Professional athletes have been known to have lots of alternative therapies, routines and superstitious rituals they employ to keep them at the top of their game. But none seem to be more appealing to non athletes than vinotherapy, a favorite of NBA basketball player Amar'e Stoudemire.
What Is Vinotherapy?
Now, before you grab a bottle of red wine and head to the tub, the first thing to know about vinotherapy is that it doesn't involve actual red wine. What is utilized in this form of therapy are all the parts of the plant used to make the wine -- the leaves, grape skins, branches and vines. These components are combined with water to create a bath.
Stoudemire shared an image of himself soaking in the bath on social media, later explaining he remains in the tub of red liquid for 40 minutes to add in recovery after strenuous training. But does it work?
Suggested Benefits of Vinotherapy
The practice of using the elements of red wine externally for health and beauty began back in the 1990s and has grown in popularity as more and more research has been conducted about the benefits of red wine and the grapes that are used to produce it. It's believed soaking in this mixture will deliver potent antioxidants -- namely resveratrol -- into the skin to prevent the physical signs of aging like wrinkles by preventing the damage free radicals can cause.
Stoudemire said he soaks in the tub to boost his circulation. Major proponents of vinotherapy suggest the antioxidants and tannins within the bath strengthen the blood vessels, allowing for better circulation of blood throughout the body. However, any warm bath -- even with just plain water -- has been shown to open the blood vessels and get your blood flowing more regularly.
Unfortunately, there aren't any major human studies out at this point that prove soaking in this red wine mixture will provide anti-aging, circulatory or disease-fighting benefits. But it doesn't appear to be harmful, unless you have a known allergic reaction.
Known Health Perks of Red Wine
While the jury may still be out about the effectiveness of soaking in red wine, we do know drinking a glass of red wine each day can provide certain health benefits. There have been several studies that show the active antioxidants within red wine -- polyphenols, quercetin and the most well known, resveratrol -- can help protect the heart and circulatory system against the damage of free radicals. This oxidative stress can lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) as well as heart disease. Red wine may also help increase HDL, or "good" cholesterol, which further reduces the risk for heart attack and heart disease.
The recommended daily serving of red wine is about 5 fl oz, which works out to between 15 and 30 g of alcohol. Drinking too much wine on a daily basis can negatively impact sleeping habits and damage the liver over time, so it's important to keep regular consumption at a moderate level.
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