The Benefits of Cold Therapy and Ice BathsDec 29, 2020
Today I am going to talk to you about one of my favorite longevity practices (bio hacks), Cold Therapy (cold thermogenesis). Listen below.
In simple terms, that means that cold allows you to produce energy more efficiently.
- Improves the Lymphatic and Immune Systems
- Improves Your Circulation
- Reduces Muscle Inflammation
- Creates a Sense of Wellbeing
- Facilitate Fat Loss
- Increase Mitochondrial Function
- Reset your Temperature Regulating System
Be conservative with water temperature as you get started. Most rehabilitation specialists recommend a water temperature between 54º to 60º F. Consider starting a bit higher and inch this downward a degree or two each exposure. Start with 1 minute (cold shower or cold bath) and work your way up to 3-5 minutes.
I also cover some common ice bath questions:
- Who should take ice baths? Is it just for athletes?
- Are cold showers as good as cold baths?
- What are the benefits?
- How do I make it easy to do on a regular basis?
- How am I sure I am getting an effective experience?
- Does it hurt?
- How Long is good?
- When (before or after a workout, in the morning? Etc.
- How do I get started? According to Tim Ferriss of the 4-hour body, start slow with ice showers.
- Can I take a hot shower or bath after my cold plunge?
Cold Therapy – Why You Should Be Doing it, and How to Incorporate it
Well, energy has to travel a shorter distance in your mitochondria. In simple terms, that means that cold allows you to produce energy more efficiently.
- Improves the Lymphatic and Immune Systems.
- Improves Your Circulation.
- Reduces Muscle Inflammation.
- Creates a Sense of Wellbeing.
- Facilitate Fat Loss.
- Increase Mental Toughness.
- Reset your Temperature Regulating System
8 Ice Bath Dos and Don’ts
DO: Seek to simplify. Building a personal ice bath daily can be a daunting task. Look for a gym that has a cold plunge, or if you live close to a river, lake, or ocean, keep tabs on the current water temperature.
DO: Be conservative with water temperature as you get started. Most rehabilitation specialists recommend a water temperature between 54 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider starting a bit higher and inch this downward a degree or two each exposure.
DO: Recognize that each individual will have his or her own cold threshold. Play within your personal comfort zone and consider investing in booties (toe warmers made of wetsuit material) as your toes are likely the most sensitive body part to be submerged.
DO: Be aware that moving water is colder water. Much like the wind chill created when you ride, if there are jets in your ice bath and the water that is warmed at the skin’s surface gets pushed away, the resulting impact of the water will be cooler than measured by the thermometer.
DON’T Overexpose! At the recommended temperature range noted previously, 6 to 8 minutes should be sufficient. Unless supervised or you have a history with ice baths, do not exceed 10 minutes.
DON’T Assume colder is better. Spending a prolonged period of time in water colder than 54 degrees could be dangerous.
DON’T Assume 54 to 60 degrees or bust. Cool water (say, 60 to 75 degrees) can still be beneficial—as an active recovery (very light exercise to facilitate blood flow to musculature).
DON’T Rush to take a warm shower immediately after the ice bath. The residual cooling effect and gradual warming are ideal. Consider initial warming options of a sweatshirt, blanket, and/or warm drink… But DO take the shower if you are unable to warm yourself.
The sauna or hot bath is also an invaluable tool. The sauna raises the body temperature and causes profuse sweating, which helps to rid the body of toxins and increases circulation. Increasing the temperature also creates an environment hostile to Candida, which slows growth. As we know, candida and other toxins directly affect the brain, so doing regular hot therapy helps the body naturally detox daily for better brain function. Hot therapy also reduces inflammation which could be contributing to brain fog.
The neurotransmitter called norepinephrine, which helps you focus and store strong memories during emotional stress, is positively affected by hot therapy. Once researchers discovered that regular saunas had such a positive impact on cardiovascular health, they decided to look into the benefits for cognitive health as well. Deeming those results “promising,” study investigators explained that they believe that regular use of saunas could be “a protective factor for common memory diseases.”
How to: aim for at least 15 minutes in an infrared sauna a few times a week or 20 minutes in a hot bath to get these effects.
Important: Check with your doctor first if you’re pregnant, have a chronic health problem, or have a heart condition that’s causing symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, or an inability to exercise. If you’re taking medication that can lead to overheating, be sure to consult your doctor. If you feel lightheaded or nauseated during the sauna, it’s time to leave and cool down. Avoid alcohol before and after the sauna—and be sure to stay well hydrated!