Guest post series continues. Please welcome back Kev, a Chicago area resident and lämpömassa enthusiast. We first met Kev during a mutual tour of Chicago Sweatlodge. Link here. Then, Kev chimed in about his Morzh tent sauna here. Today we learn about Kev’s appreciation of the slow chill. Enter Kev:
One of my absolute favorite things to do in the world is cold plunge after a hot sauna. I love the plunge, the adrenaline rush, and the endorphins created from this. My photo albums are full of pictures and videos of some of my cold plunge experiences.
During the past year and thanks to Covid-19 I have my own personal Morzh tent sauna. I can take it anywhere where there is cold water and set up in 15-20 minutes. I can also set it up in my backyard in the same amount of time. This year I set it up regularly in my backyard. In spring, summer, and fall I have a 100 gallon stock tank with ice cold well water for my cold plunge. Now that I have a frost free outdoor faucet (thanks to sauna times gift list) I could still fill my tank in the winter, however I have made the choice not to do this. Why???
Cold winter sauna sessions in the backyard
Covid-19 has forced a lot of changes in behavior, some good, some bad. One of the good things for most people is it has forced us to slow down and appreciate little things. For me, this includes slowing down my sauna routine. Instead of a cold plunge and a short cool down I have been able to really extend my cool down period after a sauna. My slow routine is most appreciated as the temperatures hover at or below 0-F degrees. It starts with the exit from sauna usually in just a swimsuit or shorts with steam coming off my body. Then, I visualize the massive steam leaving my body as negative energy leaving my body.
My wife’s 90+ year old Aunty Dorothy is from Northern Minnesota. She referred to this as sweating the meanness out! Now that the meanness is out, it is time to relax.
How I slow chill
The first 5 minutes is just drinking some water maybe a short roll in the snow and cooling off. After a short cool down in shorts and maybe a t-shirt it is now time for the slow chill. I relax in my zero gravity reclining chair (Cabala’s is my favorite). Also, I like a thin foam sleeping mat between me and the chair. This does two things it keeps the chair dry and it retains an amazing amount of my body heat. As I start to cool more, I can add a layer of clothing (Hoody sweatshirt, fleece pullover, or just a fleece blanket).
I end up in a very relaxed state almost able to fall asleep.
Depending on outside temps this can last from 10-15 minutes in cold below zero temps to 30-45 minutes in warmer temps. This is also my favorite time to replenish liquids and carbohydrates with a nice beer! I am not a drinker but I really enjoy a nice lager after a good sauna round.
As the slow chill extends and I start to feel the cold seeping back into my core it is time to go back in the sauna for another round.
My favorite things about the Slow Chill
- Nature’s Cryotherapy: That initial phase when you are standing outside in below zero temperatures in just shorts and loving every minute!
- The feel: By paying closer attention to how your body reacts to the heat and cold, the longer you can hang out in nature.
- The relaxation/meditation The slow chill allows for a meditative state.
Give the slow chill a try, you may like it!
I have appreciation for the slow chill.
6 thoughts on “Appreciation of the slow chill”
For added fun when its especially cold out take a walk down the street with just a towel or bathing suit and wave at your neighbors!
On another note, zero gravity chair for the win! I like the foam mat idea too, will have to look for one myself.
Thanks Steve! I am a huge fan of the Zero Gravity Chairs. You have heard of the phrase for interior design (bringing the outside to your living room) The zero gravity for me is bringing your living room outside. You can easily fall asleep in this comfortable recliner. 18 months ago I had hip replacement surgery. The first several days instead of laying in a bed I used the zero gravity to keep my legs elevated, this drastically reduced inflammation and improved my recovery! Here is link to the foam sleeping pad. https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p/therm-a-rest-ridgerest-classic-sleeping-pad-15tarurdgrstclssccsl/15tarurdgrstclssccsl?sku=13244434&camp=CSE:DS
I hear you on the cold walk between sauna rounds. Here in Minnesota, i’d say 88% of the time that we have snow, i’ll time it with a sauna session. I find sauna and snow falling a magical (extra magical) experience between rounds. (hashtag: snow is Nature’s luffa).
Anyhow, I love shoveling snow between sauna rounds. I feel one with nature to celebrate the endorphin rush after snow angels by grabbing the shovel and giving the sidewalk or driveway a fresh clean off. I am able to time my shoveling sessions to match my cool downs.
And another thing, I am reminded of Scott Carney’s The Wedge, whereby the space between the stimulus of cold snow falling on our almost bare bodies and response of “I need to get back into the hot room” is filled with productive, constructive shoveling action.
So, sometimes between rounds we may want to just chill out in zero gravity, and other times we may look to get a little productive cardio.
If the neighbors think we’re crazy, well, that’s their deal, as you know/agree.
The cool down is key for sure. I rock a garden hose / drain setup if it’s 25 or above. Otherwise I’m fighting the frost on the faucet, hose, or sprayer. Ice around the drain is a real concern also.
Plan B involves snow angels and kick ass Lahtiset felted wool slippers from Lahti, Finland. Similar to a sauna hat, they allow thorough, even and extended rounds, except opposite 🙂 Not 15 minutes of cold though, that’s pretty epic.
Neighbors are just jealous.
This past winter my wife and I sat in the backyard enjoying the snowy scene for our cool down but am seriously considering a cold plunge tub. I’ve looked into DIY tub types but am wondering if you knew of any factory built tubs on the market that can withstand outdoor Iowa Winters. Obviously if a tub can endure an upper Minnesota winter it can endure an Iowa winter. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Far and away, this is my favorite cold plunge tub. It’s designed more to feed cows, but a grown person fits in there just fine, and it’s designed with concave sides so if the water freezes, it expands upwards, not sidewards, so the walls won’t crack.
I’ve knocked out inches thick ice, and the plunge tub keeps on tickin’.