Sauna Health, Sauna Guide

The Sauna and Cold Plunge Routine For Compounding Benefits

Ready for a massive endorphin rush to boost your circulation, heart, lungs, skin, immune system, and metabolism?  Incredibly, the sauna and cold plunge can do all that and more. 

*Consult a doctor if you have any sort of heart condition before jumping in the ice bath.

START AND END COLD

Hot and cold therapy work together at a molecular level to improve vascular, mitochondrial, and mental health. Some benefits are only achieved when you end in the cold (Soeberg Principle), but it doesn’t have to be that cold!

Reaching a minimum threshold of exposure each week is more important than any particular routine. Here’s a weekly Sauna Cold Plunge Routine that works best in studies.

Sauna and Cold Plunge Routine

Routine: 2 or 3 rounds, ending in the cold.
Gear: Swim Parka (like this), Aqua Socks (here), Sauna Hat (here)
Exposure and Frequency
: Get in a total of 11 minutes of cold each week, and about 1 hour of heat each week spread out over 2 or 3 sessions.
Cold Temperature: Uncomfortable but safe. Anything colder than 19 C/66.2F can activate brown fat and insulin sensitivity. Doesn’t have to be ice water!
Hot Temperature: Saunas should be traditional (not infrared) sauna reaching temperatures of 85 C/185F

The Nordic Way Towards a Healthier and Happier Life

Winter Swimming

By Susanna Soberg

This book, by Dutch researcher Susanna Soberg is essentially the manual for starting a winter swimming routine from scratch. 

Full of practical advice, research, and motivation that we guarantee will make the practice more enjoyable and durable.  

This is the book that helped turn the heat-loving folks at SaunaMarketplace and SaunaShare into cold plunge addicts.  This book will change your life.  

How Cold Does The Plunge Need To Be?

A world of health benefits can be activated by cycling between hot (sauna) and cold exposure. For those who follow Wim Hof, getting the water as cold as possible without freezing is common.

But according to new research, mild cold is enough to activate the central nervous system. Extreme temperatures or duration is not required.

All that is required to activate brown fat is dropping skin temperatures, which is relative!

According to researcher Susanna Soberg, 19 C/66.2 F is enough to activate brown fat and create “the inner fire” we are looking for.

We’ve known separately about the befits of sauna and cold exposure but Danish researcher Susanna Soeberg (Søberg) is tying it all together, and finding that hot and cold exposure work together in ways not previously understood.

This is the modern bible of contrast therapy, an absolute must have for sauna and cold plunge people:

So if you feel cold, and you endure it for several minutes, you are likely receiving benefits of brown fat and heat shock proteins.

Susanna Soberg recommends finding what works best for you to get some cold in your life.

Training Your Cold (Fat) Muscles for Thermogenesis

Thermogenesis is your bodies ability to create heat.  Bodies always produce heat, usually from organs such as the heart, liver, and brain.

Normal fat, or white fat cells, can keep you warm by literally adding insulation.

Humans store a special kind of fat that the body can use to rapidly create heat on demand.  Brown fat, also called brown adipose is a type of body fat that is activated when cold.  Brown fat keeps babies, who cannot shiver, alive.  It was recently discovered that adults still store brown fat, and we may be able to increase it.

Learning to harness brown fat makes it easier to access whenever needed.  When activated, the body has an incredible warming sensation even in freezing water.

Brown fat location is highly personalized, but it’s often in your neck, abdomen, and down your spine.  Tiny amounts of brown fat can heat your entire body from within.  It’s what Wim Hof calls “the inner fire”, and harnessing it helped him beat world records in cold exposure.

Sauna Cold Plunge Routine

When you’re starting out, a typical routine will be 10-15 minutes in the sauna and 30 seconds to two minutes in the cold plunge.  Try to slow down your breathing in the ice.  You will feel your heart slow down, and get into a meditative state if you are able to control your breathing.

More advanced routines may incorporate exercise (bike riding or yoga) in the sauna and cold exposure up to 15 minutes.

Always end your session in the heat if you’re going to workout or train, and in the cold if you’re looking to recover.  Listen to your body and work with a qualified trainer.

Tip: SLEEP at 19 C/66.2F for 30 days to increase Brown fat and insulin sensitivity! This is VERY important to prevent diabetes and overall health!

Susanna Soberg

Even putting your hand or foot in cold water for 4 min (4 C) will initiate cold shock response and Brown fat activation.

So it doesn’t really matter if it’s winter swimming, ice baths, cryotherapy, cold shower, snow angels, or just turning the thermostat down when you’re sleeping. Cold therapy can work for any lifestyle, just find out what works best for you.

Most Popular Cold Plunge Saunas

Prism Tent Sauna – ON BACKORDER

$649.00

If you like to take sauna with you wherever you go and enjoy the view, this is the tent sauna for you.

New Primitive Outdoor Sauna

$17,100.00

Enjoy the restorative cleansing power of heat. Our hand crafted six-person dry sauna is the perfect combination of modern and ancient providing a personal wellness sanctuary in the comfort of your back yard.

Inspired by the benefits our natural world has to offer, we have carefully designed the ultimate sauna experience providing extreme temperatures up to 220F, to fully extenuate all the physical and mindful benefits of sauna!

The Science and Benefits of Contrast Therapy

Sauna and Cold Plunge Benefits

Thermal regulation, the ability to heat the body up and cool the body off, is among the most energy consuming processing the body is ever tasked with.  Sauna and cold plunge is the best way to make thermal regulation a part of your daily routine.

By alternating between cold and hot, your body will get much better at regulating temperature when under pressure from athletic exertion.

  • Cold is a hormone regulator
  • Cold boosts testosterone (but may reduce sperm count)
  • Cold makes immune system more powerful
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves Circulation
  • Improves thermal regulation
  • Improves athletic performance by preventing overheating

Cold exposure, or ice baths, are excellent for recovery, the vascular system, and the mind. The ability to withstand cold increases with practice and improves the bodies ability to regulate heat, circulation, and mental toughness.

Indeed, traditional Finnish saunas are outdoor structures (not connected to the home) that are near a lake or river when possible.  Some Finnish sauna bathers take a cold plunge between each round, even if there’s ice on the lake.

Next Level: The Papi Stick

If you’re doing the sauna cold plunge routine without a Papi Stick, you’re missing out. The Papi Stick from Sauna Papi makes it possible to become fully submerged in the cold, and encourages/forces better breathing. If you haven’t tried a Papi Stick, you can order one today on Sauna Marketplace.

The Sauna Papi, and his company Embrace North have been at the forefront of the Sauna -> Cold Plunge movement in Minnesota.

The Papi Stick

$17.99

The Papi Stick ensures you are activating your proper breathing muscles, allows you to increase your lung capacity, slow your heart rate down, induces calm for your mind and enhances you ability to become mindful of the present moment.  The Papi Stick serves as a functional breathing device, a meditation tool and can be applied to the sauna & cold tub to take your contrast therapy to new levels.  If you can control your breath, you can better control your life. 

What is cold exposure?

The thermal regulation system can actually be built up and improved by training it by exposure to extreme temperatures.  We know sauna is effective at one extreme, but if you want to really maximize the benefits you also need cold exposure. Cold exposure can be achieved by ice baths, laying in snow, jumping in nearly frozen water, or just being outside in freezing temperatures with minimal clothing.

How Cold Does The Plunge Need To Be?

A world of health benefits can be activated by cycling between hot (sauna) and cold exposure. For those who follow Wim Hof, getting the water as cold as possible without freezing is common.

But according to new research, mild cold is enough to activate the central nervous system. Extreme temperatures or duration is not required.

All that is required to activate brown fat is dropping skin temperatures, which is relative!

According to researcher Susanna Soberg, 19 C/66.2 F is enough to activate brown fat and create “the inner fire” we are looking for.

So if you feel cold, and you endure it for several minutes, you are likely receiving benefits of brown fat and heat shock proteins.

Susanna Soberg recommends finding what works best for you to get some cold in your life.

Training Your Cold (Fat) Muscles for Thermogenesis

Thermogenesis is your bodies ability to create heat.  Bodies always produce heat, usually from organs such as the heart, liver, and brain.

Normal fat, or white fat cells, can keep you warm by literally adding insulation.

Humans store a special kind of fat that the body can use to rapidly create heat on demand.  Brown fat, also called brown adipose is a type of body fat that is activated when cold.  Brown fat keeps babies, who cannot shiver, alive.  It was recently discovered that adults still store brown fat, and we may be able to increase it.

Learning to harness brown fat makes it easier to access whenever needed.  When activated, the body has an incredible warming sensation even in freezing water.

Brown fat location is highly personalized, but it’s often in your neck, abdomen, and down your spine.  Tiny amounts of brown fat can heat your entire body from within.  It’s what Wim Hof calls “the inner fire”, and harnessing it helped him beat world records in cold exposure.

Sauna Cold Plunge Routine

When you’re starting out, a typical routing will be 10-15 minutes in the sauna and 30 seconds to two minutes in the cold plunge.  Try to slow down your breathing in the ice.  You will feel your heart slow down, and get into a meditative state if you are able to control your breathing.

More advanced routines may incorporate exercise (bike riding or yoga) in the sauna and cold exposure up to 15 minutes.

Always end your session in the heat if you’re going to workout or train, and in the cold if you’re looking to recover.  Listen to your body and work with a qualified trainer.

Tip: SLEEP at 19 C/66.2F for 30 days to increase Brown fat and insulin sensitivity! This is VERY important to prevent diabetes and overall health!

Susanna Soberg

Even putting your hand or foot in cold water for 4 min (4 C) will initiate cold shock response and Brown fat activation.

So it doesn’t really matter if it’s winter swimming, ice baths, cryotherapy, cold shower, snow angels, or just turning the thermostat down when you’re sleeping. Cold therapy can work for any lifestyle, just find out what works best for you.

The thermal regulation system can actually be built up and improved by training it by exposure to extreme temperatures. 

We know sauna is effective at one extreme, but if you want to really maximize the benefits you also need cold exposure.

Cold exposure can be achieved by ice baths, laying in snow, jumping in nearly frozen water, or just being outside in freezing temperatures with minimal clothing.

When you’re starting out, a typical routine will be 10-15 minutes in the sauna and 30 seconds to two minutes in the cold plunge.  Try to slow down your breathing in the ice.  You will feel your heart slow down, and get into a meditative state if you are able to control your breathing.

Hot and cold therapy work together at a molecular level to improve vascular, mitochondrial, and mental health.

Get in a total of 10 minutes of cold each week, and about 1 hour of heat each week spread out over 2 or 3 sessions.

Uncomfortable but safe. Anything colder than 19 C/66.2F can activate brown fat and insulin sensitivity. Doesn’t have to be ice water!