The idea of this service is a combination of our use of sauna from a sports recovery purpose and our love of swimming in the Irish sea.
Steve: It has been a part of my whole life as I was challenged by my Grandmother to be brave enough to face the elements of the Irish Sea as she used to do it daily down off the slipway in ‘Summercove’ in Kinsale Co. Cork.
I always enjoyed the challenge and more importantly the feeling afterward, the sense of accomplishment. Once I eventually was able to focus on that feeling afterwards you just embraced the swim no matter how cold. You could do anything else for the rest of your day knowing that you had accomplished braving the elements and hitting that restart button.
It was something that only benefitted me in my professional rugby playing career. I never researched the health benefits while playing as there was scepticism of how beneficial it actually was but for me it gave me not only a physical rejuvenation but a mental break.
It was only until I moved to Galway did I experience the pleasure of heating up with the facility of a sauna post swim as it was across the road from my swimming spot in ‘Salthill’ Co. Galway at the Blackrock diving board. This was truly the best my body had felt instantly improving my mood and made me actually laugh at how good I felt afterwards it was truly indescribable.
People would ask me “How do you swim in that!?'“ “are you not frozen for the rest of the day?”.
This concern was a reoccurring theme and I said to myself "If I can get people to approach this activity differently, I know they will do it."
So then I said to people," What if I told you I could guarantee you, you would be warm after your swim ? How would you feel about going for one then ?"
I am aware that people have a different tolerance to heat and cold but the we have in common (especially with Irish people) is “Curiosity” and fear of the "Unknown".
It is embedded in us as a nation to have as much information (nosey) about someone or something through a strong reliable source of information.
Well… I am trying to spread the knowledge and benefits of Heat stress to the body, through the experience, out in the elements and get people to "Embrace the Unknown"
Jarrad: I've always lived by the beach. However on the east coast of Australia, it was usually associated with sun-shine, warm sand, and the good times. A far cry from the cold Atlantic ocean surrounding Ireland.
As a professional sportsperson I always saw a benefit to the ocean. To the saltwater. After training, after games, after a night out, it was firstly refreshing and more importantly helped me to physically and mentally recharge.
However when I came to Galway, another ingredient was added to the mix. The cold. West of Ireland cold. I knew it was good for me, but it made the idea of getting in the water close to impossible. I couldn't muster up the courage to stick it out in the water, because what followed was even worse. Uncontrollable shakes, freezing hands and feet, chattering teeth, for hours afterwards.
Until I found the solution. Saunas. Having a sauna across from where I got in the ocean allowed me the benefit of the cold, without the negative of the aftermath. Not only that, but it doubled down the recovery, flushing the blood back into the muscles and extremities. Most importantly however, it gave me the confidence to meet the cold. This is a benefit I want to allow more people to experience and then afterward tell me you don’t feel amazing!