South Africans love beer. Not only does the average citizen consume 64 litres of it a year but our patronage has helped South African Breweries (SAB) become the second biggest beer company in the world. But did you know that beer can also keep your hair shiny and your skin glowing? Enter beer spas…
Following on from the vinotherapy trend of their Mediterranean neighbours, European beer-producing countries – particularly the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany – are punting a little alcoholic beverage therapy of their own. Beer spas offer guests unique treatments using beer as the therapeutic agent. Like their vinotherapy counterparts, beer spas are usually attached to craft beer breweries situated in picturesque villages – offering stressed city dwellers a super-relaxed spa weekend getaway, comprising spa treatments, beer-tasting, gourmet food and beautiful countryside scenery. All to make you feel good and look good, too!
For privileged folks, living in first-world conditions where food is (too) abundant, beer has earned something of a bad rap as a calorie-laden drink for lager louts. But did you know that beer was first developed as a nutrient-rich beverage – almost a meal replacement – for hard-working, cash-strapped labourers? Although its composition varies from region to region, the four main ingredients in most traditional European (and South African Western-style) beers are hops, malted barley, yeast and water – all good stuff. According to a recent research paper published in science journal Science Nordic –which recommends moderate consumption for optimum health – beer delivers a good dose of:
- Vitamin B (think Brewer’s Yeast) – good for the nervous system, skin and hair
- Potassium – which maintains the fluid/electrolyte balance in the body
- Silicon – essential to bone health
- Anti-oxidants which scavenge on free radicals, the agents which age and damage cells.
In addition, says Science Nordic, like wine, beer helps to protect against heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease and depression – all good reasons to drink up.
You may have heard the old wives’ tale about washing your hair in beer…turns out it’s not just a myth. The malt and hops in beer repairs damaged hair, softening and smoothing it, and the yeast adds volume and shine. One of the most natural, cost-effective hair conditioning treatments out there!
Try it at home – open a can or bottle of beer and pour it into a jug. Leave for a day or until the beer is flat (there are no more bubbles or foam). Shampoo and condition your hair as normal, then pour the flat beer over your hair and massage the liquid into your scalp. Leave for a few minutes, then rinse well with warm water. Note the extra body and bounce (and no, you won’t smell like a brewery!).
You might think that sitting in a giant Jacuzzi full of beer being tended to by a buxom Bavarian wench is every man’s ultimate dream but it turns out that a surprisingly high number of women pay top dollar for this spa treat, as well. A warm beer bath completely relaxes the body and mind, not only because you’re taste-testing pitchers of beer (which incidentally also settles troubled tummies), but because the rich smell of hops induces drowsiness and sleep. Did someone say happy hour?
The Ancient Romans used it to cleanse and tone their faces after a hard day’s conquering the world. Turns out they knew the secret – that the yeast in beer is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, helping fight infections in acne-prone skin, that it both cleanses and moisturises (in days gone by, breweries used left over beer to clean the copper vats, so imagine what it can do for your skin!) and that it helps maintain skin’s pH at a healthy 5.0. No beer goggles needed when you’ve peeled off this face mask!
- Beer massages
- Beer foot soaks
- Beer body wraps.
Heed the old saying, everything in moderation. That’s a beer a day for women and two for men. Drinking more than that isn’t good for us, increasing the risk for cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, hypertension and stroke. And remember, if you’re going to imbibe, never drive!
Dive right into a barrel of beer here: