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Stoudemire rejuvenates in wine baths

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Amar'e Stoudemire played in three preseason games in four nights and said his body and surgically repaired knees felt great.

One reason might be a new red wine treatment Stoudemire has been trying. For more than six months, the Knicks big man says he has been taking baths in red wine at a spa to help his body rejuvenate.

"The red wine bath is very important to me because it allows me to create more circulation in my red blood cells," Stoudemire said after completing a three-hour practice with the Knicks on Thursday. "Plus, it's very hot, so it's like a hot tub. But it's also the red wine ... just kind of soothes the body."

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There are spas that provide vinotherapy or vinotherapie. According to the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa in the renowned Plaza Hotel in New York City, "Grape polyphenols fight against free radicals, which cause 80 percent of skin aging. ... In addition to their exceptional antioxidant power, polyphenols reinforce microcirculation, protect elastin and collagen fibers and prevent the destruction of the fundamental elements of the skin's support tissues."

Regine Berthelot, the North America treatment manager for Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, said the Caudalie Vinotherapie spas do not recommend soaking in red wine "as the alcohol content will dehydrate the skin. At the spa, we use tracts of red vine leaf to soak in the bath to improve blood circulation and strengthen the blood capillaries.

"Drinking red wine is known to have antioxidant properties and the resveratrol is helping to boost the cellular renewal," Berthelot said. "Soaking in red vine leaf will help to strengthen the blood capillaries and improve the blood circulation."

Stoudemire, 31, said the wine baths he soaks in are mixed with water but that the majority is wine. Stoudemire, who politely did not want to disclose the name of the spa he goes to in New York City, follows up a bath treatment with a 90-minute massage. Stoudemire also moves between a variety of tubs at different temperatures.

"Also, you have the ancient tub, so you have like a salt tub and a hot tub and a cold plunge and a pool," Stoudemire said. "And you just kind of mix it all up."

When asked if he has felt a difference, Stoudemire pointed to the fact he played in the Knicks' three preseason games from Saturday to Tuesday.

"I hope so. I don't know. I haven't tasted it."

Amar'e Stoudemire, on whether the wine he bathes in is of high quality

Stoudemire, who is entering his 13th season, logged 15 minutes in a win over Boston on Saturday in Connecticut. On Monday, he played 15 minutes against the Raptors at home before logging 21 minutes the next night against the 76ers in Syracuse. He had a total of 14 points and 14 rebounds in the three games.

"Well, yesterday I felt great," Stoudemire said of how he felt during the team's day off Wednesday. "And after doing that recovery day, my legs felt rejuvenated. I felt great, so I'm going to continue to do that for sure."

Coach Derek Fisher says the Knicks have a plan to manage Stoudemire's health in practices and games this season. They have rested him in a few practices in training camp.

Last season, Stoudemire played in 65 games, averaging 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 22 minutes. With the Knicks monitoring his usage closely, Stoudemire came on strong at the end, averaging 16.9 points and 6.6 rebounds in March.

Stoudemire is entering the final year of his contract but has no plans to retire anytime soon.

"Amar'e is still a great athlete," Fisher said. "We often spend times comparing guys to what we consider their form that they used to be. When you consider what Amar'e has experienced and been through, to be so passionate about competing at a high level, doing all the little things necessary to try and stay healthy -- those things are not just for him, that is for his team."

Stoudemire said his wife, Alexis, told him about the wine bath treatments, and he began doing research on the subject. He did not want to disclose the name of the spa he goes to in New York City.

When asked whether the wine he bathed in was quality wine, Stoudemire laughed.

"I hope so," he said. "I don't know. I haven't tasted it."