Sauna + Contrast Therapy Benefits

Woman enjoying the benefits of relaxing sauna at Ritual Nordic Spa

A Healthy Way to Manage Stress

Life can be stressful, and finding healthy ways to better manage stress can be game changing. Many people have been discovering hot and cold contrast therapy, a practice where you challenge your body (and mind) to do something that it doesn’t normally do. It’s not easy to go willingly into a cold body of water right after being in a really hot space. But by doing so, you become more resilient to stress in your world, by showing yourself that you can handle this simple act of stress itself.

Discover the Benefits of Hot Cold Therapy

There are some great studies on this, particularly by Dr. Rhonda Patrick who looks at the benefits of sauna and cold immersion.

Enjoy the benefits of hot and cold therapy - group of people sitting in sauna while a man takes a cold therapeutic shower

Practicing hot cold therapy – moving your body between hot elements (such as sauna) and cold elements (such a cold water) – can offer many positive effects on the health of both mind and body.  

Physical Benefits of Contrast Therapy
– Increased circulation
– Strengthened immune system
– Improvement for endurance exercise
– Elevated heart rate and related cardio benefits
– Reduced inflammation
– Better sleep

Mental/Hormonal Benefits
Looking for a quick mood boost? Contrast therapy can trigger a release of positive hormones. Regular practice can offer longterm benefits affecting mood and mental energy. Alternating between hot and cold exposure stimulates hormone behavior such as:
– The storage and release of norepinephrine, improving attention and focus.
– Increase in prolactin, which helps your brain function faster by enhancing myelination and repair of damaged neurons.
– Encourages growth of new brain cells, improving the ability to retain new info, and lessening certain types of depression and anxiety.
– An increase in dynorphin, which results in your body becoming more sensitive to the benefits of the release of endorphins.

Social Benefits
We have long known that humans benefit and thrive from social connection. However busy lifestyles in the urban world frequently resort to digital tools that connect us in some ways but disconnect us in others. There is a need to be with and physically gather with other people. The social, communal element of a saunahouse offers this opportunity for connection, often with others who you might otherwise not cross paths with.

Still Curious About Sauna Plus Cold Plunge? Read on…

“One of the most common reactions to taking a sauna is that it simply seems to make people feel better. As it turns out, there are some measurable scientific reasons behind that.

Two men relaxing in a hot sauna, a technique for encouraging healthy dopamine release at Ritual Nordic SpaSauna exposure causes a significant release of Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, and Beta-Endorphin, a neuropeptide hormone. These substances cause a sense of euphoria, as well as improved mood, energy, sense of calm, and pain tolerance. The level of endorphins released during sauna bathing can be three times normal, similar to a middle distance training run. This “runners’ high” that occurs can be somewhat addictive and may affect regular sauna users in the same way it affects regular exercisers.

Sleep is also improved after a sauna, with some research showing longer stage 4 sleep, which provides a deeper, more restful sleep and healthier dream activity. Sleep affects so many other aspects of health, including mood, immune function, and ability to handle stress, that this alone would seem to suggest a significant health benefit from regular sauna use.

The psychosocial aspects of group activity such as sauna bathing may also be an important part of the health benefits of sauna. Social connection, sharing with friends and feeling a part of a community, as well as the personal nature of conversation that is fostered in the sauna, all play parts in the cultural validity of group sweating that has existed in so many cultures over time.”

SOURCE: The North American Sauna Society

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