Hot & Cold Contrast Therapy: A Dynamic Duo
In the last few years, a powerful combination therapy has emerged into the spotlight and is gaining lots of attention – and for good reason! “Fire and Ice”, or Contrast Therapy, options have become much more accessible and easily purchased for in-home use causing massive popularity. Many are blowing up their socials with shares on how it’s positively changing and impacting their life. Some of these practices may be new to you, but they have a long history of supporting overall health and wellness – dating back to ancient times. We’re taking a deeper dive into these practices and exploring how to utilize and maximize a Clearlight Infrared Sauna (hot therapy) with a variety of cold therapy options.
What happens to your body during an infrared sauna session that makes it so impactful? The infrared wavelengths penetrate deep into muscle tissue raising your body’s core temperature. This triggers your heart rate and blood pressure increase, mimicking how the body responds during exercise. Additionally, since the recommended temperature range (100ºF to 130ºF) in an infrared sauna is much lower than a traditional sauna (170ºF to 220ºF) it’s not only easier to breathe, but it also keeps your body in a parasympathetic state – allowing you to fully rest and relax, enjoying the power and many benefits while you safely soak in the healing heat.
When you’re exposed to cold therapy epinephrine and norepinephrine are released into the body and brain. This stimulates your body to feel energized and increases your focus…even after your session is complete. The recommended temperature for cold therapy is a personal matter – Andrew Huberman suggests emerging yourself in water that is just cold enough to evoke that feeling of “This is really cold (!), and I want to get out, BUT I can safely stay in.”
There are a variety of ways you can enjoy cold therapy and reap its benefits: ice baths, cold plunge (tub or lake), laying/standing in snow, cryotherapy or taking a cold shower.
Fire & Ice Protocol
Are you ready to give this powerful duo a try? Here’s what we suggest you consider:
- What time of the day for contrast therapy: cold exposure increases your internal body temperature which can increase energy, so it’s suggested you implement this powerful duo earlier in the morning or afternoon.
- Start with a session in a Clearlight Sauna: Spend 25 to 35 minutes in the sauna at anywhere from 120ºF to 130ºF (or hotter if you prefer). Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your session.
- Finish with your choice of cold therapy: a short 1 to 3 minutes – depending upon the type of cold therapy you choose and the temperature. If the water is around 40ºF and you are submerged up to your neck, just 20 seconds appears to provide an increase of epinephrine.
- Repeat: Use the infrared sauna 3 to 4 times a week followed by cold therapy, it’s recommended to do a total of 11 minutes of cold therapy a week. Please note that although hot and cold therapies provide many benefits, they may not be supportive to everyone. We encourage you to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
HOT TIP: If you’re doing rounds of contrast therapy, be sure to dry off after your cold exposure before going back in your sauna. This will help keep your sauna fresh for decades to come.