Contrast Therapy: The Hot & Cold of It

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Take your sauna session up a notch by turning down the temperature of your post-session rinse off. When you go from intense infrared heat to chilly water, you maximize the infrared experience for the best results and get an extra good-mood boost. Combining hot and cold extremes, known as contrast therapy, is a centuries-old practice favored around the world for its many perks — a cold shock improves immunity and circulation, reduces stress, relieves muscle soreness, reduces inflammation and more.

First, the heat. Infrared heat is soothing and stimulating. As it raises your core body temperature and increases blood flow, it creates a deep, sustainable sweat that pushes out toxins and also delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. While your body's soaking and sweating, your brain gets a rush of feel-good neurotransmitters (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins). When you get DOSEd, you #GetHighNaturally — a heightened state of mind that’s further elevated by incorporating contrast therapy. Here's how.

After your DOSE, jump into a cold shower. Start with mildly-chilled water to rinse off. Heavy sweating releases salt, sebum and toxins, so wash your skin straight away. Then take it down to an icy temp. When you're in the sauna, blood rises to your body's surface and opens your pores. Cold water brings the blood back to vital organs, contracts pores to regular sizes and reinforces your body's natural defense system.

Essentially, the hot-cold contrast strengthens your immune system by training it to endure more exertion and recover faster.

Increase Performance. Just like cryotherapy, the effects of contrast therapy are great for recovery and physical endurance. The process reduces lactic acid buildup in muscles, soothes pain, alleviates inflammation and spurs HGH — human growth hormone can turn back your body’s internal clock, helping you rapidly build muscle and slash fat, all while sending energy levels through the roof.

Freeze Away Calories. Studies suggest that cold showers help improve your body's supply of healthy brown fat (in the upper neck, shoulders and chest) and burn off harmful lipids, which are the calorie-heavy fats attached to areas like the waistline.

Alertness & Productivity. Immersing in chilled water will trigger a fresh jolt of adrenaline and rev up dopamine levels in your brain (coming off the high of infrared, making you feel even more elated). Depressive and stressed moods decrease, while the uplifting sensation awakens the entire body, sparking an increase in productivity and efficiency.

#GetHighNaturally Tip. Between infrared sauna sessions... Go for a less intense, daily hit of contrast therapy by simply adjusting your morning shower temperatures. Enter in warm water, then turn the nozzle for an icy finish. Forget coffee! This is how you wake up and start the day — refreshed, energized, pleasantly buzzed and full of confidence. Cold showers are hard! But when you tackle something challenging first thing, you feel more emboldened throughout the day.

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