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Hot + Cold Immersion Benefits - By Jason Fly

On 30th July we are running our first ever Hot/Cold Immersion Day Retreat, keen to learn more? Read below and head over to:

Cold Therapy:

Cold water immersions activate the body's natural healing abilities to relieve illness & promote better health and overall well-being. Cold therapy traditionally has been known to heal the body from a physical standpoint but in recent years research has proven cold immersions play a huge role in psychological, neurological and immune function.

InfraRed Therapy:

The air is cooler than a traditional sauna, the photons of light (from infrared panels) penetrate more deeply into your tissue. Creating a deeper, longer effect. There have been studies done in Finland where a weekly infrared sauna routine can increase one’s life span of 4-5 years, also dropping significant signs of dementia and alzheimers.

Personally, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in how my body responds to stress, due to regular Cold + Hot immersions. Combining the two has helped me to actively relax and manage stressful situations more often & positively influencing how I perceive stress in general.

Ice Bath vs. Infrared Sauna

Both cold immersions and infrared saunas offer similar benefits, though they achieve those benefits in different (and sometimes opposite) ways. For example, infrared saunas increase blood flow by dilating your blood vessels. Conversely, a cold bath or shower causes your blood vessels to **initially constrict, then increasing blood flow to your vital organs.

What happens to your body:

Cold exposure: Your body amps up the release of special proteins (cold shock proteins). Based on early research on rodents and a ton of scientific evidence from Wim Hof (a master of cold exposure), cold shock proteins can slow down the progression of Alzheimer's and activate your immune system.

Heat exposure: Causes a spike in heat shock proteins that can reduce inflammation of the brain. Additionally, heat also triggers the release of white blood cells to support your immune system to fight off pathogens.

Combined Health Benefits:

1. Helps You Adapt and Become Stronger (Hormesis)

Hormesis is the body’s ability to adapt to a stressor and become stronger as a result. Exposing your body to unusual or extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) stresses the body, causing adaptation and a chemical response that makes the body more resilient.

Getting out of your comfort zone (on a regular basis) can have a dramatic effect on all areas of your life. We only truly grow and learn as human beings on the edge of what you are comfortable with. We’re literally built physiologically for struggle and discomfort, thus why so many of us find joy and peace looking back at the uphill journey it took to reach the top of a mountain.

2. Increases Blood Flow

The energy carried by infrared radiation causes your tissue to heat up. As a result, your nervous system responds by dilating the affected blood vessels in an attempt to cool the body down. That increases blood flow to the skin and muscle tissue, which helps reduce pain and transports oxygen and nutrients to the affected cells.

Cold immersions increase blood flow to warm your core and protect vital organs. At the same time, it constricts circulation near your skin. This process stimulates faster, healthier blood flow. Combining both (ideally back to back) amplifies the individual effects while providing an excellent workout for your blood vessels (thanks to the rapid constriction and dilation).

3. Improves Immune Function

The use of an Infrared Sauna strengthens your immune system by increasing white blood cell production, triggering the immune system, releasing impurities, improving blood circulation, regenerating cells, and promoting relaxation.

Cold immersions improve the Lymphatic and Immune System. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that run throughout the body, helping take away waste, bacteria, and microbes from your cells, cleansing your body.

Combining both cold immersions and infrared sauna supports your immune system from different angles, thus making you more resistant to viral infections.

4. Facilitate Weight Loss

When practiced routinely, cold water immersion has been shown to boost the metabolism

increasing the whole body's metabolic rate by about 16%. Combining cold immersions with infrared saunas helps your ability to burn fat and lose weight. Infrared radiation increases your heart rate and metabolic rate the same way a mild to moderate cardio workout would, allowing you to burn extra calories. As a result, the combination of both treatments can facilitate your weight loss efforts.

5. Helps You Reduce Stress One of the reasons why infrared saunas are so relaxing is because it causes a significant release of endorphins, including beta-endorphin, a substance that improves your mood, energy, sense of calm and pain tolerance.

Cold therapy is usually anything but relaxing because it regulates your sympathetic nervous system, triggering a fight or flight response. Cold therapy teaches you to slow down your breathing, down-regulating your sympathetic nervous system.

6. Boosts Your Energy/Mood

Mood and energy levels are both influenced by some of the same hormones, including beta-endorphin and norepinephrine. That’s why you'll likely experience a boost in mood when you cold immerse or infrared sauna. Similar to improving your energy levels, combining different types of treatment can have compounding effects. On days that you feel stressed or overwhelmed with life, combining these two wonderful tools will ease your stress and relax the body.

7. Improves Sleep

Infrared radiation causes the blood vessels in your skin and outer tissue to dilate. In turn, that helps your body reduce its core temperature once you get out of the sauna.

A reduction of core temperature is one of the necessities for a good night's sleep.

Studies have shown that prolonged cold exposure lowers the body's core temperature, which can help you fall asleep quicker.

Take home:

The reason why the benefits of both Hot + Cold therapy forms are synergistic (instead of canceling each other out) is because we have evolved to adapt and become more resilient when exposed to extreme conditions. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors might have gone for days without food. They went from no food at all to an abundance (if they managed to hunt & eat effectively).

The same principle applies to extreme temperatures, they also didn’t have modern heating to keep them warm, or ice (in the thick of summer) to keep them cool.

Conditioning your brain and your body to accept, endure and embrace cold immersions and intense infrared heat may be challenging, but the health benefits are well worth it. Combining cold immersions with infrared saunas allows the body to adapt to both sides of the temperature spectrum, making it more resilient and robust overall.

Embracing the skill of “breath” while being exposed to cold temperatures & hot

Immersions will help you master the art of handling stressful situations that life will inevitably bring.

Keen to learn more? Please reach out to me at or check our my Hot/Cold Immersion here

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