Contrast showers

HUNTER1313

More than 500 posts
When doing contrast showers, is it cold hot cold finish with hot?
Are there benefits to do contrast showers vs straight cold showers?
 

Karl

Double-Digit Post Count
I think its finish with cold. The benefits are pretty anecdotal I believe. I do it for the way I feel afterwards and i started because tim ferris mentioned it on a podcast.

Placebo or not I feel it helps me deal with short days that generally negatively affect me.

Ben Greenfield talks a little about it with DR. Rhonda Patrick in this podcast:

How To Use Heat Exposure
 

fractal

More than 500 posts
One component of my education was hydrotherapy - all contrast work is finished with cold.
Finishing with cold leaves you with vasoconstriction, which is like getting that final squeeze of waste products out.
Finishing with cold also seems to be a thing with regard to skincare, for closing pores.
We also find that putting heat on a fresh injury is a great way to make it very acute, finishing with cold can minimise that risk.
There are probably more positive effects as well.
 

dc

More than 300 posts
I enjoy contrasting showers, the temp I finish on depends on the season. Winter finish on hot, summer finish on cold.
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

When I was doing contrast showers, I always finished with cold water.

Then, to get warm again, several thing may be considered: power breathing / inner fire (as in Wim Hof) or simple set of push ups or squats.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

HUNTER1313

More than 500 posts
1. How many rounds of hot and cold?
2. So contrast showers for recovery when your muscles and body are sore and straight up cold for the supposed health benefits? I've been having two cold showers a day
 

Dasho

Triple-Digit Post Count
Are there benefits to do contrast showers vs straight cold showers?
I stick to straight cold because, honestly, if I start with a hot shower it always turns into 90% hot with 10% cold at the end. I can also attest to the fact that my skin has definitely improved with cold showering only. I won't gross you out with details but it helps with pores and dry skin.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
How about when you start coming down with a cold or sickness? Hot, contrast, or cold?
Contrast showers are a stressor to which you want your body to adapt. When you’re sick, you’re already stressed - more stress would be the equivalent of overtraining. Restore your health; then become more resilient.

-S-
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

To a certain extent, I agree with @Steve Freides

However, when the body is adapted to the cold, it makes the immune system a little bit stronger. I noticed it for I practice the Wim Hof Method. Now, I never get sick or tired, included when everyone around me is ill.

Cold tend to accelerate a little the metabolism so it produces more white corpuscles, provided you do not get into hypothermia

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
@pet' how long have you been using the Wim Hof Method? I've looked before at it and am very interested, inflammation is the enemy I wish to confront.
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

@Bret S.
I practice for 1 year, on a daily basis.
Basically, my "WH routine" is as follows:
First thing in the morning, I do the breathing routine: 4 rounds of 30 / 40 breathes. I do empty lungs and full lungs retention. On the last round, I do the push ups on empty lungs. Recently, I incorporated visualization and meditation techniques, which come from S. Carney's "What does not kill us" book. I can dig a little bit more into it if you are interested.

I noticed I perform better when I do the breathing routine before the proper routine. This is supposed to be due to modification of partial pressure of O2/CO2. This also increases my recovery.

Then, I do my "standard" routine.

In the evening, I take the cold shower. Most of the time, I do not practice breathing before the cold shower. However, this is advised to make the breathing rounds before because it helps to stay calm and to avoid the "cold shock". This is really up to you. I noticed I get a nice "mental toughness" training doing my way. Plus, it obliges me to remain calm while I am in the water, without "pre-cheating". Sometimes, I do a "cold water dousing": I let a few liters in the fridge and use them after the shower.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Hello,

@Bret S.
I practice for 1 year, on a daily basis.
Basically, my "WH routine" is as follows:
First thing in the morning, I do the breathing routine: 4 rounds of 30 / 40 breathes. I do empty lungs and full lungs retention. On the last round, I do the push ups on empty lungs. Recently, I incorporated visualization and meditation techniques, which come from S. Carney's "What does not kill us" book. I can dig a little bit more into it if you are interested.

I noticed I perform better when I do the breathing routine before the proper routine. This is supposed to be due to modification of partial pressure of O2/CO2. This also increases my recovery.

Then, I do my "standard" routine.

In the evening, I take the cold shower. Most of the time, I do not practice breathing before the cold shower. However, this is advised to make the breathing rounds before because it helps to stay calm and to avoid the "cold shock". This is really up to you. I noticed I get a nice "mental toughness" training doing my way. Plus, it obliges me to remain calm while I am in the water, without "pre-cheating". Sometimes, I do a "cold water dousing": I let a few liters in the fridge and use them after the shower.

Kind regards,

Pet'
Thanks @pet' I am interested. I've done the cold shower thing on and off for decades as part of my MA training, I usually blast myself with cold water initially and practice breath control during the initial shock, the idea is to practice breath control for shock/surprise situations.
The old Masters used this under freezing cold waterfalls to not only withstand the cold but not be crushed by the tons of water falling on them. I'm sure people still do this routinely though the closest I can come is my little cold shower.
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

@Bret S.
The protocol I will describe below comes from both W.Hof's book "The way of the IceMan" and S. Carney's book "What doesn't kill us". Indeed, Carney brings some quite interesting elements regarding muscle control and body awareness. This can be a "complete protocol".

First, you do of 30/40 breathes. You have to strongly inhale. Some people consider it is easier -or better- through the nose, some other through the mouth. WH seems to do it through the mouth. This is pretty feeling based. I tested both. Effects are greater using the mouth. However, I find it less relaxing. Anyway, even instructors say it does not modify the method that much.

The exhale is not forced. This is more a "relief". You finish the exhale when you feel you have to force to get more air out. You inspire first with the belly / diaphragm, then the lungs, then the collar bone then the head. You have to imagine some kind of wave. The breathing has to be very smooth, without any sequence. When you exhale, you do the same, but from the head to the belly. The "wave" principle is very important because it gives more relief.

When you tackle the first retention, you have to go until it becomes uncomfortable. Basically, this is the first spasm.

Then, several options: either you take a deep breath and hold as long as you can, or simply hold your breath between 15 and 30s.

You repeat this 2 or 3 times, depending on how you feel.

Then you do twice the following:
a regular cycle of 30 / 40 breathes, however this time, you hold close to the maximum. When you feel you are close to it, you tense your feet muscles, then the calves, then the thighs, then the butt, then the torso, then the arms, then the neck. Once you get to the head, you take half a breath and hold for another 15 seconds. These rounds are supposed to activate the brown tissues (brown fat which use white fat to create energy and heat).

You finish by doing another round, with a maximum push up during the empty lung retention. The maximum push up on full lungs is also possible but you are more likely to pass out.

During the empty lung retention at the beginning, this is interesting to put the brain on "off mode": when you close the eyes, you can focus on the little "lights".

As I said, this can be considered as a complete protocol. A shorter one would be to do simply 3 regular rounds, then a 4th one with the push ups.

In addition to that, even if this is not breathing related. When you want to warm you up after the shower, it can be worth doing a few push ups or squat or any bodyweight exercise on an easy pace.

In all cases, this is always tempting to count the retention time. Personally, I almost never count. WH considers we "hacked" the brain about 3 minutes. However, I found the as a stress source. I prefer listening to my body. Most instructors say not worrying about that too much. Occasional count may be interesting to track evolution but the practice should not be "figure" oriented.

I hope it can help you !

Kind regards,

Pet'
 
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Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Hello,

@Bret S.
The protocol I will describe below comes from both W.Hof's book "The way of the IceMan" and S. Carney's book "What doesn't kill us". Indeed, Carney brings some quite interesting elements regarding muscle control and body awareness. This can be a "complete protocol".

First, you do of 30/40 breathes. You have to strongly inhale. Some people consider it is easier -or better- through the nose, some other through the mouth. WH seems to do it through the mouth. This is pretty feeling based. I tested both. Effects are greater using the mouth. However, I find it less relaxing. Anyway, even instructors say it does not modify the method that much.

The exhale is not forced. This is more a "relief". You finish the exhale when you feel you have to force to get more air out. You inspire first with the belly / diaphragm, then the lungs, then the collar bone then the head. You have to imagine some kind of wave. The breathing has to be very smooth, without any sequence. When you exhale, you do the same, but from the head to the belly. The "wave" principle is very important because it gives more relief.

When you tackle the first retention, you have to go until it becomes uncomfortable. Basically, this is the first spasm.

Then, several options: either you take a deep breath and hold as long as you can, or simply hold your breath between 15 and 30s.

You repeat this 2 or 3 times, depending on how you feel.

Then you do twice the following:
a regular cycle of 30 / 40 breathes, however this time, you hold close to the maximum. When you feel you are close to it, you tense your feet muscles, then the calves, then the thighs, then the butt, then the torso, then the arms, then the neck. Once you get to the head, you take half a breath and hold for another 15 seconds. These rounds are supposed to activate the brown tissues (brown fat which use white fat to create energy and heat).

You finish by doing another round, with a maximum push up during the empty lung retention. The maximum push up on full lungs is also possible but you are more likely to pass out.

During the empty lung retention at the beginning, this is interesting to put the brain on "off mode": when you close the eyes, you can focus on the little "lights".

As I said, this can be considered as a complete protocol. A shorter one would be to do simply 3 regular rounds, then a 4th one with the push ups.

In addition to that, even if this is not breathing related. When you want to warm you up after the shower, it can be worth doing a few push ups or squat or any bodyweight exercise on an easy pace.

In all cases, this is always tempting to count the retention time. Personally, I almost never count. WH considers we "hacked" the brain about 3 minutes. However, I found the as a stress source. I prefer listening to my body. Most instructors say not worrying about that too much. Occasional count may be interesting to track evolution but the practice should not be "figure" oriented.

I hope it can help you !

Kind regards,

Pet'
Thank you for the detailed response Pet', I've ordered sample copies of both books on Kindle. I'll read them through, this is very interesting stuff indeed.
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

@Bret S.
You are welcome. I think you may benefit a lot from these readings.

In addition, below is the tutorial regarding the breathing:

Heat treatment seems also interesting as a performance and recovery enhancer:
Are Saunas the Next Big Performance-Enhancing “Drug”?

I guess a combination of the two maybe "optimal". For instance, we can consider Finland sauna sessions and snow.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 
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frederickk

Double-Digit Post Count
After my workout, if I have time I will have a cold shower then sit in the steam room for ten minutes then have another cold shower (it's right outside the steam room) then go back into the steam room for a further 5 minutes then finish with a cold shower. I guess that's kind of similar?
As for its effectiveness... who knows. I don't tend to suffer with DOMS anyway unless I'm doing really high volume stuff but it can't hurt and steam room is relaxing
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
After my workout, if I have time I will have a cold shower then sit in the steam room for ten minutes then have another cold shower (it's right outside the steam room) then go back into the steam room for a further 5 minutes then finish with a cold shower. I guess that's kind of similar?
Contrast Showers

1) Heat Shock Protein are elicited to some degree with Contrast Showers; promoting recovery.

2) Increase Blood Flow To Tissue.

The circulatory system deliverers nutrient to tissue and takes out the garbage (metabolites) produced by exercise. Thus, increasing blood flow to the tissue promotes recovery.

The Garden Hose Effect

Contrast Showers dramatically decrease blood flow to the tissue.

Cold restricts blood flow to the tissue; similar how water flow is restricted by crimping a garden hose. It dams up blood.

Heat dramatically increases blood flow tissue.

When a cold shower is followed by heat (hot sauna) it amount to Un-crimping the garden hose that dammed up the water; a lager amount of water gushes out with more force.

The same occurs when you apply cold to tissue then follow it with heat. The dammed up blood floods the muscle tissue, enhancing recovery.

Kenny Croxdale
 
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