Contrast Hydro-Therapy: A Catalyst to Health, Strength, and Happiness
Increase immunity, metabolism, mood, and vascular health while decreasing stress and inflammation….. all from moving between hot and cold water? That’s what the science says. That’s what world class athletes use every single day. Now it’s picking up steam in wellness and biohacking circles due to its instant and undeniable results.
Origins in Antiquity
Hydro-therapy has been around for centuries and dates back as far as Ancient Greece, Hippocrates even wrote about his experiences with the healing powers of “hydro-pathy.” Documentation shows hydro-therapy was also used by many ancient civilizations including the Ancient Chinese, the Romans, and the Egyptians. This therapy gained popularity over time and is now breaking through the mainstream with full force.
So how does Contrast Hydro-Therapy work?
The moving parts on contrast hydrotherapy are hot tubs, cold tubs, time, your mind, and your body.
The Cold, Your Warm Friend!
Let’s start with the cold tub, hydro-cryo tub, cold plunge, ice bath, or any other hip name that you want to call it. Cold water plunging has two ways of reducing inflammation: constriction and adrenaline.
When you step into water with a temperature ranging between 56º to 32ºF, your blood vessels begin to constrict and this suppresses inflammation. The sweet spot of time in the tub is a little different for everyone. If you can, aim for 90 seconds to 5 minutes or longer.
This can feel a little pinchy and prickly, but it’s an inflammation suppressing effect that continues to work and trickles off over hours to days post plunge. When we are chronically inflamed (whether caused by physical and mental stress, diet, or environment) it’s difficult for blood to flow correctly. Getting inflammation relief for hours to days is enough for the blood to flow easily and assist in speeding up our healing process. You can even dip individual limbs into cold water to receive these benefits.
The second way cold plunging combats inflammation is through the release of adrenaline. Cold water temperatures are quite exciting to the nervous system and are a good reason for your body to summon extra energy through releasing adrenaline. Adrenaline sends anti-inflammatory proteins and a significant increase of white blood cells though the bloodstream so that you can safely maneuver an exciting situation.
Studies have shown that the white blood cell increase can stay in the blood for up to 6 days. That’s a superb increase in immunity and pathogen defense. Adrenaline also helps to balance hormones associated with better mood, and reducing depression and anxiety. You also get peak dopamine levels for about 2.5 hours post plunge (It’s like a cup of hot coffee in the morning!) So, as you can see, cold plunging is a great tool to have in your mental health tool box.
“I’m ready for the hot tub already!”
Wait just a second!…. or maybe 2 minutes. That’s about how long you need to wait before getting into the hot tub after the cold plunge. This is an important time for the body to exercise its own heat producing thermo-regulation process. The cold plunge is a stimulus for the body to start making heat and this is where we get the metabolism boost. The cold also stimulates the body to start producing more brown fat (it gets its dark color from being densely packed with the energy generating part of each cell: the MITOCHONDRIA!) The mitochondria makes brown fat burn unwanted white fat for energy. More energy and less unwanted fat? Sounds like a deal to me!
The Massage Effect
“Can I please get into the hot tub?”
Now its hot tub time! By this time you will already be feeling more loose, limber, and energized than when you started. Let’s explain contrast hydrotherapy like this: before you start, you have some level of tightness, tension and inflammation. The cold water compresses (or massages) that tension. When you step out of the cold plunge and thermo-regulate ---- that tension releases leaving you feeling more loose. When you get into the hot tub, your tissue relaxes even more as it dilates and expands further. After a couple of minutes in the hot tub you move back into the cold plunge.
This compresses the tissue again. As you repeat this cycle, you are experiencing a massage effect into the tissue – on the blood vessel level. This is an incredible way to boost circulation, improving oxygen and nutrient flow across the body. Wringing out everything you have been holding onto --- like a sponge emptying and then popping back into natural form.
Calm the Mind
When our bodies release tension, this release influences the mind. Old, stagnant thoughts are able to flow out and a new awareness is able to flow in. The alleviation of tension creates a feeling of lightness in the body that reflects into our tone of voice and how we interact with those around us, especially those that we care about the most. When this heavy pressure is released, we feel more free to express our emotions and we can allow the most authentic versions of ourselves to shine. Contrast hydrotherapy is a practice that has exponential benefits that continue to spiral out long after stepping out of a tub. With less stress blocking our mind, body, and soul we can be more open to receive the wonderful world that is always around us.
Let's Sum Up The Benefits
Where Can I Access Contrast Hydro-Therapy?
At Ascend Wellness Studio here in Lafayette, Louisiana, we truly value bringing the body and mind back into balance in the most simple and effective ways. Inside our doors you can access all that Inner Alchemy Rejuvenation Lab has to offer including Contrast Hydro-Therapy as well as Red / Infrared Light Therapy lead by Andre Wilson!
Come Visit Us!
A Contrast Hydrotherapy session is an excellent place to start if you're looking for a way to improve your health and wellness.
Contrast Hydrotherapy sessions lasts about 15-20 minutes.
Don’t forget your swimsuit and water bottle!