Sauna and ice bathing in winter: Healthy or risky?
Sauna ice bathing offers much more than just a stimulating boost for the circulation. It is an effective way to cool down after a sauna session and plays a central role in the wellness experience. But it is not only appreciated as a recreational ritual; it has also established itself as an extreme sport. Experts agree on the positive health effects of cold water, and the intense experience draws many to winter bathing again and again.
While it can be a challenge for beginners to venture into an ice-cold plunge pool or icy natural waters after a sauna, the thrill and health benefits win over many. In addition, immersion in cold water boosts circulation and can strengthen the immune system. Many followers of this method report an invigorating feeling and increased mental clarity after cold bathing.
Trend sport sauna ice bathing
So that the health does not suffer, absolutely before much attention should be paid to the current health condition and if necessary also the discussion with the physician be looked for. This is because sauna ice bathing can also be dangerous, which is why a few tips are helpful to prevent damage to your own health. Genuine ice baths, which practice this trend haven thus also outside of the Sauna, already give it in Germany several thousands. Always it concerns with such an event, whether indoor or outdoor, water temperatures approximately around the freezing point.
Healthy through ice bathing
Traditionally, ice bathing is done in small groups, especially after the sauna. This method not only invigorates the circulation, but also effectively strengthens the immune system. Many devotees report that after regular ice bathing, they are less likely to catch a cold. In addition, it can noticeably alleviate or even eliminate various ailments, such as problems with joints, the spine or even rheumatic diseases.
To start ice bathing, cold-warm alternating showers, preferably in the morning, over several weeks, are a good way to begin. This routine can also strengthen mental resilience and boost endorphin production, which increases overall well-being.
Ice bathing season in Germany
How long the bath in the cold lasts depends not least on how you feel, i.e. how your body feels. The usual time span is oriented when remaining in an ice-cold dipping basin or a body of water with freezing point temperature between some seconds up to approximately 5 minutes. Not only in winter, but already in early autumn the season for ice bathing begins. From a medical point of view, the first thing that happens is an intense temperature stimulus, which of course is initially perceived as very pleasant after a sauna session.
The temperature of the skin surface drops drastically, while the so-called core body temperature remains rather constant. The organism very quickly begins to react to the cold stimulus by immediately converting stored carbohydrates into heat energy, which leads to a visible dilation of the blood vessels. Thus, blood circulation is improved, and the circulatory system stabilizes, even in the long term with regular use.
Dangers of ice bathing
In addition to the positive health benefits, the psychological aspects of immersion in ice-cold water should not be underestimated. Because it already belongs a due portion, self-conquest, and self-control to it. Nevertheless, ice bathing is never completely harmless, which is why the untrained should approach it slowly at first. The biggest dangers are suffering a cold shock or a hypertensive crisis, i.e. a dramatic rise in blood pressure. After each immersion in an ice bath, warming clothing should be put on immediately and athletic activity avoided.
Ice bathing as a religious custom
The trend of bathing in cold water does not originate from Finland like the actual sauna tradition, but from Russia. There, ice bathing is actually a long-standing religious tradition of the Orthodox Church, where outdoor church services are held throughout the country. During this type of gathering, ice bathing is then also traditionally practiced, according to old tradition, this is not only to protect against evil spirits and diseases, but also to cleanse one’s conscience.
Important points for healthy ice bathing
In order to make ice bathing fun in winter, there are a few things you should keep in mind for your health.
- Never jump into the cold water, but enter slowly and deliberately.
- Winter ice bathing should never be done alone. In case of emergency, help is always at hand.
- Inexperienced people should only stay in the water for a few seconds.
- In cold water, many react with frantic gasping for breath. Nevertheless, breathe in and out slowly and consciously.
- Do not dive with your head underwater. This will cause you to lose too much body heat.
- To minimize hypothermia, move around after ice bathing or wrap up warm immediately.
- After the ice bath, take a longer rest.
- People with health conditions should stay away from winter bathing. Especially people with circulatory problems.
- Listen to your body feeling and do not expect too much from yourself.
The Saunazeit team wishes you a lot of fun with YOUR ice-cold challenge!
Never sick again: healthy, strong and efficient through the power of the cold
Contrary to the widespread belief that you should avoid cold and keep warm to stay healthy, world record holder Wim Hof regularly braves freezing temperatures. He hasn’t been sick in decades. Thanks to a breathing and concentration technique he developed, he maintains a constant body temperature. Scientific studies have shown that his method not only increases energy and blood circulation and reduces stress, but also strengthens the immune system.
It can combat or alleviate diseases such as rheumatism, Crohn’s disease, asthma, inflammation, and depression. The book referred to in this text provides an introduction to the Iceman Method. A 28-day plan helps you master these techniques and incorporate them into your daily life. With cold showers and the breathing techniques, you will learn to harness the power of cold for your health and performance in no time.