What are the benefits of cold plunges?
Cold plunges can help improve blood circulation, promote recovery after exercise, strengthen the immune system, and provide an energizing effect.
We use plunge XL, developed by Andrew Huberman.
Never get into a dangerous body of water. Also, never do deliberate hyperventilation before or during cold water (or any water!) immersion. Start slow (warmer than colder)—as cold shock is possible; just as with lifting weights or other forms of exercise, you’ll need to find the right temperature for you, yet prioritize safety.
This is the most common question and it makes sense to ask that. However, it is truly impossible to answer, as some people tolerate cold better than others. The key is to aim for a temperature that evokes the thought, “This is really cold (!), and I want to get out, BUT I can safely stay in.” For some people, that temperature might be 60°F, whereas for others, 45°F.
Here is the key: the colder the stimulus (water immersion, shower, etc.), the shorter amount of time you need to expose yourself to the cold. One study showed significant and prolonged increases in dopamine when people were in cool (60°F) water for about an hour up to their neck, with their head above water. Other studies describe significant increases in epinephrine from just 20 seconds in very cold water (~40°F). The good news is that as you do deliberate cold exposure more often, you will be more comfortable in the cold at all times and can start to use colder temperatures with more confidence, just like exercise.
Increase Energy and Focus
Deliberate cold exposure causes a significant release of epinephrine (aka adrenaline) and norepinephrine (aka noradrenaline) in the brain and body. These neurochemicals make us feel alert and can make us feel agitated and as if we need to move or vocalize during the cold exposure. Cold causes their levels to stay elevated for some time and their ongoing effect after the exposure is to increase your level of energy and focus, which can be applied to other mental and/or physical activities.
Building Resilience & Grit
By forcing yourself to embrace the stress of cold exposure as a meaningful self-directed challenge (i.e., stressor), you exert what is called ‘top-down control’ over deeper brain centers that regulate reflexive states. This top-down control process involves your prefrontal cortex – an area of your brain involved in planning and suppressing impulsivity. That ‘top-down’ control is the basis of what people refer to when they talk about “resilience and grit.” Importantly, it is a skill that carries over to situations outside of the deliberate cold environment, allowing you to cope better and maintain a calm, clear mind when confronted with real-world stressors. In other words, deliberate cold exposure is great training for the mind.
Enhance Your Mood
While not true of every stress, cold exposure causes the prolonged release of dopamine. Dopamine is a powerful molecule capable of elevating mood, enhancing focus, attention, goal-directed behavior, etc. Even short bouts of cold exposure can cause a lasting increase in dopamine and sustained elevation of mood, energy, and focus. We are seeing more and more in research that natural ways to stimulate dopamine release creates ongoing relief of depression, anxiety and stimulates overall well-being.
In the short-term, cold exposure increases metabolism as the body has to burn calories to increase core body temperature. The total calories burned from the cold exposure are not that significant. However, the conversion of white fat (energy storage) to beige or brown fat (which are highly metabolically active) can be beneficial for:
1. Allowing people to feel more comfortable in the cold (i.e., cold adaptation)
2. Triggering further and more sustained increases in metabolism
Of course, calories in (consumed) versus calories out (metabolized) or “CICO” governs whether you gain, lose, or maintain weight. There is no escaping the laws of thermodynamics.
A Solid Basic, Science-Supported Protocol
Consider doing deliberate cold exposure for 11 minutes per week TOTAL. NOT per session, but rather, 2-4 sessions lasting 1-5 mins each distributed across the week. Again, the water temperature should be uncomfortably cold yet safe to stay in for a few minutes. You can do more, but this should be the minimum to achieve the benefits of cold exposure. You can do very cold, very brief exposures for adrenaline release too, but the 11 minutes is based on a recent study that explored a range of effects and is a good solid, basic protocol for ongoing use.
What are the benefits of infrared sauna?
Unlike traditional saunas, which heat the air, infrared saunas use infrared light to directly heat your body. This helps to penetrate deeper into your muscles and tissues, leading to relaxation, detoxification, and potential pain relief.
We utilize Medical Sauna 7
Clinical Study: Microvascular Function – The Physiological Society
Research: Heat therapy increased flow-mediated dilatation, reduced arterial stiffness, reduced mean arterial and diastolic blood pressure, and reduced carotid intimae media thickness, with changes all on par or greater than what is typically observed in sedentary subjects with exercise training.
Results: Results show for the first time that heat therapy has widespread and robust effects on vascular function, and as such, could be a viable treatment option for improving cardiovascular health in a variety of patient populations, particularly those with limited exercise tolerance and/or capabilities.
Link To Study: Brunt, Vienna E., Matthew J. Howard, Michael A. Francisco, Brett R. Ely, and Christopher T. Minson. “Passive Heat Therapy Improves Endothelial Function, Arterial Stiffness and Blood Pressure in Sedentary Humans.” The Journal of Physiology 594.18 (2016)
Rheumatoid Arthritis – Journal of Ayurveta and Integrated Medicine
Research: A 48-year-old married woman diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2007, came to our hospital in July 2014 with the complaint of severe pain and swelling over multiple joints, especially over small joints, which was associated with stiffness, deformities of fingers and toes, with disturbed sleep and poor quality of life for the past 7 years. Treated with EMMS therapy
Results: During and post intervention assessment showed reduction in visual analog scale score for pain. It also showed an increase in the scores of 10-Meter Walk Test, isometric hand-grip test, and short form-36 version-2 health survey. This result suggest that, the EMMS therapy might be considered as an effective treatments in reducing pain, depression, anxiety, and stress with improvement in physical functions, quality of sleep and quality of life in patients.
Link To Study: Mooventhan, A., Geethab Shetty, and N. Anagha. “Effect of Electro-acupuncture, Massage, Mud, and Sauna Therapies in Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine J Ayurveda Integr Med 6.4 (2015)
Clinical Study: Heat Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes – Laboratory of Cellular Physiology
Research: Human studies indicate that heat therapy reduces fasting glycemia, glycated hemoglobin, body weight, and adiposity. Animal studies have indicated that nitric oxide and the increase in heat protein expression is involved in the improvements induced by heat therapy on insulin sensitivity, adiposity, inflammation, and vasomotricity.
Results: The use of heat therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed a striking reduction of 1% unit in the glycated hemoglobin, suggesting this therapy for the treatment of diabetes.
Link To Study: Krause, Mauricio, Mirna Stela Ludwig, Thiago Gomes Heck, and Hilton Kenji Takahashi. “Heat Shock Proteins and Heat Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes.” Laboratory of Cellular Physiology 18.4 (2015).
Clinical Study: Skeletal Muscle Growth – American Journal of Physiological
Research: Heat therapy has been shown to promote capillary growth in skeletal muscle and in the heart in several animal models. We evaluated the acute effect of lower body heating and unilateral thigh heating on the expression of angiogenic regulators and heat shock proteins in healthy young individuals.
Results: Exposure to lower back heating increased core temperature and average leg skin temperature. In skeletal muscle, the change in mRNA expression from baseline of vascular endothelial growth factor, angiopoietin 2, chemokines CCL2 and CX3CL1, platelet factor-4, and several members of the HSP family was higher 30 min after the intervention in the individuals exposed to lower back heating. The findings suggest that both lower back heating and thigh heating increase the expression of factors associated with capillary growth in human skeletal muscle.
Link To Study: Kuhlenhoelter, Alisha M., Kyoungrae Kim, Dustin Neff, Yaohui Nie, A. Nicole Blaize, Brett J. Wong, Shihuan Kuang, Julianne Stout, Qifan Song, Timothy P. Gavin, and Bruno T. Roseguini. “Heat Therapy Promotes the Expression of Angiogenic Regulators in Human Skeletal Muscle.” American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 311.2 (2016)
Clinical Study: Muscle Soreness – Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Research: The most significant outcome was a reduction in soreness in the group that had heat applied immediately after exercise. There was benefit to applying heat 24 hours after exercise, but to a smaller extent. This was corroborated by myoglobin, algometer, and stiffness data.
Results: The use of heat therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed a striking reduction of 1% unit in the glycated hemoglobin, suggesting this therapy for the treatment of diabetes.
Link To Study: Petrofsky, Jerrold, Lee Berk, Gurinder Bains, Iman Akef Khowailed, Haneul Lee, and Michael Laymon. “The Efficacy of Sustained Heat Treatment on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness.” Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine (2016)
Clinical Study: Knee Pain – Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Research: This study examined if the use of continuous heat at home between physical therapy sessions at a clinic resulted in better therapy outcomes in patients with chronic knee pain
Results: The group who had heat applied showed pain attenuation after 2 weeks of therapy sessions. Active range of motion and strength of the knee significantly improved over time compared to the placebo group. Home exercise compliance was significantly higher in the group with heat applied than placebo group. These results indicated that the use of heat therapy as an adjunct to conventional physical therapy for chronic knee pain significantly improved pain attenuation and recovery of strength and movement in patients with chronic knee pain.
Link To Study: Petrofsky, Jerrold S., Michael S. Laymon, Faris S. Alshammari, and Haneul Lee. “Use of Low Level of Continuous Heat as an Adjunct to Physical Therapy Improves Knee Pain Recovery and the Compliance for Home Exercise in Patients With Chronic Knee Pain.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 30.11 (2016)
Clinical Study: Pain Relief in Primary Dysmenorrhea – Department of Medical Rehabilitation
Research: The present systematic review aimed to synthesize evidence for the effectiveness of heat therapy interventions from randomized trials. Six relevant databases were searched for studies on heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea. Menstrual pain intensity and quality of life were the primary and secondary outcomes respectively.
Results: Heat therapy showed evidence of pain reduction. Heat therapy showed potential as adjunct remedies in the management of primary dysmenorrheal.
Link To Study: Igwea, Sylvester Emeka, Chidinma Samantha Tabansi-Ochuogu, and Ukachukwu Okoroafor Abaraogu. “TENS and Heat Therapy for Pain Relief and Quality of Life Improvement in Individuals with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Systematic Review.” Department of Medical Rehabilitation 24 (2016)
Clinical Study: Body Mass Loss – The Scientific World Journal
Research: The aim of the study was to evaluate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and body mass loss (BML) induced by thermal stress in a dry sauna.
Results: The smallest BML was noted in underweight subjects; students with normal weight lost more weight, whereas the greatest BML was reported in overweight and obese subjects. Persons with a high BMI are at higher risk of dehydration. The proposed equations for calculating BML based on a person’s BMI can be useful in estimating the amount of fluids that should be replenished by both men and women during a visit to a dry sauna.
Link To Study: Podstawski, Robert, Tomasz BoraczyÅ„ski, MichaÅ‚ BoraczyÅ„ski, Dariusz Choszcz, Stefan MaÅ„kowski, and Piotr Markowski. “Sauna-Induced Body Mass Loss in Young Sedentary Women and Men.” The Scientific World Journal 2014 (2014)
Clinical Study: Muscle Regeneration – National Center for Biotechnology Information
Research: Hyperthermia therapy has recently emerged as a clinical modality used to finely tune heat stress inside the human body for various biomedical applications. Nevertheless, little is known regarding the optimal timing or temperature of heat stress that is needed to achieve favorable results following hyperthermia therapy for muscle regeneration purposes. The regeneration of skeletal muscle after injury is a highly complex and coordinated process that involves a multitude of cellular mechanisms. The main objective of this study was to characterize the effects of hyperthermal therapy on the overall behavior of myoblasts during myogenic differentiation.
Results: Atrophy genes were sensitive even to moderate hyperthermia, indicating that strictly controlled heat stress is required to minimize the development of atrophy in myotubes. In addition, mitochondrial biogenesis was enhanced following thermal induction of myoblasts, suggesting a subsequent shift toward anabolic demand requirements for energy production. This study offers a new perspective to understand and utilize the time and temperature-sensitive effects of hyperthermal therapy on muscle regeneration.
Link To Study: “Controlled Heat Stress Promotes Myofibrillogenesis during Myogenesis.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. 8 Nov. 2016.
Clinical Study: Relaxation – Department of Anesthesiology and Applied Physiology
Research: Can heat, as a common tool be used in the treatment of muscular disorders such as stiffness or myalgia. Clinical data as well as in vitro experiments demonstrate that increased temperatures lead to a head-related myofacial relaxation. Investigating the differential effects of the skeletal muscle fibers and the facial structures.
Results: The increased temperature leads to an enhancement in the functional properties of skeletal muscle in terms of accelerated contraction and relaxation parameters. There is a direct fascial relaxation that contributes to heat-induced relaxation. This supports the notion that the regulation of fascial stiffness plays a major part in resting muscle tone.
Link To Study: “The Role of Fascia in Resting Muscle Tone and Heat Induced Relaxation.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Department of Anesthesiology and Applied Physiology 12.4 (2008)
Clinical Study: White Blood Cell Profile Levels – U.S. National Library of Medicine
Research: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of sauna bathing on a white blood cell profile, cortisol levels and selected physiological indices in athletes and non-athletes. The study evaluated 9 trained middle-distance runners and 9 male non-athletes. The subjects from both groups participated in 15-minute sauna sessions until their core temperature rose by 1.2°C (mean temperature in the sauna room was 96° ± 2°C; relative humidity was 15 ± 3%) with a 2 minute cool down with water at a temperature of 19-20°C.
Results: After the sauna session, an increased number of white blood cells, lymphocyte, neutrophil and basophil counts was reported in the white blood cell profile. Higher increments in leukocyte and monocyte after the sauna bathing session were recorded. The obtained results indicated that sauna bathing stimulated the immune system to a high degree.
Link To Study: Effect of a Single Sauna Session on White Blood Cell Profile and Cortisol Levels in Athletes and Non-athletes.” Journal of Human Kinetics. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d.
Clinical Study: Detox Programs– U.S. National Library of Medicine
Research:According to our nationwide survey of Naturopathic Physicians regarding use of detoxification, approximately 80 percent of NDs (Naturopathic Doctors) use some type of detoxification interventions in clinical practice on a regular basis. Of the interventions used, 66% of respondents reported using sauna therapy. Of the conditions treated, over 80 percent of practitioners use sauna-based detoxification for “general cleansing/preventive medicine.” This protocol will utilize a sauna as the primary method of detoxification. Detoxification therapies used by NDs may serve as an adequate means to reduce the body burden of synthetic chemicals found today in humans; however, scientifically rigorous research is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of these therapies.
Results:Results show that subjects may literally sweat out small amounts of chemicals and toxins, and the heat treatment’s other benefit will most likely come from lipolysis — breaking down fat, where toxic substances are stored. That would allow them to move through the bloodstream to the kidneys and liver, which are the primary organs of excretion.
Link To Study: PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d.
What are the benefits of compression therapy?
Compression therapy means using compression socks, stockings, boots, or bandages to apply gentle pressure to the leg. Doctors have prescribed compression therapy for thousands of years, as far back as Hippocrates of ancient Greece. Modern science continues to discover new benefits of compression therapy.
Better Blood Flow
When you are sitting or standing, the veins in your legs must fight gravity to move blood back to your heart. Compression therapy gently squeezes the leg, which helps blood flow faster and keep moving in the right direction.
Prevention and Treatment of Varicose Veins
n order to push blood back up toward the heart, the veins in your legs have valves that only allow blood to move in one direction. Sometimes these valves wear out and let the blood pool in the veins. This can lead to varicose veins, swollen and twisted veins that can cause pain and a heavy, achy feeling in your legs. Compression stockings can help reduce the discomfort and swelling that varicose veins cause. After varicose vein treatment, compression therapy may help prevent you from getting new varicose veins.
Pressure from compression socks can keep fluid from leaking out of small blood vessels in your legs. It can help prevent swelling when you must sit or stand still for long periods of time. For example, some people wear them on long airplane flights or if they stand on their feet a lot at work.
Compression therapy can also help treat swelling. When there is extra fluid in your legs, compression helps your body absorb it.
Swelling in your feet and ankles is also a common side effect of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor about wearing compression tights to reduce swelling and leg discomfort.
Less Dizziness and Nausea
Orthostatic hypotension is when your blood pressure drops when you stand up. It can make you feel dizzy (like the room is spinning), lightheaded (like you might faint), or nauseous (like you might throw up). If you have this problem a lot, your doctor might recommend thigh-high or waist-high compression hose. Compression therapy can keep blood from pooling in your legs, which is what causes orthostatic hypotension.
Lower Risk of Blood Clots
If you are in the hospital for a long time or have surgery that keeps you off your feet for a while, you are at a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. This is when you get a blood clot or clots in a deep vein. Deep vein thrombosis can have serious consequences.
Compression therapy makes it less likely that you will get a blood clot while you are in the hospital. You might also need to wear compression stockings when you go home from the hospital and as you recover.
Travelers are also at a greater risk of developing a blood clot because they are seated for long periods of time. You are three times more likely to have problems with blood clots while flying than at other times. Your risk goes up even higher on longer flights.
Healing Leg Ulcers
Ulcers are open wounds on the skin that can be hard to heal. Leg ulcers can be caused by:
High blood pressure
Compression therapy is a very effective treatment for leg ulcers. It helps heal ulcers by improving blood flow. During the healing process, compression therapy reduces the symptoms of leg ulcers, such as pain, swelling, and itching.
Up to 97% of people who have had leg ulcers will get another leg ulcer in the future. Compression therapy can help keep you from getting new leg ulcers.
Benefits of red light therapy
Red light therapy (RLT) is a treatment that uses low wavelength red light to reportedly improve your skin’s appearance, such as reducing wrinkles, scars, redness and acne. It’s also touted to treat other medical conditions.
To date, there’s a lot of ongoing research, publication of small studies and a much discussion on the internet about the effectiveness of red light therapy for all types of health uses. Results of some studies do show some promise, but the full effectiveness of red light therapy has yet to be determined.
Other names you might hear to describe red light therapy include:
Low-level laser light therapy.
Low-power laser therapy.
Non-thermal LED light.
Soft laser therapy.
Cold laser therapy.
Biostimulation, photonic stimulation.
Photobiomodulation and phototherapy.
Now, RLT is being investigated (or already in use) for treating a wide array of health conditions. What’s confusing — and controversial — is the effectiveness of the treatment for the purposes it’s being promoted.
How does red light therapy supposedly work?
Red light therapy is thought to work by acting on the “power plant” in your body’s cells called mitochondria. With more energy, other cells can do their work more efficiently, such as repairing skin, boosting new cell growth and enhancing skin rejuvenation. More specifically, certain cells absorb light wavelengths and are stimulated to work.
Red light therapy may work in skin health to:
Stimulate collagen production, which gives skin its structure, strength and elasticity.
Increase fibroblast production, which makes collagen. Collagen is a component of connective tissue that builds skin.
Increase blood circulation to the tissue.
Reduce inflammation in cells.
For what skin conditions is red light therapy being tried?
Red light therapy is promoted as a treatment for some common skin conditions, including to:
Improve wound healing.
Reduce stretch marks
Reduce wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
Improve facial texture.
Improve psoriasis, rosacea and eczema.
Improve sun-damaged skin.
Improve hair growth in people with androgenic alopecia.
Is red light therapy safe?
Red light therapy appears to be safe and is not associated with any side effects, at least if used short-term and as directed. This therapy is not toxic, not invasive and not as harsh as some topical skin treatments. Unlike the cancer-causing ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning booths, RLT doesn’t use this type of light.
However, if products are misused — perhaps used too often or not according to directions — there’s a chance your skin or eyes (if not protected) could be damaged. The long-term safety of devices that use red light therapy is not yet known.
To relieve pain and inflammation associated with ankle tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis of the knee. To prevent cold sores from herpes simplex virus from recurring. Lots of other uses are being touted on the internet. There’s no scientific evidence to support red light therapy use in weight loss, cancer, cellulite removal or mental health concerns like depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
There are a lot of variables to consider when thinking about red light therapy
Is RLT covered by my health insurance? Red light therapy is typically not a covered treatment. You may want to call your health insurance company before seeking treatment.
How many treatments will I need? You’ll likely need ongoing treatments. This is not a one-time treatment for most skin conditions. You’ll need to be seen one to three times a week for weeks or even months.
Also, is there a need for additional touch-up treatments? This may add up to a lot of time and considerable out-of-pocket costs.
Will I achieve the desired results? Everyone’s skin is different so results can vary.
Also, the wavelength of the red light source ranges. The wavelength affects how deeply the light penetrates your skin. The wavelength of the red light device being used in a doctor’s office versus in your at-home device could affect your desired result.
What are the benefits of vitamin infusions?
Vitamin infusions can provide a quick and efficient way to boost your immune system, increase energy levels, improve skin health, and support overall wellness.