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Cold Exposure Benefits

We use deliberate cold exposure daily (in a kitted out chest freezer as I share in this video) as a way to improve our focus and concentration as Neurodivergent adults, and I also incorporate it at the end of our Carer Empowerment sessions at the beach to achieve the same.



We know that getting into/under cold water greatly increases epinephrine levels and dopamine levels in the brain and blood. In fact increases in dopamine are massive - near doubling or more of dopamine levels that are very long lasting for hours, and epinephrine and cortisol levels are also increased, in ways that support not just immune system function (because they do that), and mood (because it does that), but they can really improve concentration and focus.


In fact, if you want to remember something, it’s been proven that putting people into cold water right after they learn something will increase your epinephrine as a way to consolidate those memories.


So how cold? It should be uncomfortably cold (ie you really want to get out), but safe to stay in for one to five minutes - ie not so cold that it's going to give you a heart attack and not so warm that it's comfortable that it doesn't create that adrenaline release.

As you can see from my brave video here - lol - I have my ice bath’s cold enough to shock my system as I get in (the initial scream never goes away - lol) but at a temp I can start to regulate my breathing and stay in for 3 minutes.


COLD EXPOSURE BENEFITS

  • Release of Norepinephrine + Dopamine

  • Activation of Brown Adipose Tissue

  • Increased Metabolic Rate

  • Increase in Immune Cells

  • Increased Mitochondrial Biogenesis

  • Mental Resilience + Stress Management

  • Environmental Tolerance

The protocol I use for myself is daily 3 minute ice baths after my morning workout (as I am not going for 'gains' in my workout) or after something I am studying that I want to remember, and on Sundays I do 3 x 15 min sauna & 3 x 3 min ice baths alternating - always starting on a sauna and always finishing on an ice-bath... and I have been doing this for about 6 year now and on to my third kitted out chest freezer.


Let's not be silly though - anytime you are going to take on a new protocol, you should absolutely consult a board certified physician before initiating that protocol. In general, when embarking on new protocols in particular, if they involve strong stimuli like changing temperature I would encourage you to progress gradually by starting at least 30 seconds of cold showers each day and increasing. I will pop some research in the comments.


We are WORTHY of doing hard things!


- 'WC' T ♡

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