Icy, cold water and red hot heat: both elements have the power to harm us and heal us. It’s well known that placing ice on an injury can help to reduce your swelling. In turn, heat applied in the right way can also bring down your sensations of pain. But what about moving from a sauna to cold water, one after the other? Does this do you any good?
Nordic cultures like that in Finland are said to have been using the “hot sauna, cold water” technique for centuries in order to rejuvenate their mind and body. Some even refer to it as the “Nordic Cycle”, its use is so ubiquitous. Ready to try it? Here’s why you might consider adding a warm sauna to your cold plunge routine for that extra bit of “wow”.
The Benefits of a Cold Plunge
Cold plunging, or taking an ice bath comes with many potential benefits. Many swear by an ice bath to elevate their mood, boost overall energy, and lower inflammation. Ice baths have been known to:
- reduce muscle soreness
- increase blood flow
- support your immune system
- and more
Many professional and amateur athletes use cold plunging regularly to boost their resilience and performance. Looking for a great way to get a better night’s sleep and destress? Jump in!
The Benefits of a Cold Plunge After Sauna
If you’re interested in improving both your physical and mental health, you know how often you look for ways to gain that extra edge in wellness. Engaging in a hot sauna, cold plunge routine could be key to bringing this forward.
According to the North American Sauna Society, the transition from a hot sauna to cold temperatures causes your heart rate to increase. This move also constricts your blood vessels and sends a sudden rush of adrenaline and endorphins racing through you. The results? An amazing feeling! Your mind is put into sudden focus and your body activated to respond.
Exactly what happens when you combine a cold plunge with a sauna session is still being studied. Research done in 2021 at the University of Copenhagen showed the benefits of the combo might have something to do with your brown fat. Scientists think that alternating between chilled water and a hot sauna affects how your brown fat burns energy and produces heat, which can affect how you keep and lose weight.
In addition, many people find that the combination can:
- Improve blood flow
- Boost your the recovery of sore muscles
- Help rejuvenate your skin
What about boosting your immune system? Scientists have found that an elevated body temperature can help certain types of immune cells function better. In this way, a regular sit in the sauna could help to keep you from falling sick, especially during colder winter months. Your body enhances its generation and differentiation of a certain type of lymphocyte that can destroy virus-infected cells when you reach a mild fever-range hyperthermia. We’re not advocating that you ever get this hot in your own sauna as this can be dangerous. The research shows, however, how heat can be beneficial.
And what about speeding up your recovery? One researcher found that regular sauna sessions can reduce the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. Sauna use also induces heat shock proteins and the production of human growth hormone while releasing many other hormones. Because of this reaction to extreme heat, some experts believe that regular sauna use can help you recover faster. They say the practice can lower your anxiety, sharpen your focus, and allow you to endure tougher workouts. It’s clear that the list of sauna/cold water benefits can be long.
How Long Should You Stay in a Cold Plunge and a Sauna?
Engaging in a sauna and cold water routine doesn’t need to take a large part of your day. Do what feels comfortable for you. It’s advised that you spend no more than 2 to 5 minutes in a cold plunge, and another 12 to 15 minutes in a sauna, but this depends on the person. You don’t have to stay these maximum times to reap the benefits. In fact, if you are just starting your routine, a couple of minutes in the water followed by a short stint in the sauna can be perfect. You want to work up slowly to longer time periods. Never stay in your cold plunge or sauna longer than the recommended time frames as this can be dangerous to your health.
Is It Healthy to go From a Sauna to Cold Water?
You want to make sure you practice plunging and heat immersion safely. Talk with your doctor before starting any new wellness regime. If you suffer from high blood pressure or you're pregnant, for instance, these practices might not be safe for you. Other health conditions and ailments could also put you at risk. Being diabetic, for example, can affect your body’s tolerance for hot and cold temperatures so always talk with a medical professional before diving in.
After a hard day’s work or a difficult workout, a sauna then cold plunge can feel amazing. Going from a sauna to cold water can bring about many potential benefits as described above. At The Plunge, our Cold Plunge, Cold Plunge Pro, and Hot & Cold Plunge options provide you with a premium ice water bathing experience. Our automated cooling system allows you to easily immerse yourself in the healing of cold water as often as you like without racing to stock up on bags of ice. Ozone and UV sanitation along with a comprehensive 5 micron filter results in clean water every time you sit. Easy drainage and an insulated cover add ease of use.
You can quickly set up your Cold Plunge soon after it’s delivered right to your doorstep, in a few simple steps. Get started now by browsing our products page to learn more.