Hey, y’all! This post is literally something I never thought I’d be talking about a year ago. Getting into an ice cold bath and sauna was NOT on my radar. However we go through phases in life and I was at a place where I would do ANYTHING to feel better.
So let’s go back to December 2021… After having two wonderful births (close together) and breastfeeding both of my boys, I was ready to wean West off. I knew my hormones would be all over the place getting back to my “normal” levels. I was not anticipating having severe anxiety and at times, panic attacks. The feeling of overwhelm after becoming a mother is common however this was NEXT level. I felt helpless and that I had no tools to help me through it. Not a great place to be mentally.
I continued to go through my days/months filled with anxiety, some day better than others, until I had a breaking point in early April. I could not function and now my anxiety was turning into physical symptoms. My neck, shoulders and jaw had so much tension that it was causing nerve pain up my head and vertigo. It was time to take care of myself. I had to become my own health advocate and seek out tools/people that could help me. I went in full force: chiropractor, spiritual counselor, acupuncturist, meditation, listening to podcasts and lastly cold/heat exposure. More about my postpartum experience and thing I did to help on this post.
Let me tell you, I was VERY apprehensive to get into the cold. I mean, who wouldn’t be?? BUT after the first few times, I knew it is what my body needed. Not only physically but mentally. I noticed a difference in my spirit and mindset immediately!! Like, I CAN DO THIS! As I’ve mentioned on other posts, Luke has been doing this for 7+ years, starting with the Wim Hof breathing and cold method. He pumped me up and I had done enough reading/listening on the topic that I knew it would be beneficial. I first started in a 50 degree pool because that was the best option at the time. Luke started with cold showers which is also a way to get cold exposure, however my understanding is that a full submersions is the best. A few months into this journey, we decided to get an actual cold plunge and create a wellness space. All of the details on this post: Our Wellness and Gym Space Also check out my cold plunge routine on this video.
As for heat exposure, getting in the dry sauna was a piece of cake compared to the cold. I look forward to it and many evenings Luke and I do it together. It’s been a great time for us to connect.
Below I’m going to answer your most asked questions including the benefits of each and my routine. Note, I am not a medical professional. This is my experience and understanding. If you’re wanting to learn more, check out Dr. Andrew Huberman’s podcast, The Huberman Lab. He is a wealth of knowledge on this topic and gives standard protocols/routines based on research: Cold & Heat
Increase energy and focus, enhance mood, build resilience, increased metabolism
Cardiovascular health, improved mood & stress response.
12 minutes a week. I typically break this into three 4 min plunges throughout the week. I know many that take one day and cycle from hot to cold 3 times: 4 min plunge, 25 min sauna x 3.
80 minutes a week. I do 20 minute sessions at least 4 times a week.
The Plunge – It has a cooler, filtration and cleaning system that doesn’t use harsh chemicals. It was really important to us to not have to constantly dump out and refill water or have to put in ice ourselves – meaning we would need a commercial ice machine.
Finnleo Hallmark 46 Sauna – they have many sizing options, bluetooth capability and inferred if that’s what you are looking for.
After much research, we decided on a traditional dry suana, not inferred, due to the amount of research on longevity/health as well as the temperature setting. In order to get the most out of heat exposure it needs to be 180+ degrees. We have our set at 195 degrees. Unfortunately the inferred option can not get as hot and in-turn you loose many of the health benefits that were important to us: cardiovascular health, improved mood & stress response. I’m not saying there are not benefits of inferred however it wasn’t what we were looking for.
No, I did not.