Thought Leadership

Introducing the Anüas

By Colin Walls

A while ago, I wrote about the benefits of saunas. In summary, it appears that regular use of a sauna can extend ones lifetime. Since I wrote that, further research has been reported that suggests that frequent sauna usage [several times a week] can reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 66%! I found the data to be quite compelling and will not let up on my use of saunas.

This encouragement made me wonder what the mechanism is for the benefits of a sauna and, as a result, I have come up with a whole new spa concept …

It seems very likely that the benefits of saunas are related to the changes in temperature – from hot sauna to cold shower or plunge pool – and the resulting stimulation of the cardiovascular system. That would logically reduce likelihood of death by heart attack or stroke and, thus, lengthen average life expectancy. As the functionality of the brain is very much tied up with it getting a good oxygen supply, keeping the cardiovascular system in good order can only be beneficial in avoiding dementia. [It would seem to me.]

I go swimming most mornings. Frequently, I use a very warm hydrotherapy pool near my home, which has an inside and an outside part. I used to enter the pool inside the building, then make my way outside to enjoy the contrast with the cool air. We have had some cooler mornings lately [for us, cooler means just a bit below freezing] and I have experimented with walking outside and around the pool, getting a bit chilled, before immersing myself in the hot water. I really enjoy the transition. The experience inspired an interesting idea …

I have invented the Anüas. The concept is simple. You enter a chamber, very like a conventional sauna. The difference is that, instead of being 60-70C or higher, it is more like -2C – i.e. a little below freezing. You stay there until you feel well chilled, then emerge and immediately plunge into a warm pool/bath. The result is to exercise your cardiovascular system in exactly the same way as a sauna, only in reverse.

So, there is the idea. I await, with interest, approaches from spas who wish to install such a facility, which I would be very willing to license. It would certainly offer them a Unique Selling Point.

I was very fired up about my invention, but then read an article about cold water swimming [not that I am planning to try it!], which pointed out that taking a hot shower after a cold swim can cause a “dramatic drop in blood pressure and exacerbate the effects of hypothermia”. This is bad news. Perhaps it just means that the hot plunge pool must not be too hot.

You might be interested in the name, Anüas. It was derived from the word “sauna”, backwards. The accent over the “u” serves two purposes. First, it gives the word an authentic Nordic look [the same way that a well-known premium brand of ice cream uses accents in its name to look European]. Second, in English there is a [frequently broken] rule that says two adjacent vowels are pronounced as a single sound; if you need to pronounce them separately, the first one must carry the accent, like naïve, for example.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at