Heat and Cold Exposure are two physiological stresses that are intrinsically linked.
But, does the current body of scientific evidence show that they should be done in unison (called: contrast therapy), or are gains realised from both as standalone bouts of stress?
Contrast Therapy vs. Standalone Heat/Cold Exposures
The threshold you're looking to hit weekly for either heat or cold is:
at least 11 minutes of uncomfortable but safe cold exposure
57 minutes of sauna (ranging from 86C-100C)
Outcomes: brown fat thermogenesis, increases in resilience, positive dopamine effects, increase human growth hormone and metabolism.
Seeing the benefits from these can happen together as well as in isolation.
Why End On Cold During Contrast Therapy
- "Post cold exposure your body is going to heat up; think of your body heating up as waking up." - Dr. Andrew Huberman
- This mirroring of rising naturally boost energy and alertness.
- Initiates metabolic benefits associated with the Søberg Principle: increased thermogenic processes through naturally re-warming the body
- Reduces muscle inflammation if done post exercise (within first 24 hours post workout)
Keeping it simple
Too many people are overthink these two protocols.
The overwhelming logic is to do what works best for your routine and, over time, the feedback your own body will tell you what works best.
The main takeaway is aiming for these 11/57 minimums week-in-week-out.
Watch The Full Video
This is a very high level summary. Watch the full 10 minute recap video below
- 3 Podcast Episodes on Cold Exposure
- The Truth About Infrared Saunas
- Start Your Ice Bath Routine At Home Today
- Building A Sauna Routine
- 8 Health Benefits From Sauna Use
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About the Author: Will Stewart is a Cofounder of Cedar Spring Recreation. He has an immense understanding and appreciation for the scientific health and wellness outcomes associated with heat and cold exposure and is a regular sauna and ice bath do-er!
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Disclaimer: Neither the material shared in this article, not any links to external resources are to be considered medical advice. Always check with medical professionals prior to engaging in new activities that carry potential health risks.