Why Try Contrast Therapy?

The BioPerformance Institute
September 23, 2022

Contrast therapy, as the name suggests, is the use of two forms of temperatures, hot and cold. Today, this therapy is catching on as novel idea for improved heath. However, this practice has been used in many different cultures for thousands of years. In the most basic sense, this natural method can be used for soothing sore muscles, aches, and pains in the body. At BioPerformance Institute (BPi), we take it a step further with our clients. Instead of just using contrast as a therapy for acute muscle soreness, we train clients for improved mental fortitude and stress resilience. If you can keep calm under the stress of cold water everything else seems easy. 

Contrast therapy at BPi involves a 15-minute sauna session (196 F), 2 Minute cold plunge (39 F), 15-minute sauna session, and finish with 2 minutes of cold plunge. 

The contrast of hot sauna to cold water impacts the body’s circulation of blood. This is called “vasoconstriction” in the cold and “vasodilation” in the hot.

When immersed in freezing cold water (vasoconstriction) the arteries will constrict, take blood from peripheral tissues and bring increased blood to internal organs, which protects what’s most important to survival. During this acute vasoconstriction, the heart will beat faster, blood pressure will rise, blood will flow slower, and the body will begin to burn fat for heat (Non-shivering Thermogenesis). 

In contrast (pun intended), the opposite happens in the heat. In the sauna blood vessels dilate (vasodilation). Vasodilation causes heart rate to slow down, decreases blood pressure, and cause blood to flow faster to help the body cool down. 

This repetitive process is essentially a workout for your circulatory system. Forcing the body to heat/cool itself is a phenomenal way to improve circulatory system health, maintain healthy blood pressure, and improve the body’s ability to utilize fat as energy.

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