Sauna Health, Sauna Guide

The Sauna and Cold Plunge Routine For Compounding Benefits

Sauna Cold Plunge Routine

There’s a Sauna Cold Plunge Routine that Andrew Hubeman, Dr. Susanna Soberg, Peter Attia, and Joe Rogan could all agree on.

Experiencing the power of sauna and cold plunge therapy can bring many health benefits. This routine, which couples authentic sauna with an invigorating cold, effectively boost your endorphin levels, thus enhancing circulation, lung capacity, skin health, immune response, and metabolic rate.

Beyond these physical improvements, the sauna and cold plunge method provides notable recovery aid following strenuous workouts, can lower blood pressure, aids in reducing body-wide inflammation, and promotes profound relaxation.

The aftermath? An elevated mood, a sharpened alertness, and a revitalized sense of well-being. The comprehensive health and wellness effects of this hot-cold therapy make sauna and cold plunge can be addicting. While you may never like getting in the cold water, the elevated mood and euphoric feeling can last for hours.

*Consult a doctor before started a new sauna cold plunge routine.


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

Reaching a minimum exposure threshold 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.
Exposure and Frequency
: Get in 11 minutes of cold each week and an 1 hour or more of heat spread over 2 or 3 sessions.
Cold Temperature: Uncomfortable but safe. For beginners, any cold plunge colder than 19 C/66.2F can activate brown fat and insulin sensitivity. It doesn’t have to be ice water!
Hot Temperature: Saunas should be traditional (not infrared) saunas reaching temperatures of 85 C/185F and relatively low humidity in the 10-20% range.  

The Winning Combination (SAUNA AND CHILL)...

Step #2 Get Hot

Finnish studies show saunas in the 185 Fahrenheit and beyond have the greatest impact. That means no infrared. Sauna Tents and Barrel Saunas are affordable options.
Step #3 Get COLD Again
Step #4 Get HOT Again
Step #5 Get COLD Again

It Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

Getting started in the cold can be free.  Start in the shower or a cold body of water. 

Ice baths can be bought for under $200 on Amazon and sauna tents provide the full benefit of sauna for under $1000. 

A Dissapointing Plunge?

The maker of The Cold Plunge has a funny new sauna design. We have concerns the design won't deliver a good sauna experience.


Understand Your Triggers

Our body's responses to the sauna and cold plunge experience hinge on our skin's specialized warmth and cold receptors. Their primary task? Detecting changes in temperature rather than the absolute temperature within the 75.2°F to 95°F range. These temperature detectives alert us to extremes, triggering a protective mechanism against potential harm such as frostbite or burns.

Your Optimal Cold Plunge Temperature: Unleashing a World of Health Benefits

The heat and cold sauna and cold plunge work in harmony, each playing its part in enhancing your health. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to plunge into freezing water to reap the rewards. Mild cold, even around 66.2°F, can activate the central nervous system and spark off brown fat activation - your body's "inner fire" as explained by researcher Susanna Soberg.

Power Up with Cold Exposure: Brown Fat & Thermogenesis

Unlike normal white fat cells insulating us from cold, brown fat cells generate heat, particularly during cold exposure. This "brown adipose" is an integral part of our survival instinct and can be increased and harnessed to provide warmth on demand.

Embarking on the Sauna Cold Plunge Routine

For beginners, a common routine consists of 10-15 minutes in the sauna followed by a 30-second to 2-minute plunge in cold water or an ice bath. Over time, and with more experience, the routine can be modified to include exercise and extended periods of cold exposure.

Note: the sequence matters! If you aim to exercise or train, conclude your session with a sauna. Conversely, if you focus on recovery, or brown fat activation then end in the cold plunge. The key is to listen to your body and work with a qualified trainer for optimal results.

Products to Enhance Your Wellness Journey

Since most humans live near a cold body of water at least seasonally, consider a portable tent sauna or mobile sauna to bring the sauna to the cold. Bringing nature into the mix makes it more fun and brings additional health benefits.

Keeping your feet warm with sturdy scuba or neoprene boots will help you handle the cold better and easily navigate slippery rocks.

We recommend these for cold plunging in the wild.

Knowledge is Power: The Soberg Principle & Recommended Readings

To fully comprehend and master the sauna and cold plunge routine, we recommend delving into Susanna Soberg's work, specifically her book, "The Nordic Way Towards a Healthier and Happier Life: Winter Swimming." This handy manual provides insightful and practical advice for those eager to optimize their health through cold exposure.

Remember the Soberg Principle: Minimize hot showers and sauna sessions after the last cold exposure to stimulate metabolism and brown fat activation. Your body re-warming on its own is a major component of this principle.

Cold therapy can be integrated into any lifestyle, whether it's through winter swimming, ice baths, or simply turning the thermostat down. The secret is finding the routine that works best for you.

Benefits of Sauna and Cold Plunge: The Rewards Await

This powerful combination aids in improving your body's thermal regulation, enhancing your immune system, reducing inflammation, and bolstering athletic performance. Additionally, cold exposure is excellent for recovery, the vascular system, and building mental toughness.

So, as you venture on your wellness journey, remember: it's about embracing the elements, respecting your body's boundaries, and finding joy in the experience. Enjoy the sauna, brave the cold, and welcome the rewards.

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.  

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.

The cold plunge should be at an uncomfortable but safe temperature, colder than 19 C/66.2F for beginners. The sauna should reach a temperature of 85 C/185F with relatively low humidity in the 10-20% range.

The sauna and cold plunge routine enhances circulation, heart, lung, skin, and immune system health, and also boosts metabolism.

The body’s skin has specialized warmth and cold receptors, which detect changes in temperature and trigger protective mechanisms. The cold plunge activates the central nervous system and sparks off brown fat activation, while the sauna experience enhances health differently.

Ready to get started?  Check out the best cold plunges and barrel saunas.