What is hot and cold therapy?
"Hot and cold therapy, also known as contrast therapy, is a type of physical therapy that utilises both hot and cold treatments to promote natural healing, reduce pain and inflammation and boost the immune system," Coggan says.
"The therapy involves alternating between a hot sauna and a cold plunge or shower. Cold therapy helps to constrict the blood vessels and reduces inflammation, while hot therapy helps to increase blood flow and relax muscle tension. Hot and cold therapy can also be used to reduce recovery time after an injury or surgery, reduce stress, and improve sleep."
Why should people implement it in their own lives?
While beneficial for people of all activity levels, hot/cold therapy "can reduce inflammation, reduce pain, improve circulation and speed up the healing process" as well as "help to reduce muscle tension and improve flexibility."
Additionally, it can also be implemented in a post-workout recovery routine.
How does the therapy affect the body?
Seeing as hot and cold therapy relies on temperature differences, it's understandable the respective temps have contrasting effects.
"Heat induces sweating which can have a detoxifying effect on the body. The sauna increases blood flow and oxygenation, which carries immunity boosters throughout the body. The Elevated levels of oxygen are carried to the brain help to alleviate fatigue and muscle soreness," Coggan says.
"Cold therapy trains the vagus nerve, responsible for regulating stress levels by calming the central nervous system (CNS). This assists in improving aches, pains and inflammation."
When combined, Coggan says the extremities "reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, release endorphins, and trigger lymphatic circulation (to detox the body), muscle soreness recovery & skin rejuvenation."
What does a typical hot/cold treatment look like?
"We offer full access to our ice baths during your 60-minute session, when you book a Fire & Ice treatment. You can move between your private Sauna suite & communal Ice bath room as you please. This allows you to practice contrast therapy in its full entirety. If you're feeling too hot & ready for a plunge, you can walk across the hallway to our ice bath room where your 5º dip awaits!"
"Finish off with a shower, get dry & a beautiful herbal tea will be waiting for you in reception to help heat your body back up naturally."
Aside from in-salon treatment, how can people implement the benefits of hot and cold therapy at home?
Coggan says practising hot/cold therapy at home is as simple as taking a shower!
"You can engage in some light exercise to get the body moving and blood circulating, then jumping into a cold shower and alternating between hot and cold for 1-5 minutes."
How often should one implement the treatment type?
"Hot/cold therapy can be practiced several times a week. Depending on your goals of the treatment, the frequency may vary. If you are just starting out, experiment once a week and increase as desired. Once you start, you may become quite addicted, the feeling is amazing!"