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Blog art croppedBy Jim McCloskey

I’m finally at work again, more or less on a full-time basis – and grateful to report that things are going well: My lower back has stabilized and strengthened, I am mostly pain-free and, although I’ve been slowed by the four-week hiatus, I am back to my work and workout routines and feel better day by day.

I attribute much of my recovery to the tender ministrations of the jets in my spa: Without hydrotherapy, I am convinced that my recovery would’ve taken longer, that more of my muscle groups would’ve tightened and given me trouble and that the sheer joy for me of sitting in warm, bubbling water accompanied by reading material and a cool drink would’ve been a rarer experience than it has been for the past month.

To be sure, I am a regular spa user, all year ’round. But when my back isn’t bothering me, my soaking sessions are once-a-week events at best. With pain and spasms, however, I’ve found myself in the spa just about every single day (and often multiple times a day) for more extended soaks – usually 60 minutes or so compared to the 30-minute blasts I typically pursue when there isn’t a painful motivation to keep me in the water.

In these lengthy sessions through the past 30 days, one thought kept flashing through my mind: I’m willing to bet a substantial sum that I’d benefit just as much with a daily soak when I’m feeling fit as a fiddle as I do when I’m ailing. It’s a theory I’ll happily be testing for the next little while.

Another observation, this one about ambient temperatures: In the summertime here in California's San Fernando Valley, it’s often well above 100 degrees during the day, and sometimes it stays quite warm well into the evening. In the past, the outdoor conditions made me hesitant about hopping into my 102-degree spa, but now it doesn’t seem to be an issue for me.

My discovery is that the minutes involved in getting the water up to 102 degrees is prime soaking time, particularly when the start point is about 90 degrees. So now I hop in early and heat up with the water – a sort of acclimatization process that makes it easier to enjoy the fuller heating that will come my way soon enough.

I’ve always believed in the value of hydrotherapy when I’m injured. I think I’m about to test its value when I’m not – and in my book, that sounds like a rewarding investigation!

***

Thanks as always to those of you who sent me supportive and sympathetic notes wishing me a quick recovery. Here’s hoping my new hydrotherapeutic regimen will help me eliminate the need for such communications in the future!

***

Thanks as well for the feedback on the compilations of articles that appeared while I was on the shelf. For the first collection, which included some of my all-time-favorite articles from magazine days, let me say that, yes, I too miss the magazine and the utility of having it as a tool you can hold in your hands to share with clients and colleagues.

For the second collection, which featured some of my favorite digital-only articles published since the printed magazine went away in 2011, let me say that, yes, I too now believe that the digital features have the edge not only when you consider the far-larger number of photographs and illustrations we can include, but also when you recognize the fact that the features are much briefer and more directly to the point than were our magazine articles.

There’s a weird reason for the relative brevity: Our magazine articles had to be long so we had enough editorial copy to wrap around all of the artwork we wanted to include while also allowing us to accommodate a large number of advertisements within the physical constraints of our printed pages. That’s not the case digitally: Our new format lends itself to more economical forms of expression – and the key result is that we publish more articles in digital form than we ever could have done in print.

To me, all-digital is a hands-down winner – but damn, I miss that magazine!

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