Cold water between sauna rounds is an integral part of the authentic sauna experience. Cold water plunge between sauna rounds is not some macho ploy. Cold water between sauna rounds:
- Flushes your exposed skin pores, cleaning your body naturally.
- Increases blood flow and helps your immune system.
- Reinvigorates your mind and body via endorphins and all kinds of great stuff that is hard to put into words.
Next time you see someone leave the sauna hot room, towel off their sweat, and start getting dressed to go home, call them out. You have my permission to call them a dumb shit. They are missing half of the goodness of sauna. What’s worse, they will keep sweating and their exposed pores will absorb crap like poly and poly by products from clothes and who knows what else.
BONUS: Just like with water being tossed on sauna rocks, the cold plunge may become your favorite part of your sauna experience. As Wim Hof says, “at one point the cold will feel just as comfortable as wearing your favorite pajamas.”
Whether it be a part of the Wim Hof Method, a thermogenesis club, or simply losing a bet at a bar, more people are getting into cold plunge therapy.
The clinical benefits of cold exposure include:
- Fights Inflammation.
- Strengthens the Nervous System.
- Speeds up metabolism.
- May Heal Injuries and Speed Recovery.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels.
- Suppresses an over active immune system (by relieving of symptoms caused by autoimmune diseases).
Great! Yet those of us well familiar with sauna have incorporated cold plunge therapy as part of our sauna practice for decades and generations because it feels so damn good to do both! The study results are surely a bonus.
Another way to calculate it: with cold plunge + sauna 1 + 1 = 3
Let’s review the cycles of a good sauna session:
- Hot room: Settling into the soft light and silence (or some ambient sauna music), we are brought right into the present moment.
- Cold plunge: A cold shower, jump into the lake or cold plunge, we are brought right into the present moment.
- The cool down: Relaxing outside in Nature or hanging out in the cool down room, we may enjoy some casual conversation and a cold beverage, endorphin rushing body equalizing, we are brought right into the present moment.
Consider how great it is to be able to live in the present moment. According to a 612 Sauna Society poll:
Stress relief & relaxation are the top two reasons why members of the 612 Sauna Society come to sauna. The primary way to relieve stress and to relax is to separate ourselves from any worry about our past or anxiety about our future. We separate from these thoughts and emotions when we are able to just “be” in the present moment.
- Hot room: When you are sitting in a hot sauna, we can’t help but be in the present moment.
- Cold plunge: When you’re sitting in an ice bath, we can’t help but be in the present moment.
- The cool down: When you’re feeling great between rounds. Body equalizing, enjoying nature, we can’t help but be in the present moment.
We in the sauna community are trying to digest the interesting report from Dr. Rogert Seheult, MD. Many of us have been taking saunas for decades, and few of us have suffered from major colds or flus. But this is anecdotal, and not clinical. Dr. Seheult, in this video below, takes us through well researched studies and analysis of how hot/cold therapy may boost immunity – and fight off the effects of Covid-19. You can skip to around the 2:00 mark to learn more about the immune system. The immune system is like our country’s Armed Forces. There are a lot of threats that can affect the human body. And the body fights back in multiple ways.
The virus is able to “down regulate” our immune system. When our innate immune response is a critical factor in disease outcome. Monocytes (part of the innate immune system) and “Natural Killer Cells.” – two terms we may need to learn more about. Suppressed innate immune response is what is making people sick. Thermal infected fever monocytes. A thermal effect of fever directly activates monocytes.
Immune changes of humans during cold exposure effects of prior heating and exercise. 1990
Dr. Seheult “heat can improve the immune system, then subjecting to cold can actually enhance the immune system, especially the innate immune system which .. that’s the portion that is affected with Covid-19. exposure to cold.” Statistical increase in white blood cell count. Thermal stress dampens analogous to a natural fever. Check out Dr. Seheult’s chart of current Nordic Countries Covid-19 reported effects:
And if this isn’t enough, he brings Japan into the mix, a country where thermic bathing is also very popular. Causation or correlation? Not sure, but it gets one thinkin’, especially as:
The Austrian study: in six month time, there were significantly fewer colds with the sauna group. Regular sauna bathing probably reduces the common cold.
As more and more folks are discovering the authentic sauna experience, more and more folks are understanding that sauna is not just about the hot room. Athletes, like football players, use cold plunge for relief, after beating the shit out of each other. Wim Hof applies cold plunge therapy as a key part of the Wim Hof Method.
With more and more people enjoying their own backyard sauna retreats, farm and garden stores are seeing an uptick in 100 gallon stock feed sales.
We buy this cold plunge stock tank once, and get to use it over and over. Once back home, we are able to carve out our cold plunge within our backyard sauna cool down zone.
To the right of the tree: outdoor shower. To the left of the tree: $72.99 cold plunge trough. Out of camera range: sauna guests smiling.