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Emma's Story

Emma is from Maryland, and she’s been a student at BYU in Provo, Utah for about two-and-a-half years. She just started her first semester in the nursing program. It’s been extremely challenging, but she’s grateful that she has the chance to be part of it. Emma’s biggest hobby is weightlifting, which is something she’s been very dedicated to for a couple years now.

“It started out as me wanting to explore a new way to exercise and, if I’m being honest, to change the way I looked,” Emma said. “However, as time has gone by, I’ve come to use it as a tool to regulate my emotions, relieve stress, and to feel better about and happy in the body that I’m already in. How can you not love your body after you see it doing amazing things like lifting twice its weight and adapting to whatever stress you put it under?”

Emma learned about contrast therapy in high school when she was a part of her school’s cross country team. Her coach and some of her teammates had mentioned that it has good benefits for runners, but she never actually did it until her first time at PLUNJ. Her first visit was with a group of friends. She remembers feeling way out of her comfort zone, yet simultaneously having so much fun and growing closer to her friends, trying something new and uncomfortable together.

Being from Maryland, where they have hot, muggy summers, the sauna part was easily bearable. It was the cold that posed the most difficulty for Emma and required the most courage.

“If you focus on how cold it is, it feels like every cell in your body stops moving and everything in your brain is telling you to get out!” she said. But for Emma, the magic happens in learning to challenge her mind.

“Aside from having noticeably faster recovery from sore muscles and reduced stress, I’ve also been able to increase my mental toughness by doing contrast therapy — which is a game changer in every part of my life!”

Contrast therapy has helped Emma with her hard classes when she doesn’t understand something right away and needs to keep pushing and trying. It helps her when she’s lifting weights at the gym and everything in her body is telling her that she can’t do it or she’s not strong enough. It helps her have greater discipline, which allows her to accomplish more things in her life.

Emma recently read a quote on Instagram that she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about. In essence it said, “the beauty you’re looking for, but not finding, lies in the things you’re too afraid to do.” That quote changed the way she thinks about being uncomfortable. Now, she believes that discomfort is the way we grow and become better, and contrast therapy is a useful tool to practice that.

For Emma, there’s an atmosphere of peace, even just by the front desk of PLUNJ. She loves how the layout and design of the area is relaxing and inviting, and all the little details make it a magical place to be. She said that the staff and other guests are only ever kind and encouraging, which helps her feel like she belongs there.

“I think my favorite part is resting between hot and cold,” Emma said. “My mind is so clear and I feel so rejuvenated. There is warm tea to sip, it’s peaceful and quiet, and I have the biggest rush of happy chemicals in my brain. It’s the best feeling!”

About PLUNJ, Emma said, “Everyone should give it a try! It’s applicable in everyone’s lives because everyone has to do hard things and everyone has stress. I don’t think anyone could try it and regret it. Also, just a side note, prepare for THE BEST night of sleep after contrast therapy. It always makes me sleep so amazingly and I feel like I wake up in a new body after.”

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