Incredible Benefits of Sauna and Cold Plunge Practices

Incredible Benefits of Sauna and Cold Plunge Practices

In today's whirlwind lifestyle, the emphasis on go-go often overshadows the critical need for rest and recovery. Juggling the demands of high-intensity workouts and the hustle of our day-to-day responsibilities, we might unintentionally sideline the essential practice of allowing our bodies to rejuvenate.

This oversight can usher in a host of unwelcome guests, including anxiety, stress, overwhelming fatigue, and disrupted sleep patterns. Recognizing the importance of recovery is not just about pausing for breath; it's about actively engaging in practices that restore our physical and mental well-being.

Among the myriad of recovery methods, the ancient practice of combining hot sauna and cold plunge therapy stands out. Celebrated by science and fitness enthusiasts alike, this method, deeply rooted in Nordic traditions, offers a contrasting yet profoundly effective approach to relaxation and health.

The Hot Sauna and Cold Plunge Method Explained

Contrast therapy, or what's sometimes called the Nordic cycle, is a cool way to help your body recover and feel good, especially after you've been working out or when you're feeling super stressed. It's like a really old-school health trick that people have been using for thousands of years.

Here's how you do it:

  • Step 1: Start by chugging one to two glasses of water. This is super important 'cause you're about to get really sweaty, and you don't want to get dehydrated.
  • Step 2: Hop into a sauna that's all nice and hot. Stay in there and sweat it out for about 10–15 minutes.
  • Step 3: Next, you'll want to take a quick shower. This is just to rinse off before the next step.
  • Step 4: Now for the chilly part! Jump into a cold plunge pool and stay there for one to four minutes. Remember, keep breathing and try to relax, even though it's cold.
  • Step 5: After you're done with the cold plunge, chill out on a bench for about 5–10 minutes.

You can repeat these steps a few times, depending on how you're feeling. Doing this sauna and cold plunge thing can really help your body in a bunch of ways, like making your blood flow better, reducing swelling and sore muscles, and even making you feel happier and less stressed. It's a pretty awesome way to take care of your body and mind.

What Are the Benefits of Sauna and Cold Plunge?

What Are the Benefits of Sauna and Cold Plunge?

Exploring the myriad benefits of sauna and cold plunge therapy dives deep into a practice with roots stretching back to the wisdom of Hippocrates. This ancient technique, enhanced by centuries of scientific advancements and medical understanding, offers a robust method for enhancing health and well-being.

1. Strengthens Your Body and Helps It Adapt

Have you ever wondered why doing something a bit tough or challenging can actually make you stronger or better at handling stuff? Well, there's this cool science word for it called "hormesis." It's like when you practice lifting weights, the weights are the challenge, and lifting them makes your muscles stronger. The hot of the sauna and the cold of the ice bath sort of do the same thing but in a cool way for your whole body, not just your muscles.

At first, this might seem a bit extreme, but it's actually helping your body get better at dealing with stress. The sauna makes your body hot, and the ice bath makes it cold right after. This switch-up is like a mini workout for your body's ability to handle temperature changes.

2. Relaxation and Stress Relief

One of the coolest parts of switching between a hot sauna and a cold plunge is what it does for your circulation, easing muscle tightness and even making you feel good because of something called endorphins.

Think about it; when you're in the sauna, everything heats up, and your blood vessels get bigger. This is called vasodilation. It's like opening up all the highways in your body so blood can get to your skin faster. When these "highways" open up, your blood pressure goes down, making you feel chill and less stressed.

Then, when you jump into the cold water, it's a whole different story. Your body does the opposite and makes the blood vessels smaller – that's vasoconstriction. It's like narrowing those highways, which sends the blood to the core of your body to protect your organs. This change can make you feel a bit of a rush from adrenaline, sort of like a natural high.

You might feel stressed at first because your body is in "fight or flight" mode, but over time, as you do it more, you get used to the cold. You'll start feeling less stressed in general, not just when you're in the water. It’s a pretty neat way to help your body get better at handling stress from all kinds of stuff.

3. Reduces Inflammation

You know how sometimes parts of your body can get swollen and painful? That's often because of this annoying thing called inflammation. It's your body's way of saying, "Hey, something's not right here," but if it keeps happening for a long time, that's not good for you.

Using the heat from the sauna can help get your blood moving and helps with something called lymphatic drainage. This is just a fancy way of saying it helps get rid of bad stuff your body doesn't need, like toxins. And when you jump into that cold water, it's not just about getting a shock. It can actually help reduce the swelling and the pain pretty quickly.

Starting with cold therapy is good if you've just hurt a muscle because it can reduce the swelling and numb the pain. Once that's under control, heating up the area can help loosen things up and make everything feel a bit easier to move. It's like giving your body a helping hand in getting back to feeling great.

4. Helps Cleanse Your Body

Both hot saunas and cold plunges are great for helping your body get rid of stuff it doesn't need, which is super important for staying healthy. When you sit in a really hot sauna, your body's temperature goes up, and you start sweating a lot. This sweating is actually your body's way of cleaning out toxins, kind of like giving your insides a good rinse. It's like when your body gets a fever to fight off an infection, but in this case, you're in control.

Jumping into cold water does something pretty cool, too. It makes your body produce more white blood cells because it thinks it needs to fight off something. These cells are like your body's own superhero team against getting sick. The cold also makes your lymphatic system, which is like a waste disposal network, work better by moving fluid through your body faster. This helps clean out the bad stuff even more.

5. Helps You Lose Weight and Burn Fat

Professional athletes have been onto something for a while; they use the combo of sauna heat and cold plunges to stay in top shape.

Here's the deal: when you hang out in a sauna, it gets your core body temperature up. This is good because your body starts to burn more calories than if you were just sitting around. It's like your body is working out, but you're not actually moving. And when you mix in the cold plunge, it kicks things up a notch for burning fat.

The cold part helps wake up something called brown adipose tissue. It's a special kind of fat that burns regular fat to keep you warm. Pretty cool, right? Then, heading back into the sauna gets your heart going faster and your body working harder, which can burn even more calories, especially if you've already worked out.

Related: How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Sauna?

6. Makes Your Skin Look and Feel Better

When you're hanging out in the sauna, all that heat makes more blood go to your skin. This is pretty awesome because it means your skin cells are getting more oxygen and nutrients, which they love. It helps them renew and keeps your skin looking healthy. Plus, when you sweat in the sauna, it's like giving your pores a deep clean, getting rid of all the bad stuff that can make your skin look not-so-great.

Then, when you take that cold plunge, it's like hitting the reverse button. The cold makes your blood vessels get smaller, which is good for calming down any puffiness or inflammation. It also helps get rid of toxins in a different way and gives your skin a chance to tighten up. This leaves your skin feeling smooth and looking more even.

7. Helps With Arthritis

For those struggling with arthritis, finding relief is often a top priority. The combination of sauna sessions and cold plunges might just be a game-changer. Here's how it works:

Warm Sauna Sessions:

  • The warmth relaxes your muscles, reducing tightness and stiffness in your joints.
  • Heat boosts blood flow to affected areas, enriching them with oxygen and nutrients.
  • This increase in circulation reduces inflammation, a key factor in arthritis discomfort.

Cold Plunges:

  • The cold water decreases swelling around joints, lessening arthritis symptoms.
  • Acts like an ice pack on a sprain but for your whole body.
  • Temporarily numbs pain receptors, providing a break from the ache.
  • Helps relax muscles and ease the tension around joints.

Are There Any Risks That Come With Doing Both Sauna and Cold Plunge Together?

Are There Any Risks That Come With Doing Both Sauna and Cold Plunge Together?

While there aren't any major health risks associated with doing both a sauna and a cold plunge, it's really important for certain people to be careful. If you're new to this, a bit older, pregnant, a kid, or dealing with some health issues, you should definitely think twice.

The big switch from hot to cold can be a shock to your body, which might not be a good thing depending on various factors like your age or health condition.

To make sure you're doing things the safe way, it's always a smart move to chat with a healthcare professional before you jump from a sauna into cold water. They can give you the thumbs up or suggest other ways to relax and feel awesome.

Safety Tips for Using Sauna and Cold Plunge

When you're all set to try out the sauna and cold plunge, keeping things safe is super important. Here are some quick tips to keep you healthy while you enjoy:

  • Start Slow: Don't rush into it. Begin with shorter sessions and see how your body reacts.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after. Saunas make you sweat a lot, and cold plunges can be taxing.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you feel dizzy, too hot, or just not right, it's time to take a break.
  • Don't Go Alone: Especially if you're new to this, having a buddy with you is a smart idea.
  • Cool Down: After the sauna, give yourself some time to cool off before you jump into the cold plunge.
  • Health First: If you have any health concerns, talk to a doctor before trying sauna and cold plunge sessions.

The Best Way to Do Sauna and Cold Plunge

The Best Way to Do Sauna and Cold Plunge

Finding the perfect balance between sauna heat and the chill of a cold plunge can boost your wellness routine in a big way. Here's a straightforward plan tailored to get you started while keeping comfort and safety at the forefront:

  • Recommended Rounds: Ideally, aim for two to three cycles of sauna followed by a cold plunge. Finish your routine with the cold to get the most benefits.
  • Weekly Routine: Try to hit a target of 11 minutes of cold exposure and at least one hour of sauna time each week. Spread this out over three to four sessions for the best results.
  • Cold Plunge Temperature: If you're new to cold plunges, start with water temperatures just below 66.2°F. It's cold enough to stimulate your body without being overwhelming.
  • Sauna Temperature: Traditional saunas are your go-to, with the best sauna temperature around 185°F. The humidity should be on the lower side, between 10% and 20%, to create an optimal sauna experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the sequence of sauna and cold plunge?

The best way to do the sauna and cold plunge combo is to hang out in a 125°F sauna for about 15 minutes, then jump into a really cold ice bath for 30 seconds. You should do this three times in a row. This helps your body make some cool stuff like brown fat and heat shock proteins, which are super good for you.

How long do you have to wait to go in a sauna after a cold plunge?

After hitting the cold plunge for about 2-3 minutes, you can move to the sauna for a 20-minute session. Just remember, it's cool to finish off with another dip in the cold plunge for a few minutes. Ending in the cold is the key to feeling great!

Should I do sauna or ice bath first?

Most health and fitness experts agree that you should start with a sauna and then do a cold plunge. This follows the idea of contrast therapy, where your body is first warmed up and then cooled down quickly.

Is it okay to take a cold plunge every day?

Yes, taking a cold plunge every day is okay for most people. Just make sure it feels good to your body and doesn't make you too uncomfortable.

The Takeaway

Both sauna and cold plunge therapies offer some awesome benefits that can really improve how you feel physically and mentally. When you make these practices a regular part of your life, you could see a big boost in how good you feel overall.

They can help you chill out, recover faster from workouts, and just enjoy a better quality of life. Think of adding these therapies to your routine as a way to take care of all parts of you, kind of like a full package deal for wellness.

And hey, if you're thinking about setting up a sauna at your place to get all these cool benefits at home, CalmSpas has got you covered.

Whether you're into the traditional sauna vibe or want to check out what’s up with infrared saunas, you’ll find something that fits your needs. Feel free to contact us for more information and get ready to experience the awesome benefits of sauna and cold plunge.