The use of cold therapy to treat injury and inflammation dates back to 2500 B.C. Used to soothe swelling and for an analgesic effect, it also became known as an effective treatment for neuralgia and migraines.
The application of cold exerts various effects on the body:
• Hemodynamic: by constricting the blood vessels in muscle tissue and reducing blood flow, cryotherapy slows bruising; 10-15 minutes of exposure to 50°F (10ºC) or below is enough to produce a vasoconstriction-vasodilation cycle.
• Neuromuscular: the blood is thickened, making it more viscous, reducing metabolic activity and inhibiting the nervous system – immediately resulting in pain reduction.
• Analgesic and anti-inflammatory: as metabolic activity is reduced, the production of vasoactive substances (angiotensin 2, adrenaline, norepinephrine, vasopressin, phenylephrine, prostacyclin, nitric oxide and PGF2) increases. These molecules effect vasodilation and vasoconstriction, reducing the inflammatory response, edema, and alleviating pain.
Upon entering a snow cabin, the body reacts with vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) and blood flow protects vital organs. According to studies, this is beneficial for those suffering from hypertension, especially when repeated regularly. The use of a snow room in combination with a sauna improves sleep, reduces pain, improves mood and increases energy, as well as providing stress relief, improved breathing, smoother skin and a healthier sense of self.
The snow cabin is a unique experience, and alongside ice fountains, cryotherapy chambers and cold plunges, it is one of the most important phases of the four-phase hydrothermal circuit consisting of heat, cold, hydration and rest.
This type of equipment revives the desire to return to the sauna after breathing the cold air, refreshing the lungs and respiratory tract. The temperature contrast provided by cold equipment profoundly affects the human body, reactivating the cardiovascular system and peripheral nerves. Cold therapy is invigorating, reduces inflammation and helps to activate the circulatory, cardiac and mental functions of the body.
Snow cabins can be integrated into different spaces, one of the alternatives for this is, for example, the Ice Experience offered by Freixanet Wellness, a space with interior walls covered with a thin and solid layer of ice, which, together with suitable light treatment, offers a particularly comforting feeling of relaxation, complemented inside with other related equipment such as the cold water pool, the snow shower or the ice fountain, adapting to the guests’ needs.
By Freixanet Wellness
Ice bath training for wellness professionals
Ice baths and cold exposure therapy are exploding in popularity within the wellness industry, millions of regular practitioners report benefits to their physical and mental health. Tourists and travelers to Mexico and Latin America are enjoying the benefits of ice baths as well as joining communities that gather around them.
Wellness focussed resorts and hotels have a rare chance to enhance their guests’ stays by offering ice bath experiences. ReConnect, a top-tier ice bath company based in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, hosts breathwork and ice bath experiences open to locals and tourists alike at a stunning beach location. With a wealth of experience hosting hundreds of ice baths for thousands of people, ReConnect has developed a 4-hour training program for spa and wellness businesses and resorts available across Latin America, teaching staff how to safely and effectively facilitate ice bath experiences. Longer, custom trainings are also available upon request.
By completing this training, spas, hotels and resorts can add a truly unique experience to their portfolio of services, encouraging them to recommend and return.
The program was created by ReConnect Founder, Kevin Connelly. An experienced cold exposure and certified breathwork coach who also studied with breath expert and best-selling author, James Nestor.
Ice baths: cure or madness?
Ice baths may seem like a strange idea, since cold causes a feeling of discomfort. However, studies have shown that cold immersion via ice baths activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which immediately responds by increasing adrenaline production by 530% and dopamine by 250%. This, in turn, helps to improve concentration, energy and overall mood.
When immersed in ice water, the changes in respiration activate our metabolism, thereby promoting weight loss, regulating autoimmune diseases and helping to combat the signs of aging. In addition, exposure to cold has been linked to reduced inflammation, better sleep, and increased resistance to stress.
With consistent practice, ice baths can offer a multitude of physical and mental health benefits that can help you to maximize your performance. For safety, professional guidance is recommended. Hominum offers ice bath workshops for all levels across Latin America.
Benefits of Ice Baths
Ice bathing has excellent benefits for both physical and mental health. Although it has become a popular trend nowadays, it is a practice that athletes have been using for years to accelerate recovery and increase performance, as it reduces cellular inflammation and boosts circulation.
It also induces hormetic stress, which is a momentary stress that activates the body’s adaptive responses and triggers the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that influence the body to return to balance, or homeostasis.
However, what makes this practice unique is the opportunity to test our ability to achieve things we thought impossible, breaking down limiting beliefs and letting go of resistance, by focusing the mind and learning to breathe correctly.