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Let’s face it; there’s nothing pleasant about jumping into a freezing lake or turning on a cold shower. So, if we’re going to do it, there had better be some pretty compelling reasons to do so. It turns out that there are – cold shock therapy has been shown to assist with fat loss, boost immunity, fight inflammation, combat oxidative stress and, potentially, support longevity. 

In this article, we take a closer look at the anti aging and healthspan hacking benefits of cold shock therapy.

What is Cold Shock Therapy?

There are a number of different cold shock therapy methods. They include jumping into a cold lake or pool, taking a cold shower or entering a cryotherapy chamber. Each of these methods will place cold stress on the body. 

Just like heat stress, cold stress is a type of hormetic stress. It activates a number of genetic pathways that help us to deal with stress. 

How Does the Body Respond to Cold Stress?

One of the most immediate reactions that the body has to cold stress is the increased release of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. This neurotransmitter plays a key role in controlling our focus, attention and mood. The more of it that is released, the better we feel. As a result it is used pharmacologically to treat depression and ADHD. Yet, it can be released naturally through cold shock therapy.

Twenty seconds of submersion in a 4.4 degrees celsius bath has been shown to increase the levels of norepinephrine by 200-300 percent. 

Norepinephrine also acts as a hormone in the body. It causes vasoconstriction, which is a method that we use to conserve heat when we are cold. Another way we conserve heat when we are extremely cold is to increase mitochondrial biogenesis in fat and muscle tissue. That means that new mitochondria is produced. Mitochondria are the energy producing units inside our cells. The process of generating energy also generates heat and burns stored body fat. (1)

maya_elhalal_longevity_healthspan

Increased mitochondria in muscle tissue allows a person to more effectively use oxygen. As a result, improved mitochondria in the muscle through the use of cold shock therapy has been seen to improve aerobic capacity. Cold exposure has also been shown to improve endurance performance. 

Cold Shock Therapy & Longevity

A number of recent animal studies suggest that cold shock therapy may have a positive effect on longevity in humans. One study showed that reducing the environmental temperature of flies from 27 degrees to 21 degrees doubled their life span. A number of similar studies on other creatures has found a negative correlation between temperature and lifespan. (2 ) (3)

Researchers have postulated that the increased life span that results from cold shock therapy could be due to the concept known as hormesis. This refers to the process of introducing a shock to the body in order to elicit a reaction from the body in order to prepare it for an even more acute form of the stress in the future. This is the same concept by which muscles get bigger and stronger after the stress of exercise in order to prepare for the next workout. (4)

One of the hormesis induced responses to cold shock therapy is the slowing down of metabolic processes. A result of this is that there are a reduced number of metabolic by-products, such as reactive oxygen species that results in oxidative stress. (5)

Cold shock therapy has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is not only a key factor in disease and illness, it has also been shown to a major factor in aging. In addition to all of its other properties, the neurotransmitter/hormone norepinephrine has been shown to reduce inflammation. It does so by decreasing an inflammation causing molecule called TNF-Alpha, as well as inflammatory cytokines that cause such inflammatory responses as arthritis.(6)

maya_elhalal_longevity_healthspan

Cold shock therapy has also been seen to enhance immune function. One of the reactions to the shock of cold therapy is the increased production of white blood cells as well as other immunologically beneficial cells. One of these is cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which have the ability to kill cancer cells. (7)

Summary

To the uninitiated, cold shock therapy may appear to be a pointless exercise in self administered pain. To those in the know, however, it is a fantastic biohacking method that has proven itself in terms of anti-aging, fat loss, energy enhancement and mood elevation. 

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3726172/

(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/823384/

(3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24019937/

(4) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10522-006-9018-x?LI=true

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486781/

(6) https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0110774

(7) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8925815/

Heat Shock Therapy has been shown to be a powerful booster of health and a key tool in the fight against aging. Find out how incorporating heat therapy into your life can make you a happier, healthier person. 

maya_elhalal_longevity_healthspan

When we were young we were taught to avoid heat. Touching the element on the oven would burn us, getting too close to the fire would soon become uncomfortable and having the heater up too high would blow out the power bill. It turns out, though, that heat, when used the right way, can be extremely beneficial. In this article we delve into the topic of heat shock therapy. We’ll answer 3 key questions:

  • What is it
  • Why we should do it
  • How to get started

What is Heat Shock Therapy?

Heat shock treatment is application of heat stress to the body in order to elicit positive responses in the body. When heat stress is applied to the body, we respond by going into a state of shock. The body then goes undergoes the fight or flight response in order to meet the crisis. It will undertake a number of mechanisms to meet the crisis in future. This is very similar to the body’s response to cold exposure. It is also the mechanism that the muscles of your body go through when you exercise. During the recovery process, the muscles will get bigger and stronger to meet the challenges of the next workout. 

How Does Heat Shock Treatment Act as a Lifespan Hack?

There are many benefits related to heat shock treatment such as daily sauna use. Here are four that are directly related to longevity.

Heart Health

A number of studies have shown the heat shock therapy is beneficial for heart health. In one study, Finnish researchers followed 2,300 men over a period of 20 years. They found that an increased incidence of sauna usage was directly related to a lower risk of coronary heart disease. Other research has revealed that a 30 minute sauna session post exercise significantly increases oxygen consumption and red blood cell count. This leads to increased cardio output and stronger heart muscles. (1)

Enhanced Immune System

Research that was published in the Journal of Human Kinetics showed that sauna use is able to enhance white blood cell count, cortisol and lymphocyte levels. These markers are all indicators of improved immune system functioning. Another study showed that regular sauna use can reduce the incidence of getting a cold or influenza by as much as 30%. (2)

Anti Aging Proteins

One of the ways the body responds to heat stress is by producing a special type of proteins called, naturally, Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs). These proteins are extremely beneficial. One thing they do is to help the immune system to stabilize all of the other proteins in the body. This is instrumental to the prevention of such age related conditions as Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. (3)

Heat stress also stimulates the production of what is called the FOXO3 gene. This gene has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing aging. It is also instrumental in the repair of DNA. (4)

Human Growth Hormone Production

A number of studies have shown that regular sauna use can stimulate the body’s natural production of human growth hormone. This hormone stimulates growth and cell reproduction and is responsible for a whole host of other health related benefits that combat aging. (5)

How to Get Started with Heat Shock Therapy 

Having established that heart shock therapy in the form of regular sauna treatments is extremely beneficial in terms of longevity, let’s talk about how to get started. 

The first thing is to choose the right type of sauna. Research has shown that infra red saunas provide the most benefit. That’s because they don’t heat the surrounding air. Through the use of infra red lamps they directly penetrate to your body. Infra red saunas are also more comfortable, as you don’t end up feeling overwhelmed by the dry, hot, stuffy air in the sauna. Infrared saunas also allow your core body to rise. As a result, you can benefit from lower temperatures than a conventional sauna. 

Unless you purchase your own infra red sauna, you will need to find a local health club that includes their use in the membership. Many gyms will offer this. Before entering the sauna, drink two to four glasses of water. Bring a towel with you to sit upon. Start with 10 minutes of sauna use, increasing to a maximum of 20 minutes. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, leave the sauna immediately. 

When you have finished with your sauna, take a relaxing shower and then relax for 10-15 minutes before getting on with your day. 

References

  1. https://media.jamanetwork.com/news-item/sauna-use-associated-with-reduced-risk-of-cardiac-all-cause-mortality/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3916915/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17110516/
  4. https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2017/09/foxo-genes-and-human-longevity/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/999213/