Immerse Yourself In Hot/Cold Therapy

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Improving your health should be a lifelong pursuit, and it is one that can sometimes be overwhelming. Sometimes there are so many theories and ideas out there that it can be hard to find the right one. However, sometimes the simplest method is best. In many cases, simple changes to our daily routines can provide an amazing array of benefits. Another thing you may not realize is that some of the most effective therapies have their beginnings in ancient history. This can be said of hot/cold therapy. Exposing the body to extreme hot or cold is one way ancient cultures learned to manage their health, and it can be just as effective for you today.

Deep within our bodies, we have mitochondria that act as energy producers. Exposure to extreme heat and cold actually energize these little cells. In fact, extreme temperature exposure is critical to the way mitochondria function. If these little guys are getting what they need to work correctly, you’ll see impacts to your health and wellbeing.

 

Impact of Extreme Heat and Cold on the Body

You may be aware of how refreshing a sauna can be. The extreme heat bath technique goes back for centuries, made famous by the Romans as a way to purge their bodies and energize them for the day. Current studies have found that exposure to a sauna can actually improve your heart health. In fact, the more frequently you use the sauna, the better your heart will be. The reason for this is due to the heat itself. As your body gets warmer, your heart rate will increase, and you’ll experience vasodilation. Your heart will start pumping blood faster and more efficiently. Your muscles will also relax. So, as you can see, there are incredible benefits to exposing yourself to extremely high temperatures. There’s a reason the sauna is so popular, and that is because it can be an extremely refreshing process.

On the other hand, exposure to cold also has benefits tied into a process called “hormesis.” This goes back to that mitochondrial function we talked about before. Being exposed to the cold — and extreme cold at that — triggers your body to conserve energy by burning fat. The cold actually signals your brain to also release chemicals that trigger mental clarity and improve your mood while getting rid of pain.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Are There Risks Associated with Extreme Temperatures?

You may be wondering if there are risks associated with exposure to extreme temperatures, and the answer is yes. With any activity there will be some level of risk; however, one thing should be noted, especially if you do a lot of weight training. When you’re building muscle, exposure to extreme cold or cryotherapy can be harmful to the muscle building process, but on the other side of that, the sauna will improve your weight training. Just be aware that each part of extreme temperature exposure has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the exercise or activity you’re performing before. Do your research, and you will be okay.

Always consult with your doctor prior to making any changes in your workout routine or daily routine. Exposure to extreme temperatures is safe for most of the population, but if you have prior condition, you may want to consult your physician, just to be safe. Extreme heat and cold have the potential to stress your cardiovascular system and your heart. You should also be aware of your own body since the reaction to extreme temperatures will vary by the individual.

 

READ ALSO: Why You Need To Start Doing Water Workouts

 

Of the two therapies, exposure to extreme cold is the riskier. In general, people tolerate the sauna better than cold therapy, so you may want to start with a sauna treatment and go from there. If you pay attention, go slow and talk to your doctor, you have nothing to worry about. Extreme heat and cold therapies have been around for centuries. The sooner you take the plunge, the sooner you can reap the benefits of exposing your body to the hot/cold cycle.

Exposure to extreme temperatures isn’t for everyone, but you won’t know until you give it a try.

References:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov