Why Do It? 🌬🔥❄️
The health impacts are significant, and scientifically proven.
Saunas increase blood flow through vasodilation, allowing vessels to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to your tissues so that they can recovery from work or injury. Saunas also can decrease the likelihood of heart disease, and heat exposure produces heat shock proteins which, in animal modeling studies, create significant increases in lifespan.
Ice baths, in contrast, improve mitochondrial health and stimulate the production of brown fat - increasing your metabolism and cold-tolerance. Ice baths have also been found to improve immune system health. And, while the claim that ice baths decrease athletic recovery time is scientifically debated, they definitely directly reduce the pain and tissue inflammation associated with exertion or physical injury, making recovery a more comfortable experience.
Rewired Stress Response
Choosing to enter the ice bath can be stressful - and that is the point!
Our reactions to physical and psychological stress can manifest in different ways. If overloaded with more stress that we can tolerate, our response will be one of fight, flight or freeze. A “fight” response is one of hyper-arousal, wherein we are anxious or panicking; a “flight” or “freeze” response is one of hypo-arousal, wherein we shut down or try to distance our selves physically or emotionally from the stressor (see Window of Tolerance diagram).
However, by learning practices that can directly up-regulate and down-regulate our sympathetic nervous systems, we can learn to control our responses to stress, thereby increasing our tolerance to stressful things in our lives. Because the experience of Fire & Ice can be “stressful”, it offers a rare opportunity to intentionally explore stress and our responses to it. In "renegotiating" the stress response via personal intentions and simple yet potent practices, the workshop is a unique chance to fundamentally change our capacities, and our perceptions of our selves and the world around us.
Sleep never, ever, felt so good.
The mood-enhancing effects of Fire & Ice are immediate and long-term! Within seconds to minutes after an ice bath, the cold stimulates release of "endogenous opioids" and endorphins, giving you an experience of deep euphoria and relaxation. This ‘bliss’ state can last for hours to days.
In the long term, the sauna promotes mood-enhancement through a different, and slightly more complicated biochemical process. First, exposure to heat in the sauna can temporarily increase levels of dynorphin, a hormone that is released with stressful experiences and creates the feeling of dysphoria. In response to this, your body compensates by increasing the number of neuroreceptors for endorphins. With more receptors, the same ‘dose’ of endorphins gives an amplified ‘message’, or experience, of euphoria. This effect is lasting, meaning that using a sauna regularly can lead to greater happiness in everyday life.
Connections made at Fire & Ice Workshops are awesome.
Whether with strangers or long-standing friends, the experience of receiving full support to step outside your comfort zone bonds people together in unmatched ways. The sauna creates space to connect, and the shared vulnerability of taking turns getting into the ice helps everyone feel safe, giving you permission to ‘lower your guard’. And, the people are awesome! Participants are of all ages, and come with greatly varied backgrounds, careers, interests, and experiences.
Come join us!