Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Basking at Baden-Baden

Winter was getting old. True, the weather in Germany has been unseasonably mild, but certainly not balmy. And then theres the rain.
I began daydreaming of warm beaches, but neither my girlfriend nor I had the vacation time or cash for that. Then I remembered there was an easier escape nearby: the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden.
Since Roman times, people have gone to Baden-Baden to soak in the thermal water gushing from springs beneath the surrounding hills. Emperor Caracalla eased his rheumatism there in private baths, and soldiers enjoyed the spas public baths, the remains of which you can still see, at the renowned Roman-Irish Friedrichsbad.
When the Friedrichsbad opened in 1877, it was Europes most modern and stylish bathhouse. Thats according to its brochure, at least, which had me sold with its quote from Mark Twain: Here at the Friedrichsbad, you lose track of time within 10 minutes and track of the world within 20.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hot tubs, baths may hurt male fertility

Hot tubs or hot baths can lead to male infertility, according to a small pilot study in Brazil.
A three-year study analyzed data from 11 infertile men who had been repeatedly exposed to high water temperatures through hot tubs or hot baths, the study reported in the March-April issue of the International Brazilian Journal of Urology.
"It has been believed for decades that wet-heat exposure is bad for fertility, as an old wives' tale, but this effect has rarely been documented," said study leader Dr. Paul J. Turek, a urologist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco. "We now have actual evidence to show patients that these recreational activities are a real risk factor for male infertility."
For the purposes of the study, wet-heat exposure was defined as the immersion of the body in a hot tub or bath at a temperature warmer than body temperature for 30 minutes or more per week for at least three months prior to participation in the study.