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Sauna And Cold Plunge Therapy: A Complete Guide

by Milen Kovachev 02 Mar 2024

Step into a transformative well-being journey with sauna and cold plunge therapy, a practice deeply rooted in ancient wellness traditions. Often referred to as the Nordic Cycle, this compelling blend of heat and chill has been rejuvenating both body and spirit for generations. Let's explore the mechanics and advantages of this ritual.

Cold Plunge Benefits After a Sauna Session 

Advancements in science and medicine have increased knowledge of how temperature affects the body and how sauna and cold therapy can promote health benefits.

One common question about the hot sauna and cold technique is whether it matters which order you use the sauna and ice baths in. It is recommended to use the ice bath after the sauna for optimal results.

One effective method for increasing and decreasing our bodies' tempo is to first have a sauna session followed by an ice bath. Cold Exposure in an ice bath can help keep you warm by activating brown adipose tissue.

Ice baths can assist in reducing inflammation by increasing blood flow and reducing pain.

The cold plunge method involves spending 15 minutes in a sauna at 125°F followed by 30 seconds in an ice bath. 

Cold temperatures have the ability to temporarily numb pain receptors, providing a sense of relief and decreasing the perception of pain.

Sauna bathing results in the release of endorphins, including beta-endorphin, which can positively impact mood, energy levels, sense of calm, and pain tolerance. It is important to be aware of temperature extremes to ensure your comfort and safety.

Unveiling the Benefits of Saunas and Cold Plunging

Picture a scenario where you elevate vitality, enhance circulation, and dissipate stress in one session. This might seem like an unattainable dream, but it's the reality of sauna and cold plunge therapy. Here are the key benefits you can anticipate:

Energizes Your Being

Are you feeling tired and listless? The abrupt transition from the sauna's warmth to the cold plunge's chill shocks your system, igniting a burst of adrenaline and endorphins. This powerful surge revives your energy, equipping you to face new challenges zealously.

Amplifies Circulation

The sauna's heat causes blood vessels to expand, while the cold plunge makes them contract. This dynamic action fosters improved circulation, which may benefit your heart's wellness.

Strengthens Immune Function

Saunas could amplify your immune response by boosting the production of specific immune cells. This effect is particularly beneficial during the colder seasons, enhancing resilience against common illnesses.

Accelerates Muscle Recovery

A haven for athletes, the cold plunge aids in diminishing muscle inflammation and soreness through vascular constriction and reduced metabolic activity. Conversely, saunas help unwind muscles and alleviate tension, creating a perfect synergy for muscle recovery.

Activates Brown Fat for Weight Management

Emerging studies suggest temperature fluctuations during sauna and cold plunge therapy might activate brown adipose tissue. This type of fat expends calories to generate heat, potentially aiding in weight regulation.

Augments Skin Health

This heat and cold therapy does wonders for your skin. Saunas encourage perspiration, aiding in skin purification. At the same time, cold plunges constrict pores and enhance skin texture, culminating in a vibrant and healthy skin appearance.

Diminishes Stress

Both saunas and cold plunges are renowned for their stress reduction effects. Saunas boost relaxation through endorphin release, while the jolt of cold water has a soothing effect on the mind and body.


  • Is it good to go from sauna to ice bath?

  • Starting with a sauna session followed by an ice bath is recommended. Sauna heat increases blood flow and relaxes muscles, while cold plunges slow the heart rate and contract blood vessels. This sequence optimizes the benefits of both therapies for enhanced recovery and well-being.
  • What is a sauna and ice bath called?

  • Combining an Infrared Sauna with an Ice Bath is known as Contrast Therapy or 'Fire & Ice' therapy. This holistic approach provides numerous benefits for the body and mind. The cold from the ice bath triggers the release of noradrenaline and dopamine, leaving us with a natural feel-good 'high' and an improved mood.
  • Does sauna bath help with cold?

  • Sauna sessions and cold plunges may offer temporary relief for mild cold symptoms but are not proven cures. However, frequent sauna use might reduce the frequency of common colds over time. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional for severe colds and adhere to recommended treatments.
  • Should you cryo before or after sauna?

  • The recommended sequence is to start with an infrared sauna session followed by cryotherapy. Infrared heat from the sauna induces vasodilation and detoxification, while cryotherapy then vasoconstricts tissue and blood vessels, reducing inflammation and pain for enhanced recovery.
  • Which is better ice bath or sauna?

  • Both saunas and ice baths offer unique benefits for recovery and overall health. Saunas improve cardiovascular health, while ice baths reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. Combining them as contrast therapy can have a powerful impact on the body's circulation and recovery.
  • What is the best ice bath routine for a sauna?

  • Aim for a sauna session of 12-15 minutes followed by 2-3 cycles of 5 minutes in the cold plunge tub. Alternating between the sauna and cold plunge maximizes the benefits of both therapies, promoting circulation, reducing inflammation, and aiding in muscle recovery.
  • Can I do sauna and cryo same day?

  • Yes, it's possible to combine cryotherapy and sauna on the same day. Many spas offer both treatments in one session. However, some individuals may find it challenging to manage both forms of therapy simultaneously.
  • Is sauna or ice better after workout?

  • Sauna sessions after a workout enhance blood flow, stimulate muscle repair, and promote growth hormone production. On the other hand, ice baths are helpful for reducing muscle pain, inflammation, and speeding up the healing process.
  • What burns more fat sauna or ice bath?

  • Saunas and room temperature burn more calories than cold water immersion. Cold actually slows down metabolism, making sauna sessions more effective for calorie burning.
  • How do you combine a sauna and ice bath?

  • Begin with 10-15 minutes in the sauna followed by 30 seconds to two minutes in the ice bath. Focus on slowing down your breathing in the ice to achieve a meditative state and maximize the therapeutic benefits.
  • How long should you stay in the sauna and ice bath?

  • The duration and temperature of each therapy vary based on individual goals. Typically, aim for 2-3 times a week for 1-5 minutes in the cold plunge tub and 15-30 minutes in the sauna, adjusting based on comfort and tolerance levels.
  • Is ice bath good after sauna?

  • Yes, combining sauna and ice baths accelerates muscle recovery, reduces soreness, and minimizes downtime between workouts or intense physical activities.
  • What goes first sauna or ice?

  • Health and fitness experts recommend starting with a sauna session followed by a cold plunge. This sequence optimizes contrast therapy, providing the body with the benefits of both hot and cold immersion.
  • What is the 11 57 method ice bath?

  • The 11 57 method involves spending 11 minutes in cold water and 57 minutes in the sauna each week. This approach activates brown fat, increases caloric burn, and enhances thermogenesis, promoting overall health and wellness.
  • Which is better ice bath or sauna?

  • Both saunas and ice baths are valuable tools for recovery and overall health. Saunas improve cardiovascular health, while ice baths reduce muscle soreness and inflammation. Using them together as contrast therapy enhances circulation and promotes recovery.
  • What is the best routine for sauna and ice bath?

  • For optimal results, aim for 12-15 minutes in the sauna and no more than five minutes in the cold plunge tub. Alternate between the two for 2-3 cycles, adjusting based on comfort and tolerance levels.
  • How long after sauna can you take an ice bath?

  • For the safest and most beneficial contrast therapy, start with a 20-minute sauna session followed by a three to five-minute cold plunge. This sequence optimizes the benefits of both therapies for enhanced recovery and well-being.
  • Should I sauna or ice bath after workout?

  • Ice baths are recommended before or after exercise for recovery, while saunas are suggested post-workout to increase blood flow and encourage an adaptive response to exercise. Both therapies offer significant benefits for recovery and overall well-being.
  • Can I take a sauna and ice bath if I have high blood pressure

  • Individuals with high blood pressure should consult a healthcare professional before using saunas or ice baths. Saunas may temporarily increase blood pressure, while cold plunges can cause vasoconstriction, potentially affecting blood pressure levels.

  • How often should I incorporate sauna and ice bath sessions into my routine?

  • The frequency of sauna and ice bath sessions depends on individual goals and tolerance levels. Generally, aim for 2-3 sessions per week, allowing adequate time for recovery between sessions.

  • Are there any risks associated with alternating between sauna and ice bath?

  • While contrast therapy offers numerous benefits, individuals with certain medical conditions, such as heart conditions or circulation problems, should use caution. It's essential to listen to your body and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

  • What temperature should the sauna and ice bath be maintained at for optimal benefits?

  • Sauna temperatures typically range from 160°F to 200°F, while ice bath temperatures range from 50°F to 59°F. Adjust temperatures based on personal comfort and tolerance levels, ensuring they are within safe ranges.

  • Can children use saunas and ice baths?

  • Saunas and ice baths may not be suitable for children due to their developing bodies and potential risks of heat or cold exposure. It's best to consult a pediatrician before introducing children to these therapies.

  • Do sauna and ice bath sessions have any effects on sleep quality?

  • Sauna sessions may promote relaxation and stress reduction, potentially improving sleep quality for some individuals. However, using a sauna too close to bedtime may increase body temperature and disrupt sleep. Ice baths may also aid in relaxation, promoting better sleep quality.

  • Is it safe to use saunas and ice baths during pregnancy?

  • Pregnant individuals should avoid saunas and ice baths, especially during the first trimester, due to the risk of overheating or sudden temperature changes. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.

  • How do I know if I'm spending too much time in the sauna or ice bath?

  • Pay attention to signs of discomfort, dizziness, or lightheadedness. Limit sauna sessions to 15-30 minutes and ice baths to 5-10 minutes to prevent overheating or cold-related injuries.

  • Can sauna and ice bath sessions help with recovery from sports injuries?

  • Saunas and ice baths may aid in the recovery of sports injuries by reducing inflammation, alleviating muscle soreness, and promoting circulation. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for proper injury management.

  • Are there any specific precautions I should take before using saunas or ice baths?

  • Stay hydrated before, during, and after sauna and ice bath sessions. Avoid alcohol or heavy meals before using these therapies, and listen to your body's signals to prevent dehydration or overexertion.

Embrace the Nordic Cycle

Are you ready to embark on this path of revitalized health and happiness? Explore our curated selection of premium saunas and cold plunge tubs and discover a world of wellness opportunities.

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