Cold Plunge After A Sauna Helps Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis
A cold plunge after a sauna session has real benefit for rheumatoid sufferers.
In many Nordic cultures, a full sauna session includes 15 or 20 minutes in the heat followed by an ice-cold run outside, dip in cold water, or cool shower. This hot/cold is repeated until there’s not an ounce of tension in the body. The alternate extremes provide a different, intense experience. Ice swimming is an increasingly popular activity in sauna-loving Finland.
Dr. Mark Tinnerman in “Health Benefits of Sauna,” posted in January on the North American Sauna Society website, says the combination of heat and cold can have some health advantages. The sudden cold makes skin blood vessels constrict rapidly, elevating blood pressure.
- Avoiding inflammation. People with rheumatoid arthritis and related illnesses experience relief during their sauna session because joint fluid becomes more supple, but sometimes the inflammation can flare worse the next day. A cold immersion after the sauna prevents this problem and helps ease symptoms.
- Cold immersion after the sauna might also help improve blood flow and faster recovery from muscle damage and soreness. Cold shower aficionados say that a cold shower has a rejuvenating effect on the skin due to the increase blood flow.
- Enhancing pleasure. The cold dip increases the sauna’s elevation of heart rate, adrenaline, and endorphins that ease your pain and lighten your mood. Due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, cold showers send electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain which results in an anti-depressive effect.
Once again science shows that traditions lasted for centuries for good reason. Taking the time (and exhibiting the bravery!) to take an icy plunge, snow bank or cold shower after a sauna gives you more benefit than the sauna alone. Do check with your doctor before taking a sauna followed by an icy shower.
The good sweat starts with a Finnleo Sauna from Olympic Hot Tub.
More on sauna health benefits:
Author: Don Riling
Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 20 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through hot water & sauna therapy.