A type of hormetic stress or biological anti-fragility.
Cold Shock Proteins
You can many videos doing post-Wim Hoff immersion in deepfreezers filled with ice/chilled water. I havn’t got their yet but swimming in the ocean and cold showers (especially after Sauna are hopeful attempts to achieve similar results.
Cold treatments are known good for muscle recovery, reducing muscle soreness, athletic performance and metabolism. They’ve also been documented in.
The famous iceman Wim Hof has been analysed and it’s possible that his method of breathing and cold immersion may increase brown fats and therefore convert or reduce the production of white fat (that makes humans ‘fat’).
Extreme cold shock is around too, Joe Rogan is an investor and advocate for cryo-therapy . I’ve not tried it yet – it becoming more accessible and inexpensive there is only so much you can get into.
I’ve observed multiple benefits from being lowered into a cold swimming pool or taking a cold shower:
- It takes about 5 seconds or 10 meters for the body to adapt. The resistance is 90% psychological – thats a critical lesson confirming everyday that your mind is lying to you. In Sydney water temperature is not really cold, see the swimming section.
- You feel great afterward, its a mood enhancer (as long as you don’t get hypothermia when you get out).
- According to Rhonda Patrick, cold results in a release of norepinephrine, which is a hormone and neurotransmitter that relates to “vigilance, focus, attention and mood”.
- “Norepinephrine also acts as a hormone and, when released into the bloodstream, acutely increases vasoconstriction (which is the constriction of blood vessels)”. This means its great for cardiovascular health.
- It also seems to inhibit inflammation, which is linked cause to some cancer.
- Dopamine also apparently is released and everyone knows thats a “happy hormone”. Some studies show that cold therapy may be a valid treatment for depression.
- Related to point (1), each time you are immersed in cold water, you are getting an experience in resilience, that you have the ability to overcome weak protective monologs in your brain. You are giving yourself the anti-fragility lesson that will help you in other parts of your life where resilience is needed.
- Camaraderie: people who swim talk to each other. If they pass each other in the street they could not likely ignore – at the pool, we are in this together, so communal interaction is incredibly positive. I don’t know if oxytocin would be released .
Heat Shock Proteins
Are equally important as cold shock proteins and I cover them a bit in Sauna.
The health benefits are related that discussed above and the pattern of hormetic stress can be shown to be relevant at both the cold and hot end of the normal human set points.
There is a different resilience needed to endure sauna, much like the frog that gets boiled in the pot heated up, I’ve found that increased heart rate toward the end of a session is accompanied by fidgeting and agitation – at this time, its good to practice a calming down activity like belly breathing.
Listening to a podcast or watching a video while in the sauna is not helpful for this mindfulness response, so I need to play around with this more.