May 5, 2019
why practice hot and cold therapy?
Written by Sophie
While Peninsula Hot Springs has long been associated with geothermal bathing, we now have a ‘Fire and Ice’ area comprising two 30-person saunas; a large cold plunge pool; an ice cave and deep freeze; thermal mineral showers and our most breathtaking feature: a four-degree Celsius ice plunge pool.
You can now book our ‘Fire, Ice and Bathe’ package and discover the wonders of contrast therapy for yourself while one of our expert wellness hosts guides you through the practice and benefits behind this ancient therapy.
benefits of moving between hot and cold temperatures
Reduces muscular soreness and joint pain
Heat has long been used to ease inflamed joints and tired muscles by increasing blood flow, which helps deliver reparative nutrients such as glucose and oxygen to the tissues.
Cold therapy, meanwhile, helps reduce acute pain by slowing circulation and reducing nerve pain.
“When you hop into cold, the blood rushes towards the core of the body,” explains Peninsula Hot Springs Wellness Director, Brook Ramage. “So you get this flushing through the vital organs of the body – starting with the extremities.”
Assists in healing injuries
Vasoconstriction – or constricting the blood vessels –. can help with a variety of injuries.
“An injury can mean you’re bleeding internally. Vasoconstriction stops that internal bleeding and speeds up the healing process,” says Brook. “Going into the cold also helps this healing process.”
Improves energy production
Our cells are home to energy generators called mitochondria. When these mitochondria are not working properly, our body’s ability to generate energy is impaired. Cryotherapy helps stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis – a process where old mitochondria are replaced by new ones. By activating the cold response in our bodies, we activate our mitochondria.
Brings the body into homeostasis
Like water finding its own level, the body craves balance. Moving between extreme hot and cold temperatures improves our body’s ability to control our internal environment (aka homeostasis).
“What hot and cold therapy is basically doing is enlarging your comfort area – enlarging your homeostatic state,” says Brook. “The more extreme hot and cold therapy you do, the broader your comfort level will be between hot and cold. The result is that you won’t overheat as easily and your metabolism will function more efficiently.”
Lowers core body temperature during exercise
As a result of an increased comfort level in various conditions, our body is better able to acclimatise to a range of hot and cold situations. If you usually find yourself overheating while exercising, hot and cold therapy may improve your ability to keep your cool during your workout.