http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/01/30/me-time


Danville Express

- January 30, 2009

Me time

Create a tranquil environment to get away from it all without leaving home

Just 19 minutes out of the 1,440 minutes in a day-that's how much time the average American spends relaxing or thinking, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Is 19 minutes of relaxing "me time" really enough? Where can people go within their home to escape the stress that surrounds them? Personal spaces are becoming increasingly scarce with extended families and friends living together under one roof. As a result, some people find it more difficult than ever to create a tranquil environment where they can "get away from it all" and perhaps increase their essential "me" time.

"Relaxation is a significant antidote to stress and potential health problems. Although ongoing emotional upset around issues in one's life may not be the single root cause of an illness, there is now abundant evidence to prove that unresolved feelings and pressure can be a major contributor to bodily distress and most health-related issues," notes Dr. Harriet Haberman, practicing psychotherapist with over 30 years experience and author of "Emotional Wisdom: A Compassionate Guide to the Messages Hidden in Your Feelings."

"Personal and global economic events can easily create havoc with our health," Haberman continued. "This troubling reality emphasizes the importance of finding a safe place to allow oneself to feel nurtured."

Quiet relaxation zones in back yards and bathrooms built around a water theme continue to provide a highly desired residential sanctuary, and "hydrotherapy" is increasingly popular. Homeowners are choosing jetted whirlpool bath tubs or air baths because of the transformative experience they deliver. Bathrooms are viewed as one of the last truly private spaces in the home and the one destination that people can count on to get away.

The back yard can be a great place to have a home spa retreat as well. Zen gardens and fountains are popular as are outdoor hot tubs that can be used all year long, even during cold months. Privacy is enhanced with creative landscaping for a discreet hot tub experience.

Having a backyard hot tub provides the opportunity to enjoy hydrotherapy in a controlled and convenient environment. Homeowners gain access to a private space where they can relax and be away from the rest of world. Unlike facilities at hotels or gyms, body-conscious individuals don't have to worry about who will see them.

Besides providing some private relaxation time, hot tubs and steaming baths deliver many health benefits. The heat improves circulation and speeds recovery in damaged tissue and the buoyancy of the water reduces pressure on joints and the spine. Finally, the massage elements relieve muscle tension and alleviate stress.

"It's important to increase those 19 minutes of personal time no matter how busy your household is," Haberman said.

--ARAContent

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