Spring Awakening: How to Reset Your Body for Spring

Consider it spring cleaning... for your body.

The weather is finally getting warmer and the sun is out in Atlanta. Finally, it feels like spring, and our bodies are reawakening.

As Atlanta residents go through the motions of spring cleaning their office spaces, homes and gardens, so too should they be thinking about resetting their bodies for the season, and local businesses have geared up to help residents do so.

In Sandy Springs alone, new businesses have opened up in recent weeks, and their staff say Atlanta residents can revitalize and set themselves up for a refreshing few months ahead. Here’s how to work on that spring glow from the inside out.

1. Relieve your body of muscular pain 

If you’ve been feeling icky from the aches and pains that result from limited movement or stiff muscles in the colder months, try starting with some reflexology, massage or cryotherapy.

Reflexology allows a practitioner to access all systems of the body right through the feet, says Denise Leslie, owner of the new Medical and Sports Massage in Sandy Springs. A practitioner would apply pressure to different parts of the foot using his or her hands, and studies have indicated that these methods may reduce pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Each part of the foot corresponds to a different part of the body, and this can relieve stress in those areas. Leslie also offers regular, medical and sports massage therapy.

I experienced a regular massage at Leslie’s practice firsthand, and I would recommend it for resetting your body this season.  I turned to putty in Leslie’s healing hands. Before the massage, she listened to my concerns, and then worked through the knots in my most problematic area– my shoulders– and ultimately set me up to feel relaxed and relieved to tackle the work week ahead after an adventure-filled week of international travel.

Standing in the cryotherapy chamber.

Cryotherapy could also be another way to get a burst of energy while removing aches and pains. This treatment utilizes a cold chamber that runs on nitrogen. The nitrogen then turns to cool air.

“We have the ability to drop the temperature to -120 degrees F,” Leslie said.

The reason why people do cryotherapy is to help stop joint and muscle pain. This has mostly been utilized by athletes looking for quick recovery, but can also be used for anyone experiencing nerve or muscle aches. The cold air stops the nerve signals, and the practitioner is then able to follow up by working more intensely on those muscles during massage therapy.

I was invited to try cryotherapy at Leslie’s Medical & Sports Massage a couple weeks ago after a weeklong vacation.  I figured, after the exertions of our trip and to prepare for the week ahead, a boost in energy and calming my muscle aches could be worth it. I was, however, hesitant and worried it would be too cold. Thankfully, the treatment only lasted 3-4 minutes, and the temperature was brought down gradually. Plus, it didn’t feel like I was stuck in a tub of ice. Instead, it was more of a mist,  so the cold was bearable. Leslie said I could move around in the chamber or ask to step out at any time.

Once I completed the four minutes and stepped out of the cryotherapy chamber, I felt like I could go for a run. I was completely energetic and alert.

However, if stepping into below-freezing temperatures is not for you, Leslie, whose practice and protocols rely on medical studies that she has conducted, also recommends drinking lots of water and eating organic foods that are in season to feel fresh this season.

“We’re 70% water so humans need to stay hydrated,” Leslie says.

2. Hydrate with Refreshing Fruit Teas

Hydration is an essential part of feeling fresh. Since the human body is mostly water, it’s important to drink a lot of it

With the lively and fruity flavors available at the new Teamo in Sandy Springs, staying hydrated is easy and delicious. While caffeine and certain herbs can serve as a diuretic, with fruit and caffeine-free herbal teas you can get the same hydration benefits of drinking water, while also enjoying the calming or energizing effects of the tea infusions.

Teamo opened its doors in March and offers beautiful herbal, milk and fruit teas that are too pretty drink (although I’m sure you’ll find a way).  They also have a selection of hot herbal teas you can use to detoxify and relax your senses, as well as to promote energy and circulation within the body.

Last May, owner Ling Chen said she first had the idea to start an ice cream shop, so she went to China to research unique ingredients and flavors she could offer here in Atlanta. However, while visiting, she realized that everywhere there were primarily tea shops, so she figured there was an opportunity to bring that back to the States instead. She spent a few weeks in China learning the tea-steeping methods, and finally opened the store on March 14.

Once you’ve used their relaxing teas to undo the damage of winter, go ahead and enjoy one of their refreshing fruit teas, which include pieces of real fruit and are served over ice. Some of my favorite flavors include the kiwi apple, strawberry lemon, and the red dragon passion fruit.

Kiwi Apple Iced Tea at Teamo in Sandy Springs.

3. Work Up A Sweat at F45

If you’re looking to get into shape for a beach body or simply want to get moving again, the new f45 fitness studio in Sandy Springs is a fun and effective way to do so.

Naomi James, a trainer at the new f45 fitness center, said these interval-based classes are a blend of strength training, cardio, body weight movements and hi-intensity training.

F45 originated in Australia and eventually made its way over to the U.S. about two years ago. This month, they are slated to open their studio in Sandy Springs, although demo classes have been ongoing, and a soft launch is scheduled soon for those signed up early with memberships.

These 45-minute classes focus on functional movements, and I found them to be a mix of challenging but feasible, which I liked. The legwork at my first class had me waddling for days after, but I loved the burn. The subsequent classes were more manageable over time. What I like is that the time at each station is short (40 seconds), and there are several different exercises, so you won’t be stuck doing something you hate for too long.

“We work from pod stations, having you reach that anaerobic zone for that after burn,” James said.

What sets these fitness classes apart are the variety of different tools that are used (sand bags, medicine balls, hammers, etc.) and also that there is hardly any break in between the sets. In many fitness classes, there is up to a minute break in between the stations, she said. However, here, it’s 20 seconds before you move on to the next station. Instructions are given at the beginning, and the goal is to reach the anaerobic zone so you burn calories even hours after you’ve left the class. In a single class, participants can burn anywhere from 700-900 calories, James said.

“If you’re trying to lean out or get summer body ready this is perfect for that. You are building a lot of lean muscle,” she said.

People can sign up for the classes now. The facility will have its official grand opening June 2.

4. Revitalize your skin and boost circulation

Using products that reduce inflammation, boost circulation and keep pH levels balanced are are going to be key for recharging this spring.

Leave behind the dry, flaky and tired look of winter for a fresh spring glow by working with the beauty experts at L’Occitane at Avalon in Alpharetta.

Their Immortelle Divine line of products are filled with vitamin E,  C, and omega-rich fatty acids, and work to boost collagen levels and micro-circulation. These creams and serums are also infused with rejuvenating essential oils once used by the ancient Egyptians, such as rose hip oil.

The Divine Eye Cream that I tried included buckwheat essential oils to target puffiness, bags and dark circles around the eyes.

If you’re hesitant to switch up your face regimen, give their shea butter hand creams a try, as these also ooze with nourishing ingredients, so much so that the moisture can be retained on your skin even after washing your hands up to four times.

At the end of winter, I went into L’Occitance for a hand massage and facial, and I came out of there with my skin feeling hydrated and glowing. The beauty adviser gave me a 1-minute hand scrub to exfoliate any accumulated dead skin, and then massaged my hands, specifically around the webbed area between the thumb and forefinger. I learned that massaging these areas and even the tips of the fingers can help relieve headaches, especially when allergies start to kick in.

Post-facial glow courtesy of the beauty experts at L’Occitane.

There’s no need to feel like you’re over-indulging when it comes to taking care of yourself, so use this season of awakening to revitalize and kick start your senses from the inside out.

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