining in Sydney, it was great to get out and do one of my favourite National Park hikes – Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach. With secluded beaches, fresh air, the greenery, the wildlife, and stunning Sydney Harbour views, it's one of my favourite walks in Sydney.
The journey passes two nude beaches, and my hiking date and I decided to strip off. The sun was out, and absorbing Vitamin D on a naked body while taking a quick dip is an amazing sensation.
Science says the cold water releases endorphins, improves circulation, increases libido, mood, circulation, and it's freedom (and free) in nature – it feels damn good.
The (Hibernating) Bear, or float therapy
"Clients cherish the weightlessness in water," said Warren Jackson, owner of Sydney's Float Factory "People escape their busy work day for an hour of stress-free relaxation. Floating aids sleep, promotes correct posture, lowers blood pressure and stress, and even athletes drop in for recovery sessions."
My nudie floating session was propped by filtered water mixed with 400kgs of Epsom salts in a futuristic pod, where exciting levitation quickly turned into relaxation, then a soothing 20 minute power nap. An hour of floating was a mentally and physically changing practice.
Childhood fantasies of nestling and snoozing in a white fluffy cloud came to reality. Floating and zero pressure on the body is a unique and healthy experience. As I left, I wasn't ready for the real world, as "calm and relaxed" never felt more tangible and powerful during my week than after a session of float therapy.
The "Oh My", or prostate massage
Certainly, I've heard of Tantra. I've picked up the book to look at a few sexual positions, and I've had a chuckle at its cheeky references in a comedy movie or two. Yet it was about to become real.
I knocked on tantric therapist's Laviras Intikana's door, and my nervousness was intense.
Before I (and only I throughout the entire session) undressed, for thirty minutes, we chatted about life, government, religion, goals, and energy. She quickly foiled common misconceptions of a Tantric session:
"This is not a sexual service. This is a treatment to facilitate an expansion of consciousness to obtain mind-body-spirit alignment with the universe. This is health on all levels of your being and is highly pleasurable at the same time. The goal is to harness sexual energies and awaken your inner powers. I treat men and women using various tantric healing techniques to deepen intimacy and release blocked energy which opens the door into your highest sexual potential."
An intimate encounter
After disrobing, we entered a room with music, a tantric scent, and we had a brief session on breathing technique with eye contact. After that, I was face down while receiving a soothing massage. There was humming and breathing and touching and many other physical and mental sensations before I rolled over and was led on a spiritual journey that was between myself, Tantric gods, and of course… the meeting of Laviras and my prostate.
Upon leaving, I sat on the steps and typed into my phone to scribe my immediate emotions. It was meditative. Spiritual. Powerful. Energy releasing. Mentally challenging. Exposing. Enlightening. Penetrating. Nervous yet curious. Healthy. Orgasmic yet completely non-sexual.
On Sunday, a friend asked, "So, what do you recommend?"
I recommend that all of us get out of the sleep-work-couch mundane and experience new things. Be it the cold, a swim, floating, or sexual energy. Find new energy! And let that affect your mind and body in nourishing, positive ways. The world needs to get back in tune with energy.
Wherever you obtain it from it affects your work, relationships, and most importantly – your health and wellbeing.
Have you participated in extreme wellness therapies? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.