Gold Coast Explorer since Jan 2010. Always on the lookout for fun, family things to enjoy with my four kids.
Published February 6th 2019
Prepare for a very cool experience
After a bout of Influenza A, my doctor friend mentioned Magnesium Pools in Burleigh to me. I Googled the P3 website, was intrigued by what I read and decided to visit. My experience was of the Wet Therapy zone, which included 4 pools, at different temps; a magnesium hydrotherapy pool and magnesium cold plunge pool plus hot and cold magnesium spas. These pools are designed for sports people to help with performance preparation and recovery.
Here's how it works. The first pool is the coldest, at 12 degrees (although there was mention of a minimum of 5), the next is the hottest at 39.5 degrees. The third is cold again, 15 degrees, so not quite as cold as the first. The final pool is hot, 35, but again not quite as hot as the hottest. You spend 4 minutes in each pool and follow the order of hottest, coldest, hot, cold.
This is repeated for 3 complete cycles. The contrast is huge on your body. First time in the hottest and my body was tingling, with a pins and needles type sensation. By the second cycle, the cold saw me starting to shiver. That can be faced as a challenging mind game, as you try to control a body that wants to keep the core warm enough by shivering.
Who uses the facilities? I have to say we were very impressed by the physique and obvious fitness of the people there. P3 is an "elite recovery centre for sports people". Professional athletes use the facilities and it's easy to forget that rest and rejuvenation, with the goal of speeding up recovery, is very much part of their training program. They are clearly in love with the contrasting pools, which seems quite strange when you are first submerged in the 12 degree water pool. It takes determination to stay in, until a buzzer announces it's time to change pool. One man completely submerged himself so his head was under too. It's interesting watching the body language of people in the different pools, as it changes from very still with minimal movement, little conversation and arms crossed or firmly by your sides in the cold. Then the next pool sees them actively relax, smile and their loose limbs happily tread water or bob on a pool noodle.
A sprinter we spoke to visits P3 5 to 7 times a week. He spoke of working, and then training after work, followed by a gym session then being too wired to sleep much before midnight. Now he works, trains, gyms and ends with a wet therapy session, before the centre closes at 9, goes home and sleeps soundly. Another guy said he worked as a carpet and vinyl layer but had knee problems. He was there to assist recovery for his knee.
So what's actually happening to your body through this process? The cold water causes blood vessels to constrict sending blood closer to your core and heart to maintain warmth. Circulation is then accelerated causing accelerated muscle recovery and lactic acid is efficiently flushed out of the body. Alternating hot and cold creates a muscle pump effect of built-up lactic acid and waste. Hot water opens up the blood vessels, which were constricted in cold, that efficiently flushes your system. Some of the benefits of contrast therapy include: increased blood circulation, dramatically increasing the elimination of waste, hydrating cells, improving skin and muscle tone, boosting the immune system and reduced mental stress and anxiety, giving you a deeper sleep. The use of ice baths to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation is not a new phenomenon.
The change between the pools is highly refreshing as you alternate the endurance of the cold with the bliss of the hot. It's a bit of a winter experience, followed by summer. You hang in with the promise of what will follow next.
Showering before you get into the first pool is required but not necessary at the end, as it's desirable to leave the magnesium on your skin. "The magnesium chloride mineral which is found in P3 sports and recovery pools can be absorbed through the skin (trans dermally) at a cellular level". The magnesium chloride in the water is a key component to the therapy. I learned that magnesium is known to help increase energy, calm nerves and anxiety, prevent migraine headaches, help with digestion, help prevent osteoporosis and is important for heart health while relieving muscle aches and spasms. The storing of magnesium in the body promotes healthy wellbeing.
So how did we feel afterwards? Relaxed - definitely, refreshed for sure, and I'll add a postscript tomorrow for how well I slept tonight. I can appreciate how those in training or with injuries would enjoy the benefits. As for me, the layperson that enjoys sport, I would happily revisit. I think the entry fee is also reasonable and a draw card. There was a definite strong sporting vibe to the facility and we enjoyed the large TV screen playing music videos.
The Dry Therapy zone consists of a recovery lounge, set out movie theatre style, with zero gravity reclining chairs, the Recovery Pump System and a Roll Zone. There's free wifi and a large screen for entertainment.
Thanks go to Todd for his friendly and informative tour of all the facilities which include the specialist services of: a Hyperbaric Chamber, a Vibrosaun, Fascial Stretch Therapy and Massage.
Clients are a mix of active sports people, elite and non competitive, working and retired. The facility provides services to help people "Prepare, Perform & Prevent". Packages are available for clubs, teams, gyms and schools.
P3 Sports and Recovery are located at: 1/10 Kortum Dr in Burleigh Heads.
They are open 7 days, Mon Fri 8am 9pm and Sat Sun 8am 4pm.
Ph: 5576 8507 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will also find the P3 facility in Melbourne.