As you may know from watching my trending-toward-viral YouTube video, I am very excited and committed to my daily morning and evening chest freezer cold plunge regimen, for a variety of reasons detailed in the show.
Cold exposure delivers an instant boost of mood elevating hormones into the brain, namely epinephrine and norepinephrine. It enhances blood circulation and oxygen delivery throughout the body, and delivers a potent anti-inflammatory effect. These are all hormetic benefits, meaning a brief, natural stressor that makes the body more efficient and resilient. Sauna exposure delivers similar hormetic benefits, as the body is challenged to work hard and cool back down (or rewarm, in the case of a cold plunge) to homeostasis.
What’s really interesting are the potential benefits of cold exposure to enhance focus, discipline and confidence. I offer numerous anecdotes from both big shots and regular folks who are into cold therapy, including my original inspiration and future podcast guest Dave Kobrine in Newport Coast, CA, the amazing Dude Spellings of Austin, TX (run 3 miles, soak 20 min at 50°F pond in wintertime, run home!) and my young friend in Sacramento, “Dr. Dre,” who claimed that after just two chest freezer sessions at my backyard luxury spa and workout facility, he experienced a noticeable reduction in anxiety to the extent that he felt more confident in communications at work. Tony Robbins starts his day with a cold plunge, and reportedly has a cold plunge at each of his seven luxury homes around the world. Aubrey Marcus of Onnit starts his day with cold exposure as a component of his popular Own The Day lifestyle book. Many other listeners are weighing in and sharing their positive stories about cold therapy, including all-time great Speedgolf legend and future podcast guest Christopher Smith and NBA legend LeBron James. Okay, not really on LeBron but maybe this will help with SEO for this article? That stands for Search Engine Optimization. For your personal engine’s optimization, consider getting into cold therapy. Yeah, the chest freezer is badass and a big commitment, but you can get started easily into this world by finishing your morning and/or evening showers with 3 minutes of cold water. Soon, you will be intrigued enough to start browsing HomeDepot.com for the 15 cubit foot Frigidaire chest freezer!
Other tidbits: Cold exposure is actually not a good idea after workouts—it can blunt inflammatory-related training adaptations and inhibit lymphatic function. Some science suggests the cryotherapy chambers are less effective than cold water. Cyro enthusiasts point to science suggesting the opposite. One thing is for sure, a chest freezer is the ultimate level of sophistication for affordable anytime, anywhere access to cold water, with cryo sessions coming in vastly more expensive and less convenient. Check out the book from future podcast guest Scott Carney, What Doesn’t Kill Us, about the profound benefits of challenging the body through cold exposure, high altitude and more to help “reawaken our evolutionary strength.”
The benefits of cold therapy include honing our resiliency in overall immune function, cognitive function, and metabolic function. However, it might not be the ideal way to recover from intense exercise. [00:00:37]
People who use cold water therapy actually have fewer upper respiratory infections than people who don’t. [00:07:55]
Tony Robbins says this cold therapy actually trains his brain not to hesitate, but to act. [00:11:54]
Brad is really meditating while in the cold tub. Breathing is a huge component of cold exposure. [00:13:19]
Brad’s friend Dave Kobrine finishes his morning cold plunge routine with a jog for a couple of miles. [00:22:00]
Dude Spellings is convinced that cold therapy resets the autonomic nervous system. [00:24:28]
Being in the water long changes your mitochondrial heteroplasmy to look more like a young person. [00:29:45]
Brian McAndrew: “All I know is that the worse I made myself feel in the moment by staying as long as I could in the cold, the better I felt afterword in regard to mood.”[00:32:41]
Mark Sisson talks about cold therapy “I’d also suggest that cold exposure helps improve your focus, confidence, and mental resilience particularly since you will improve your tolerance and appreciation over time. These benefits will carry over into all areas of life.” [00:35:08]
“Dr. Dre”, a young friend of Brad, mustered up the courage to try this and as soon as he did it, he found his anxiety reduced. [00:36:11]
Brad describes his own fitness routines. [00:37:11]
Here the benefits and science of cold therapy are examined. Cold therapy helps your body control inflammation and blood circulation improves. [00:39:58]
Cooling the body and lowering of heart rate helps you fall into a good night’s sleep. [00:42:22]
Cold exposure right after workout hampers the desirable inflammatory processes. That’s why it feels so good. [00:43:41]
Cold exposure also inhibits the functioning of the lymphatic system in clearing the inflammatory toxins from the blood stream. [00:44:01]
Andrew MacNaughton: “Don’t help your body. Otherwise you lose some of the adaptation you’re seeking through your challenging workouts.”[00:44:37]
The more counterintuitive it is, the more intuitive it becomes.[00:44:55]
Cold Therapy is not a proven way to stimulate fat reduction. [00:45:26]
The best practice is to warm up naturally. [00:47:02]
Norepinephrine can rise 200 to 300 percent with just a 20 second immersion into freezing water just a couple of times a week! Norepinephrine helps reduce inflammation. [00:48:02]
Stay in until you shiver. [00:51:59]
How to get started on this cold therapy regimen. [00:55:29]
- Brad’s viral YouTube video, Chest Freezer Cold Therapy
- The exquisite MarksDailyApple article, The (Maybe Not So) Definitive Guide to Cold Therapy
- Tony Robbins Cold Plunge
- Aubrey Marcus Cold Shower and Breath Work
- Epson Salts: Good for your chest freezer
- What doesn’t kill us
- Wim Hof: His method shows proper exposure to cold starts a cascade of health benefits.
- Mitochondrial Heteroplasmy: A look at genetics in evolution and disease.
- Rhonda Patrick: There’s more to our genes than just the so-called good and bad.
- Telomeres: If cells divided without telomeres, they would lose the ends of their chromosomes, and the necessary information they contain.
- Kelly Starrett: A coach, physical therapist, author, speaker and creator of Mobility Wod
- Whole Doods: Great photos on Instagram of delicious healthy meals.
“The more counterintuitive it is, the more intuitive it becomes.” – Brad Kearns
“Be sure to unplug the freezer before you jump in.” – Brad Kearns
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
“The best way to go when you’re talking about cold exposure is to get yourself a chest freezer and fill it up with water, and have this ready-made, anytime., anywhere called plunge.
That cold exposure helps improve your focus, confidence and mental resilience. These benefits will carry over into all other areas of life.”
Hi listeners, I’m so excited to introduce to you the wonderful hobby health practice of cold water therapy, and cold exposure in general. This has become a hot topic in progressive health circles lately, as people are discovering more and more research and scientific support for the amazing benefits of exposing yourself to cold water or cold air for brief periods of time for this positive, natural stressor. Helping us hone our resiliency in our overall immune function, cognitive function, metabolic function.
This has a genetic or an evolutionary rationale, because today in comfortable, modern life where we exist in air-conditioned environments and never struggle or suffer in the way that our ancestors did, that allowed them to hone their physical and environmental survival skills. We don’t really need that anymore, but we can still benefit from what we call hormetic stressors or a positive natural stressor. A sauna has a similar effect of elevating your body temperature, and then your body has to work hard to return to homeostasis and normal body temperature in a similar manner. When you expose yourself to cold, you get the same, brief burst of positive hormones. I’ll talk much more about them later in the show and talk about the different forms of cold therapy, especially the chest freezer.
You may be familiar with the increasing popularity of these cryotherapy clinics, where you expose yourself to cold air by standing in a chamber or enclosing your body in a chamber with your hands and face sticking out. And you’re subjected to a brief period of time where the air temperature is -200 degrees below Fahrenheit. The cold water therapy exposure can go from 33 degrees rather than a block of ice, right? So, just above freezing all the way up to water in the 50s and getting these wonderful, positive natural stressors.
But, some distinctions about what we’ve thought about cold exposure to date, one of them is that it might not be the ideal way to recover from intense exercise. So, the usual use of cold therapy has been to jump into the cold whirlpool after a football practice or to ice your legs in the freezing river after doing a long, hard run. And while these are great sensations and it feels great because it kind of deadens the pain that you’ve incurred and the inflammation that you’ve incurred from the athletic effort, it might actually delay your recovery time by inhibiting the functioning of the lymphatic system, removing toxins from the tissues. And it also might interfere with the training adaptation.
In other words, inflammation is part of the fitness adaptation process, and you want to work through that naturally after workout. So, the optimal time for cold exposure is away from workouts and you’re going for these more generalized benefits of inflammation control, enhanced cellular immune and cognitive function, and all that anti-aging, hormonal benefits, cellular repair benefits, things of that nature, which I’ll talk about in more detail over the post.
It’s also, I feel like there are some psychological benefits that are more difficult to quantify, but I’ve integrated my morning cold plunge and evening cold plunge before bed into my daily routine. And I feel like it has greatly enhanced my ability to be focused, disciplined, and proactive with how I conduct my day. Because this has become a fixed element of my daily routine.
I don’t need to summon any willpower or psych myself up to jump into this 33-degree water. It’s just part of my life and I look forward to it, and it actually delivers some meditative benefits. Because once you’re in that cold of water, all I do is focus on my breathing and I complete 20 deep diaphragmatic breath cycles. And I have wonderful success getting into that meditative state where I’m thinking of nothing else except for my breath. And that’s due to the cold water, because I really do have a difficult time sitting on a tree stump and crossing my legs and trying to meditate the natural way.
So, I hope that sets you up enough to understand the rest of the content, where I’m talking about the health practices of different proponents of cold exposure and getting into detail about how to set yourself up with the very best ultimate level of sophistication, which is to fill up one of those top opening chest freezers with water, and then keep the water at the optimally cold temperature.
You can also get started in a simple way by finishing your morning shower with two to three minutes of coldest water possible. And so, you’ll get sort of a sense of what that cold exposure feels like. And then if you desire, you can get further and further into the practice.
The best way to go when you’re talking about cold exposure is to get yourself a chest freezer and fill it up with water and have this ready-made anytime, anywhere cold plunge. I like to go as cold as possible, down to 33 degrees Fahrenheit, pushing the icicles out of the way for a short-term brief plunge into that water first thing in the morning. And I also do it last thing at night before bed.
So, what happens first thing in the morning, is you get this hormonal wakeup call, this natural hormetic stressor. A positive natural stressor that gives me a burst of epinephrine, norepinephrine into my brain, enhances oxygen delivery throughout the body, enhances blood circulation. And as anyone who’s jumped into cold water knows, it just wakes your ass up. That’s a quote from Tony Robbins, who’s a big proponent of cold therapy.
If you look over to marksdailyapple.com, there was a wonderful recent post, very lengthy and detailed, called The (Not So) Definitive Guide to Cold Therapy. And that’s because making fun of a lot of the conventional view of cold therapy has actually been counterproductive and ineffective.
So, we’re used to using cold exposure as a post-workout recovery method. And while it does feel fantastic to cool your legs down after a tough run or a tough football practice in the NFL, where they jump into those whirlpools, it can actually get in the way of the training adaptations.
So, the best time to use cold therapy is for these hormonal and health and cardiovascular and immune function benefits, away from the stimulus of training. So, that’s the number one recalibration of our mindset here; is we’re using cold therapy not to help the muscles recover after workouts. That’s just a misnomer. And instead, we’re going for these hormonal benefits of the hormetic stressor, positive natural stressor.
So, we have the wonderfully detailed article at marksdailyapple.com. We have my YouTube video for how to get all set up with the chest freezer. And now, I’m going to talk about some assorted feedback from actual cold water enthusiasts. Talk about some of the big shots who are doing it. I mentioned Tony Robbins, Aubrey Marcus – the guy behind Onnit and the popular podcast, is a big proponent of cold water therapy. He just wrote that book about owning the day and getting all these peak performance attributes set up to succeed with your lifestyle goals, exercise, health, career, all that stuff.
But I heard him on a podcast and the very first thing he said when he was asked about some of these winning behaviors that he likes to recommend, was exposure to cold. And in his case, he was talking about a three-minute cold shower to start his day. So, he talked about the hormonal benefits, the norepinephrine burst, the epinephrine burst, and he also mentioned this common recurring theme that’s becoming a big part of the cold therapy scene and the discussed benefits. And that is the mental edge of psyching himself up, accepting the challenge instead of wussing out, again, quoting him.
He also mentioned some research, tons of great research, and there’s links in the Mark’s Daily Apple article. But he mentioned research that people who regularly engage in cold water therapy actually have fewer upper respiratory tract infections than people who don’t. So, the old wives’ tale that we’ve always heard is actually backwards. So, go out and expose yourself to cold once in a while in a measured manner, right? Not to the extreme where you’re going to get yourself rundown. Obviously, that’s a bad health practice. But this brief hormetic exposure to cold can actually boost your immune function.
So, Tony Robbins, he’s got a nice YouTube video. You can search for Tony Robbins Cold Plunge and see this cool little miniature pool that he built at his home in Florida. It’s in the ground pool, like a regular pool, but it’s just basically the size of a little chamber like from a James Bond movie. And he just jumps in there every morning. He jumps on the trampoline a little bit, works the lymphatic system with that new popular activity of mini trampoline jumping that’s being highly touted to help improve lymphatic function, give you a little bit of cardio. So, he does this little trampoline scene and then he jumps into the water and makes a big deal about how cold it is. And he says, “56 degrees baby.” So, I got 33 baby, how about that?
But again, if you’re going in this range from just above freezing all the way up to 60, let’s say being the highest number where you’re going to actually call it cold water therapy. Of course, you’re going to have some justification for staying longer the higher the temperature is. I kind of like that shorter burst where it’s a real shock to the system and get that initial hormonal response, and also not have to stay as long.
I even found it possibly more difficult to go for five or six minutes with water in the low 50s than I do for my three-minute plunge into the 33-degree water. So anyway, Tony keeps his pool at 56 degrees and it’s also known that in all seven of his luxury homes across the world, in Fiji and in Sun Valley and in Florida, he has at his disposal an ultra-hot dry sauna, where he cranks it up above the usual health club sauna, which goes from … usually they’re one 175 to 190 and he’s going up to 212 for this really hot exposure. Also, a highly touted health practice. We might have to do a whole show on sauna.
People like Dr. Rhonda Patrick, you can search her work on YouTube and on her podcast. Where she talks about the heat shock proteins and all these amazing benefits of sauna for recovery from activity, immune function, and parallel benefits with cold exposure. So, now they’re talking about these cold shock proteins that are released when you expose yourself to cold and they deliver similar benefits to the highly touted heat shock proteins.
So, as you might expect from Tony Robbins, he’s also touting the cognitive, the peak performance benefits of doing this cold plunge every morning. And he says that he believes that it trains his brain to be more focused and disciplined. Quote;
“I tell my brain what to do and it just does it. It trains the mind not to hesitate but to act, and when I jump in, every cell in my body is alive. I’m training my body to be strong, so we have a strong mind, strong body, and it also goes vice versa.”
Okay, so, if your body can take it, your brain tells your body you can take it, you kind of get that resilience and that focus. And I’m not going to go overboard on these kinds of benefits and I’m a little sick of people talking about, as I said in another show, making their bed and all of a sudden, they’re more productive or even meditation is going to be the ultimate life changer. And if you’re not doing it, you should feel bad. That kind of message is a little tiny bit overboard for me.
My retort is that you can meditate anytime, anyplace. You can meditate while chopping a cucumber. You can meditate while walking down the street and looking at the trees. But on that note, I find when I jump into that cold water, it’s pretty funny because I can’t do anything else. I have to completely focus on my breath in order to maintain the time duration and accept that cold water peacefully and wilfully.
I remember a couple of times, I jumped in there while a podcast was going. To kind of pass the time, I thought I would listen to something or even listen to music, and I couldn’t handle it. I had to throw the phone over and just go back to a complete focus and concentration on my breathing. And then after doing this a few times, I realized, “Hey, I’m actually meditating while I’m in the cold tub for real. Like I’m thinking about nothing else, but completing 20 deep diaphragmatic breath cycles.”
Those familiar with the Wim Hof method; Wim is his first name. They call him the Iceman. He does these superhuman feats of cold exposure that are just absolutely mind blowing. You can look for him on YouTube. He sat immersed completely in a pack of ice, surrounded by ice cubes for an hour and 45 minutes. An exposure that would kill almost everyone, but he believes that his breathing techniques and his strategies, which he believes can be taught to anybody to become cold superstars. He believes this is what enables him to do these amazing feats.
He also climbed Mount Everest, I believe in a pair of running shorts only. So yeah, this guy is a trip. He’s getting really popular with his Wim Hof method. People are getting into the breathing, but he touts the breathing as a huge component of cold exposure, and you can see his breath cycles and these drills that he does before he goes swimming in a freezing cold lake in the middle of winter, around the icebergs in Scandinavia or wherever he’s filming at.
Pretty cool stuff. And personally, on that small level with this random dude in Sacramento going into his chest freezer in his backyard, I really do feel that the breathing is a critical part of it. It’s a wonderful meditative experience and it gives me that focus and resiliency that Tony Robbins is talking about to start my day, and it carries over into other peak performance aspirations that you have during the day. I’m going to read some amazing quotes from real live enthusiasts who have just started out on this journey or some experienced people that have been doing it for a while and how it’s given them positive benefits.
So, that’s the Tony quote. And then we have also Kay Starr, Kelly Starrett; the world-renowned author of Becoming a Supple Leopard. The person behind mobilitywod.com. He’s a legend in the CrossFit community for these daily videos that he put up for a long time, and you can go and look at them. It’s mobility W-O-D, as in Workout of the Day. So, there’s a mobility session every single day. Kind of in the CrossFit spirit of having a workout of the day.
He’s also the proprietor of the awesome San Francisco CrossFit facility, and this guy’s everywhere helping the world’s elite athletes. He’s on the side-line at NFL games, helping these players unjam their joints with his voodoo floss strap. Another amazing healing protocol that helped cure my six-month condition of tennis elbow in a very short time.
So, get into his act. We’ll get him on the show too. He’s amazing. And he’s a huge proponent of cold therapy and also what we might call contrast therapy, where you jump in cold, you go into a heated environment like a sauna, back into cold, back into heat, and it’s a wonderfully relaxing technique that the Finns have done for hundreds of years with their sauna practices. It’s such a central part of their culture. Oftentimes, the saunas are built in proximity to lakes, which even in the wintertime, this is a year-round sauna practice. In the Finnish culture, they’ll cool off from sauna exposure with a jump into a cold lake even in the middle of winter.
My original inspiration to really take action and get a setup at my home, was my old friend from childhood high school, Dave Colebrin. A peak performance model himself, man. Going strong since his high school days when he was a basketball superstar and walked on and made his way to the UCLA Bruins when they were the number one team in the nation. Average white dude from the San Fernando Valley, out there, playing and practicing against the best players in the world. But then, even more distinctively, after finishing his basketball career at UCLA, the very next year he finished the Hawaii Ironman.
So, he just took on this new challenge, became a long-time endurance athlete with tons of marathons. His entire family, his father, his brothers, just marathon machines. His father, Ron ran Boston Marathon 30 years in a row with some very nice times. Even though he was starting in his late 40s and continuing into his 70s, and usually bursting three hours. So, a lot of athletes in that family.
Dave’s kids are both national level volleyball players that are going to be playing for UCLA in the years ahead. And he got into this cold therapy pretty big time, by getting the chest freezer. Started out by making blocks of ice in plastic tubs and then dumping the blocks of ice into his master bathroom. Going for a little run, jumping in. And we finally got wise like many other people and just popped for the chest freezer, so that you get to have this ready-made thing without all the protocol and the logistics.
So, I asked Dave to detail some of his experience. But when I first walked into that master bathroom and saw the chest freezer up there on this little space above this luxury bath tub, I’m like, “All right man, I got to get going on this. This is awesome.”
So, Dave says;
“I like experimenting and always trying new things, and that’s how I started with the cold therapy. I heard about it on some podcasts like Tony Robbins, and I’ve developed it over four stages. Started with the cold shower.”
So, those of you listening that want to just dabble in this, see what it’s like. Cold shower of course, is the easy way to start. And you can even have my permission and others to take your usual shower, but just end with a couple of minutes of cold. So, it’s not so daunting, it’s stepping in and spraying that cold water. I hate that even though I’m a cold enthusiast and coming into 33-degree tubs, I just hate that spray of cold water right out of the gate. So, you take your normal shower and then end with a few minutes of cold exposure.
Most places are not going to deliver that extremely cold water that has the maximum hormonal benefits. So, it’s just a nice starting point. You’re certainly not going to get cold or shivery, ending a warm shower with a few minutes of cold exposure, but you will have that refreshing kind of finish where it’s a nice way to … maybe you’ll decide to end all your showers with a little bit of cold as I do now, just to help me kind of get out of there feeling refreshed rather than kind of overly heated up, which I don’t like that sensation as much.
So, Dave said he started with that cold shower, and then he started doing the ice in the bathtub scene, refilling the plastic buckets every time he took an ice bath. Then his third progression of his commitment to cold therapy was getting one of those 100-gallon stock tubs, livestock tubs that they sell at the feed stores. You can get them on Amazon too. Unfortunately, I recommended that to him and that is now turning into be a big waste. I ended up giving away my livestock tub to possible interested farmer or someone. Maybe they were going to use it as a plant or actually …
But then going finally to the ultimate level of sophistication, which is the chest freezer. And we’re talking about those top opening freezers that we generally use. We see them in the meat store, the butcher or whatever. And you know, people have them at home if they’re storing extra freezer stuff. So, you get this top opening chest freezer in the neighbourhood of 12 to 15 cubic feet. I went for a 15-cubic foot one just because I wanted to have a little more space in there. It’s plenty of room. You can probably get away with a 12 unless you’re one of the bigger people on the planet.
So, back to Dave’s quote;
“This is where I’m at now with the chest freezer. Love it, I do it every morning. I like the discipline. I always feel great when I get out and ready to attack the day. I follow your protocol, Brad, doing about three minutes in the mid to high 30s. I just changed the water today, so it’s in the 40s and now I’m compelled to do the four minutes at 44 degrees since you quoted me on that in the article.”
Yeah, that’s right, man. Everyone’s watching you now Dave, you’re no longer anonymous.
Then interesting. This is the part I’m really digging. I can’t say I’m doing it myself, but it’s something to think about, especially if you’re an endurance athlete with endurance goals. Is that he finishes the cold bath with a two-mile trail run, nice and slow aerobic run, nothing serious. Nothing that’s even going to get in the way of his usual training routine, where he’s going in the gym or he’s doing a more ambitious training run for his spartan race goals and things like that.
So, he just gets out and jogs for a couple of miles, to get some fresh air, some sun, and to loosen up and of course, warm up a little bit. So, that is a really cool package right there. To start your day with that cold exposure, and then get out there and get loose and get some exercise.
Three to four days a week, he follows up the run with a good workout in the gym of about an hour. Some of that stuff is high intensity and then other times he’s focusing more on mobility, stretching, things like that that maybe aren’t so strenuous. But putting that hour in, three to four days a week, and then he gets off to work. He feels like a million bucks and he can cruise all day and allow his younger brothers to do most of the work at their actuarial firm in Orange County there.
He also mentions that one day a week, he does a hard run where he’s going for maybe a minute hard or doing a series of 30-second sprints. I love his fitness routine and his lifelong commitment to fitness. Just an incredible athlete in the old days and then just keeping it going. That’s a pretty good commitment to fitness. Some people might shake their head and say, “Yeah, I can’t go to the gym three to four days a week for an hour.”
But just to take that general message that he’s got this morning routine dialed. You can see what a wonderful impact it has on being proactive and focused and energetic the rest of the day. Just got it down, so congratulations Dave Colebrin, Newport Coast, California.
Also, another person to tout who has a wonderful story about his cold exposure is Dude Spellings in Austin, Texas. The renaissance man of Austin, where he’s carting around his elite level daughter volleyball players. He’s getting involved in the speed golf community big time. He invented some software that allows people to bet on speed golf matches. He’s also a certified primal health coach, so he’s deep into the primal scene. And of course, all around guy getting into cold therapy, and he’s been doing it for about a year.
It’s so funny, because we didn’t even talk about until he saw my YouTube video come out, and we realized we had this common interest. So, “I’ve been doing it for about a year, a few times a week and I totally love it.” This is Dude quoting.
“I’m convinced that it resets the autonomic nervous system. My default nature is to have a short temper and be very impatient. I noticed that cold therapy really changes that and gives me much more patients and calm. I think the mild stress of the cold expands our default experience of normal, so that when something else mildly stressful happens, we are less likely to have a reflex response of categorizing it as something to get stressed about. Cold therapy definitely keeps me more on the parasympathetic nervous system side of the equation.”
So, to cut through some of that science, when he’s talking about the autonomic nervous system, the two components of the autonomic nervous system are the sympathetic, which is often referred to as the fight or flight. And the parasympathetic, which is often referred to as the rest and digest nervous system. So, you have to be digesting food when you’re in a calm, relaxed state. That’s why meal time is so important, to have that calmness and that measured pace.
But this constant balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic is necessary for health. The heart rate variability tests are also gauging that to determine when you’re overstressed, when you’re overamped, wired, hectic, frenetic in that type of routine in daily life, your sympathetic nervous system is going to predominate. Over time, that sympathetic dominance is going to lead to breakdown, burnout, illness, injury. That classic feeling of coming home and collapsing on the couch after a hectic day, where you were, go, go, go all day. You were taking short, shallow, panting breaths, indicative of sympathetic nervous system dominance, rather than the deep, calm diaphragmatic breaths, which help to engage and bring the parasympathetic into the equation.
Dr. Kelly Starrett also mentions how foam rolling is known to stimulate parasympathetic activity. So, when you roll out, let’s say at the end of the day, when you’re in front of the TV watching The Voice or the Dancing with the Stars and you get some rolling going, even into your abdominal area to help improve digestion and kick that parasympathetic nervous system into dominance and let the sympathetic calm down.
So, anything that calms us down, chills us out – what’s really happening in the body is the hormones, the chemicals are changing from that cortisol, sympathetic fight or flight dominance into the more relaxing hormonal state. That’s why that contrast therapy is so great and that’s why you feel that incredible sense of just being chilled and relaxed after you go back and forth from hot to cold. That’s one of my favorite benefits of contrast therapy. Is just that final, ultimate destination of total relaxation and parasympathetic stimulation. Same with a good rolling session in that case.
Sorry Dude, I’m interrupting your quote, but we’re going to paragraph two of Dude’s quote now. He was mentioning how the parasympathetic comes out. So, I wanted to elaborate. Back to the quote;
“In the summertime in Texas, I do my cold therapy in an oversized bathtub. It takes 80 pounds of ice to get my tub down to 55 degrees in the summer Texas heat.”
After Dude sent me this written account at my request after our engaging talks in Austin when we were at Paleo f(x) together, I scolded him and said, “Dude, you got to go get the chest freezer. You’re the perfect candidate.” And he said, “Well, what if the harsh weather outside in Texas will ruin it and cause it to fall apart?” I’m like, “Well, get a new one in six years then.” He was like, okay, now he’s going to go sell it to the family budget. I love it.
“Anyway, in the winter, check out this, guys. In the winter, there’s a pond three miles from my house on a trail. So, I run down to the pond and soak for 10 to 15 minutes and then run home soaking wet.”
I love this dude. Okay.
“I do it no matter what the temperature is, and I run with no shirt no matter what the temperature is. This past winter it snowed in Austin, Texas. (Rare, but it does get chilly down there in the wintertime for sure). I had a guy stop his car on his way to work to film me running with his iPhone since he couldn’t believe I was running with no shirt in the snow. Around the same time, I ran back from the pond when it was 28 degrees and windy. Oh boy, that was a bit much and I had to take a hot shower after that.”
So, he was pushing the limits of safety there and possibly coming home and getting run down. But hey man, it’s only three miles. He probably was picking up the pace that day. Get that hot shower, go on with your day. You got a nice hormetic stressor. So, this is what Dude says: “I do 20 minutes at 50 degrees. Brad you too could do 20 minutes.” Because when I heard that 20 minutes, I was like, “Oh my gosh, that is so much more gnarly than three minutes at 33.”
But he says, “You too can do it.” He’s talking to all of us listeners now.
“You just have to build up to it. I started out at five minutes and I added one minute every couple of days. There are benefits that you get from staying in for these longer periods, that’s why I do them.”
Now, this is really crazy, far out stuff and highly theoretical, but I think it’s correct.
“Being in the water that long, changes your mitochondrial heteroplasmy to look more like a young person.”
And thankfully, he underlined that term “mitochondrial heteroplasmy”, so we can go read about it. “Theoretically, the more you do that, the slower you age.”
You know, we’ve read about these telomeres and how they are indicative of how well we have aged over time. And there’s the belief that we can do some positive lifestyle attributes to lengthen our telomeres or delay the shortening of the telomeres. The shorter the telomere, the sort of an extension on your cells that kind of predicts the useful life of the cell, right?
So, if you have long telomeres, when you go get a test and you’re 50 years old, maybe they’re going to say that you are looking good to make it to 100. And if you have shortened telomeres coming from overly stressful lifestyle practices, chronic exercise patterns, having that sympathetic nervous system dominate every single day in our go, go, go culture.
Then eating crappy food, smoking, drinking, do drug, many bad things, you’re going to have your day where the chickens come to roost and you’re doing your test and they tell you your telomeres are short and you’re screwed. I don’t want to put too much stock into these new tests.
A listener of the Primal Endurance Podcast wrote in and was concerned that they told him his telomere length indicated he was 10 years older than he really was, even though he’s done decades of devoted endurance training and competition, and possibly overdoing it at his own admission. But I’m not going to say that that took 10 years off his life.
That’s pretty objectionable, and I think maybe the science is great, but then they’re trying to make these conclusions and projections, apply it into sort of a relevant takeaway point. And that might be the part where I’m a little objectionable to what’s going on. Same with the DNA tests. A lot of this stuff is wonderful insights, and then if they try to get too cute, sometimes you can kind of shrug this stuff off, anyway.
So, back to Dude. The more you do this cold exposure and optimize this mitochondrial function, the slower you age.
“I certainly feel younger than I did five years ago, maybe 10. Of course, it’s hard to say that any one thing was the cause, but I think cold therapy is definitely one of the big-ticket items.”
All right, Dude, thanks for the full rundown. How about that? Running three miles to a pond in the winter in freezing temperatures, running back home, soaking wet. That is primal enthusiast of the week award right there, man.
Also, Brian McAndrew who listens to all our shows. That’s because he’s the audio king. He masters them all. He also makes those awesome YouTube videos like the chest freezer cold therapy, the viral video that’s got over 2,600 views. Hopefully, more after this show.
Anyway, Brian’s been a big enthusiast of all things primal and keto and strength training and CrossFit. Just living that dream life up in Portland, doing his thing. Checkout Whole Doods on Instagram; one of the greatest Instagram accounts in the world. You’ll be forever captivated with these amazing meals that he’s preparing, where he’s going all out for the highest nutrient value and adhering to keto guidelines, even while he’s doing pretty intense workouts in the gym, lasting up to two hours. Lifting some heavy weights, all that good stuff.
So, his experience with cold therapy, he says;
“All I know is that the worst I made myself feel in the moment by staying as long as I could in the cold, the better I felt afterward in regard to mood. This was true for both cold and hot.”
It happens that at his health club in Portland, he had access to one of those cold pools, which is such an awesome feature. There’s one place in Sacramento that has one. I think the drop-in fee is like 20 bucks. It’s called Asha Baths, and they have sauna, steam room, cold plunge, and a big warm spa. And I love going there, but it’s a little bit unsustainable when you talk about walking in off the street to get that cold and hot together.
Boy, oh boy, I’m loving the cold freezer at home. And then the icing on the cake would be to have a barrel sauna or failing that, a hot spa Jacuzzi. Although it’s difficult to get those heat shock proteins and that elevated body temperature from warm water. Much easier in the dry sauna, to really start sweating and bake from the inside and get those hormonal benefits. But of course, the hot water or the spa is wonderfully relaxing. And then you can kind of stay longer in the cold.
So, just like Brian says, back to his quote;
“Having the cold plunge and the sauna next to each other, let’s you go to further extremes. Because you know that you can get immediate relief at any moment with contrast in cold or warmth.”
Mark Sisson, also, an enthusiast of especially the contrast therapy, and he’s talked about ending his evenings with Carrie in Malibu, where they’re going in the wintertime anyway, going into a cold pool. Spending a few minutes going back in the spa, 104 of course. And then finishing off with a few minutes in the cold pool. So, Mark wrote in the post;
“I’d also suggest that cold exposure helps improve your focus, confidence and mental resilience, particularly, since you will improve your tolerance and appreciation over time. And that these benefits will carry over into all other areas of life. Lift heavy things, sprint once in a while, get adequate sun exposure, plunge into cold water. These are all hormetic stressors that help you bring your A-game to everything you do. I’m not saying that sitting in a chest freezer every morning will help you muster the courage to ask for a promotion, commit to enter an adventure race or ask for a date with that certain person in the office, but it might help.”
Speaking of that, my young friend Dr. Dre here in Sacramento who was reluctantly goaded into trying the cold exposure. He kept seeing me go into it and thinking about it, putting his hand in the water. That’s always a bad idea when you just stick your hand in 33-degree water and then imagine putting your whole body in.
But finally, he mustered up the courage to throw down. He lasted for a minute. We took a picture of it, put the stopwatch on there. Went viral on Instagram, not really. But he says, that as soon as he did it for two times one night, one minute, the next night, one minute; he says he could tell that his anxiety was significantly reduced. And the very next day, he said hi to a girl in the workplace that he had long been trying to muster up the courage, and all of a sudden, he just blurted out. So, feels like, he attributes that to his cold therapy. That his anxiety leveled off. Amazing stuff.
Personally, for me come, I’m kind of a freewheeling guy as you might guess from my style on the podcast. But I really like the routine aspect of my cold practice. So, that I know that no matter what (because it doesn’t take that long), I’m going to get up every single day, almost every single day, unless I have a 6:40 AM flight, I’m not going to bother with a cold plunge. But, you know, 300 plus days a year, I’m going to start my day with that cold exposure, and the mental focus and the resilience of not thinking twice like Tony Robbins says. But just getting up and going right into the tub.
I always start with the head dunk now and just going all in all the way, holding my breath for a few seconds. Getting that diver reflex, they call it. Where you really get that hormonal burst because your body thinks you’re drowning. Wonderful stuff to start my day. I don’t even think about it. It’s not like I have to muster up the motivation, the courage or the willpower. It’s just an automatic behavior.
There’s so much written. Dr Lindsey Taylor has talked about this from the psychological perspective in the course material of Primal Endurance Mastery course and Keto Reset Mastery course, when we’re talking about how do we adhere to dietary transformation goals that can get difficult. How do we stay committed to our endurance goals, which can get difficult in assorted ways? And if you just have some of these automatic behaviors going, they feed off each other and it becomes much easier to do all the other things you dream about, but somehow your commitments and goals slip away when life gets too busy.
Oh gee, if life does get too busy and you find yourself slipping from your morning routine … I also have a YouTube video, Brad Kearns’ Morning routine where I show the exercises that I do in bed, before I get out of bed every single day. And they relate to mobility, flexibility, injury prevention, teeing me up for doing my crazy sprint workouts and things that can be highly stressful, especially at my age of 53-years-old.
But I feel like when I start my day with this little sequence of leg circles and hamstring raises and kick outs (you can see it all on YouTube), I feel like it launches me from a higher platform. So, I have much less injury risk and I’m doing something in the name of fitness, no matter what. Even if I’m too busy or too tired to work out, it’s just automatic. I don’t think about it. I can’t get out of bed until I complete it. It takes maybe 12 minutes or something like that.
That can kind of get on the long side. So, if you want to commit five minutes to doing some mobility, flexibility drills like a yoga sun salute sequence first thing in the morning, and then jump in the cold tub, what a nice beautiful package that is.
So, that part of the show is the personal side and the testimonials from people. And now, let’s get into a little bit of the benefits and some of the science.
So, generally speaking, when you are a cold practitioner, cold therapy practitioner, you’re going to get improvements in systemic inflammation. It helps your body control inflammation. And again, getting this concept down where you’re presenting a hormetic stressor, and then your body is forced to recalibrate back to homeostasis, of course. So, if you get a little bit of a lower body temperature or a constriction of the blood vessels, and then you get out and work hard to get back to normal, that’s where your body fine tunes its functioning of the immune system, the circulatory system, cardiovascular system, all that great stuff. That’s why hot and cold both deliver those similar benefits because you have to cool yourself back down after a sauna treatment.
So, inflammation control, enhanced blood circulation and oxygen delivery throughout the body, and that gives you that awesome central nervous system wakeup call, especially in the morning. And of course, enhanced cellular, immune and cognitive function accordingly.
I didn’t talk much about my evening practice of jumping in there for a few minutes. But the way that we facilitate a good night sleep, the hormonal processes that facilitate a good night sleep most prominently is the release of melatonin into the bloodstream, taking over for serotonin, which is supposed to predominate during the day. They call that the feel-good hormone with alertness, mood, energy, serotonin-based. And then melatonin is the hormone that eventually causes you to feel sleepy and take you right into a nice, restful evening of sleep.
So, that dim light, melatonin onset, strongly associated with our circadian rhythms, the rhythm of light and dark, is triggered upon darkness. That’s why exposing yourself to artificial light and digital stimulation after dark is so harmful, because it suppresses melatonin and allows you to stay up longer than you normally should, where you might otherwise feel tired and sleepy and require that good eight hours of sleep, maybe more than eight hours, whatever the optimal sleep period would be without the influence of artificial light.
Another component of transitioning from wakefulness into sleep, is the lowering of your heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure and body temperature. So, if you get into the tub and get that body temperature lowering effect, that is going to tee you up for a good night sleep. No hot showers after, to rewarm. You just get cold and then go right undercovers or minimal covers and kind of stay a little bit cold, and that will get you into the sleep mood. Great stuff to do right before bed. So, first thing in the morning, right before bed.
And again, not after exercise. You need to let the inflammatory processes play out after a workout. Blunting post-exercise inflammation can compromise the adaptive response to workouts, of which, inflammation is a critical component. Your muscles become inflamed during exercise, right? You get pumped up during exercise, and they remain that way for hours afterward. This is part of how they become stronger and more resilient for future performances.
In the hours after workout, your muscles and other body systems are challenged to naturally repair the exercise induced damage, recalibrate to homeostasis and replenish depleted cellular energy. So, cold exposure right after workout hampers the desirable inflammatory processes. And that’s why it feels so good. It’s not so comfortable to feel inflamed after workout and hot and those sensations that you’re a little bit fried, and you jump into the river and all of a sudden, you’re invigorated, but we don’t want to do that, simple.
Secondly, cold exposure also inhibits the functioning of the lymphatic system in clearing inflammatory toxins from the bloodstream. So, it’s going to feel great, but it’s going to kind of stop or arrest the process of the lymphatic system doing its job over time. Compression gear in contrast actually assist with the lymphatic system function, clearing inflammatory toxins. So, if you do your hard run and then you go throw on some compression socks, elevate your feet above your heart, they’re going to help get the job done better, and you won’t have sore calves the next morning.
Summing up everything from our wonderful, frequent guest on Primal Endurance Podcast and also on this podcast; Andrew MacNaughton. He says, “Don’t help your body, otherwise you lose some of the adaptation you’re seeking through your challenging workouts.”
Oh, my goodness, the more I think about this, the more counterintuitive it is, the more intuitive it becomes. You get what I mean? It’s so contrary to what we’ve always thought that we want to unwind all the “damage” from workouts. But as you unwind that stiff back that you just stiffened up from biking for 50 miles, you might be unwinding some of the benefits and the reason that you’re doing it, is you’re training to get fitter over time.
The other element of cold exposure that’s been misrepresented, misinterpreted, possibly, is that it’s not an effective or scientifically proven way to stimulate fat reduction. And you may have seen these exciting articles in recent years about the concept of brown fat. Tim Ferriss talked about it in his book; The 4-Hour Body. Ray Cronise, the self-experimenter that has a prominent position in the evolutionary health community, has been deep into this cold exposure for a long time.
Jack Kruse as well, another prominent figure in the evolutionary health community. And there’s this concept that when you’re exposed to cold, it stimulates the activation of brown fat. A special kind of fat that’s deposited in certain areas of the body and its main job is to keep you warm. So, when you get cold, the brown fat kicks into gear and will help elevate your body temperature back up. But as this brown fat burns energy, burns mitochondrial energy, the thought is that maybe this is elevating your metabolic rate and could consequently help with the reduction of regular excess body fat, white fat.
The science is mixed. There is some sentiment that doing intensive cold exposure might generate a requisite increase in appetite to negate any fat burning benefits. So, I wouldn’t worry about that part of it, and we’re just going for the hormonal central nervous system benefits, instead of talking about as a weight loss kicker.
Speaking of benefits, getting a little bit sciencey here just to make sure we have all the concepts down. The best practice is to warm up naturally. If you can’t or you find yourself getting in a little bit of trouble where you’re shivering after – that’s happened to me on a handful of occasions, where I’m wearing a ski hat and putting on a sweater for three or four hours afterward and feeling a little shivery, because I pushed the limits of my tolerance. Then you can of course take a hot shower or do what you need to do to warm up.
So, if you’re just doing cold exposure, allow yourself to warm up naturally. Of course, jogging’s okay. Some body weight exercises, throwing down some pullups, pushups, you’ll find that you warm up pretty easily. But that’s when you get that maximum hormetic benefits of challenging your body to return to homeostasis naturally.
A different story if you’re doing contrast therapy, of course. That’s a whole different deal where you’re going hot-cold, hot-cold; wonderful benefits accordingly.
Dr Rhonda Patrick, go-to-girl for a lot of science in this area and many others, cites research that norepinephrine can rise 200 to 300% with just a 22nd immersion into freezing water a couple times a week. Imagine that if you’re going every day for three minutes into freezing water. The norepinephrine epinephrine boost … oh my gosh, that’s why you’re getting these great testimonials from Dude Spellings, Dave Colebrin, Brian McAndrew. People that are pushing that way beyond the brief exposure from the scientific study
Patrick also explained that norepinephrine helps reduce inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory cytokines like the noted bad guy TNF-α – a known accomplice in many modern disease patterns. Quelling inflammatory cytokines is also believed to help battle anxiety and depression. A researcher named Nikolai Shevchuk says cold exposure can boost mood. “Probably through the stimulation of the dopaminergic transmission in the mesocorticolimbic and nigrostriatal pathway. These dopaminergic pathways are known to be involved in the regulation of emotions. There’s a lot of research linking these brain areas to depression.”
Ned Brophy-Williams, another researcher on the anti-inflammatory benefits of cold water immersion, says;
“It moves blood from the peripheral to deep blood vessels. Thereby, limiting inflammation and swelling and improving venous return. Metabolites and waste products built up during exercise can be efficiently removed by the body and nutrients quickly replenished to fatigued muscles.”
I hope he’s talking about waiting at least a couple of hours after the workout, but I’m thinking of that general pattern of cold therapy helping with your exercise recovery.
“Your lymphatic system is activated by cold exposure, helping speed the clearance of toxins from tissues throughout the body. You also elicit an enhanced antioxidative defense with increased T cell activity to improve your immune function.”
And finally, Patrick saying;
“Cold shock proteins such as RNA-binding motif 3, RBM3 that are linked to the regeneration of synapses in the same manner as heat shock protein.”
So, you’re getting this anti-aging affect, cognitive boosting effect. If that’s not enough benefits to get you psyched up and personal anecdotes, man. I’m kind of getting that this is largely a … Speaking of Dude, it seems like the interested audience is possibly weighted in the Dude category, the male category. And that’s unfortunate because again, reiterating what Kelly Starrett says, that we’re not here to suffer and torture ourselves. So, we’re going to exit the water as soon as we feel that sense that we’re getting too cold, that we’re starting to shiver. “If you’re staying in any longer than that, you’re just showing off.” Is the quote from a Laird Hamilton.
So, it’s a brief cold exposure to whatever tolerance and comfort level you have. Amazing story from Dude Spellings, that he started with five minutes and worked his way up to 20 minutes. I do find myself that I’m becoming much more resilient to the cold water to where it’s absolutely no problem. But again, I’m not going to last much longer than three minutes because it’s still 33 degrees and I’ll start to notice that sensation of uncomfortable coldness. That’s too long. Time to time to bail.
So, it’s within reach of anybody. You can take it up to 60 degrees cold shower, and that’ll be a nice initial exposure and then get more interested in it and more committed, trying to test your limits a little better, but always in a comfortable way.
In fact, let’s patch in a voicemail that Dr Kelly Starrett left me, where he’s making this point emphatically and you can hear from the man himself.
[Record Playing 00:52:09]
Dr. Kelly: Bradley, Kelly Starrett. Dude, chest freeze is the key. It’s so easy … the whole deal as we say, you stay in until you shiver, and then you’re done. So, if you start shivering, you’re out. You just need to get cold one time. Garvin, Laird say that anything after start shivering is fucking showing off and you’re wasting your time.
So, just stay on three minutes max or until you shiver, and then call it good. And hey, you jump back in the shower, so you can warm back up after a cold exposure. It’s great. We do it in the morning because we have control. Sometimes, the cold wakes people up at night. So, we love it. And then, the cold in the morning is as far away from … like the training stimulus usually is possible. You’ll find you wake up, just go have your coffee, jump in there – it’s a game changer. Like literally, [inaudible 00:52:58] Afghanistan now, you can’t beat it.
Anyway, I hope you’re well brother.
[End of Recording 00:53:03]
Oh my gosh, how high tech was that, man? To patch a voicemail in, first time ever. What do you think, Brian? Legit skills right there. Thank you, Kelly. I hope you don’t mind me sharing your voicemail with the world. I know you don’t, because you’re all about spreading the word and help people get healthy, fit mobile, and delving into these exciting new frontiers that are getting more and more popular.
A couple of clarifications when you’re saying wakes some people at night. I think he’s talking about just getting a little boost of energy maybe in the early evening. Of course, we’re not trying to get woken up before we go to bed. But that alertness that you … the touted benefit of getting that alertness and those hormone boosts when it’s time to go to bed, we’re going to assume that the increased body temperature and the melatonin flow is going to win out over feeling like you’re ready to go for a productive four hours at your computer. You get what I’m saying?
So, due to the time of night, the darkness, all the other rituals and routines and hormonal processes that are preparing you for a good night sleep, we’re just kind of jumping in there and lowering the body temperature to facilitate that and not going for the wakeup call. So, we’re just kind of again, naturally waking up in the morning. The sun comes up, we should be feeling energized and ready to go. And the cold plunge just kind of boosts that normal natural hormonal functions.
Then, he mentioned Afghanistan at the end. He does a lot of work with the military. And imagine having a cold tub chest freezer there at the deployment site out into the hot desert, 100 plus degree temperatures all day, doing your military exercises. I’ll bet you those guys will get a free pass for coming right into the cold tank after their routine is over.
I can’t wait till the hot summer, and using this thing is just a general cool-off strategy. Because you know those times when you’re working out or your busy running around in the hot sun and you’re just kind of overheated and feeling a little fried. So, I might have a third use for my cold chest freezer come those hot summer days. To date, I’ve only used it throughout a cold, rainy winter and normal spring temperatures. No problem, even on those rainy mornings, I get my head in even lower, so I don’t get exposed to the rain or the wind. I’m going down into the 33-degree water, fun stuff.
So, finally, before we conclude this wonderful show, let’s talk about some logistics and how to get started. First thing is skip right to the chest freezer. Believe me, you don’t want to be in the stock tank business and filling it up and finding a way to cover it. I bought some insulation at Home Depot and had my 10-pound weight on top of that, trying to keep it cold. And then it gets warm when the weather gets warm, anyway. You got to go to the store and buy ice bags – ridiculousness. Adds up to be very expensive.
Gee! I didn’t even mention the cryotherapy clinics, which some people are coming out with a big thumbs down on. There’re some scientific studies that they’re pointing to, saying that it’s not as effective. That short exposure into the cold air is not as effective as cold water. I’m sure the cryotherapy people will have a nice response to that, and show their own science that these exposure into the cold temperature chambers have all those hormonal benefits that we’re talking about with water.
The one concern I have is the affordability of buying a membership. It seems like they’re coming up to 40, 50, 60 bucks a month. The one I went to as a $45-walk-in fee, but not only the three minutes of cold air chamber, but they also put you on a rolling massage table and you had access to some other fun stuff there. But again, if you want to just get a personal simple home system that’s extremely affordable, invest in a chest freezer.
I got a brand new one on the larger end, the 15-cubic foot Home Depot, free delivery to your home. I think it was 380 bucks, something like that. You can look on Craig’s List, find a used one, someone’s done storing meet, want to get rid of it. You pick up one for a couple of hundred bucks. And then the energy cost is extremely minimal because what you’re doing is you’re plugging in the freezer and running it only for a couple of hours a day. That’s all you need to keep water just above freezing.
Maybe it’s going to range where you live. Of course, it’s going to range where you live and during the time of year, so you might be running that thing in the summer in Phoenix, Arizona, and maybe you’re running it for five hours a day, I don’t know. And then other places, you don’t even need to run it when you’re in a winter environment and temperatures are near freezing during the day. You just opened up the lid, and you’re going to have water without even plugging it in for days on end, I’m sure.
But I’m finding here in the moderate Northern California, winter and spring temperatures comparatively moderate. I’m running that thing from one and a half to three hours a day. And the sticker on the side said when I bought it new, annual energy efficiency, cost of, I don’t know, it was like $41 a year, some trivial amount. And that’s assuming it’s plugged in 365 days, 24/7 like a refrigerator or the proper use of a freezer.
So, once you buy it, the energy cost is minimal. But what you want to do is get a timer, right? So, that you can program the thing to work in the middle of the night for a couple of hours. And then the rest of the time, it’s off. So, you get an outdoor timer, assuming you’re going to put it outdoors. I suppose you can put it in your garage as well. But then, you plug the freezer into the timer, set the timer and determine what optimal water temperature you want.
The preferences range from me going really low and other people of course, trying to hang at that freezing temp, and then people going all the way up in the 50s and spending more time as Dude relates with his visit to the nearby pond. So, whatever you decide personally, set your timer accordingly, experiment a little bit with different temperatures, see what works best for you.
It also makes sense to be safe and unplug the unit every time you use it. Everyone’s saying that on the internet. So, of course, I have adhered to their admonitions. I’m not sure if you really need to, I don’t understand how you’re going to get electrocuted with an appliance filled with water. But you know, on the safe side, unplug the thing and most of them have lights when you open the lid. So, that’s your cue, making sure that lights off. So, why should I say otherwise? Unplug your unit every time. Danger, danger. Err on the safe side.
Okay, so we got that down. We got the timer, we’ve got the unplugging it before use, and making sure that you’re super, super clean when you get in. Shower beforehand, especially if you’re sharing it with people. Kelly talks about how he has church services at his house twice a week where buddies come over and they go from the chest freezer into his hot barrel sauna and back and forth, and have that wonderful contrast therapy experience and social gathering.
Oh, fantastic, fun times. How about getting an invite to that? That would be dope, huh? But do your own church services. Go for a barrel sauna next. I’m trying to find a sponsor for the show to talk about the best home use sauna kits. There were a ton of people at Paleo f(x) touting these miniature saunas that are affordable, easy to build and set up. I know you can get them for like a couple of grand, a really fantastic sauna, which is a much bigger investment than a chest freezer.
But speaking of that, these are the kind of advertisements you’re going to hear on this show of stuff that I really love and use and recommend. And if somebody wants to give me a free sauna for my personal use and testing and approval verification, I’m going to tell all y’all about it. We’re going to get some purchase discounts going. And that I feel is like a worthwhile partnership between the host, the listener and the advertising partner. So, I’m going to try to stay away or for sure, stay away from lame cheesy commercials of stuff that I don’t use, and stick to things that are relevant and hopefully very strong potential that you’ll be interested in.
Dang, I should’ve got Home Depot to sponsor my chest freezer. Look at all this free exposure they’ve got. Anyway, thanks for the home delivery. That was nice.
So, you have your plugin timer, you have your chest freezer, fill it up with clean water. Make sure you’re clean before you get in because it very quickly gathers dirt and sediment. And there’s a great YouTube video of this guy showing … cleaning out and vacuuming his chest freezer and also installing a miniature little pump that you use for outdoor fountains just to keep a little water circulation.
So, I’m experimenting with that recently. We’re talking about one of those 20 to $30 pumps. It’s got a squeegee bottom and I’m running that thing for five or six hours a day. I’m running the freezer itself for only a couple of hours a day. So, I have two different timers going in. I know, a little bit of a hassle. But I want to have some of that water circulating. And then this guy modified an aquarium suction hose, just a simple suction hose that you use in the aquarium. And he duct-taped a vacuum brush to the bottom of the aquarium suction hose.
So, he sticks the vacuum brush into the tub and gets the air suction going. And all of a sudden, you have a vacuum where you’re vacuuming the debris in the water. So, really cool stuff. Failing that or in addition to that, you’re just going to change the water out once in a while, not a big deal. But ideally, as minimally as possible just to save water and also save the hassle. So, I find myself changing that water out maybe once a month, something like that. And then going to get going on this vacuum stuff and this pump, trying to keep it clean. But if you get in clean, that is the winning ticket.
Dr. Kelly also recommends putting a tablespoon of shock in there once a week or every couple of weeks. That stuff’s pretty strong. So, look at the label. They’re usually using these products for larger spas that have around 350 gallons, is a typical spa. Maybe up to 450, somewhere in that range. So, you’re using just maybe a teaspoon into your chest freezer and making sure you circulate it, whether it’s with a stirring stick or getting that aquarium pump running in conjunction with adding a little shock. But that stuff can smell if you put a little too much in.
The finally, other internet enthusiasts, this grass roots cottage industry going with people making chest freezer videos, not as cool as mine. No [Oli G-owed 01:04:02] so far except for mine. But people are saying put Epsom salts in, because you get all that bathing benefits of Epsom salts that we’ve always known about. That absorbing the magnesium through your skin, which is known to be a great way, maybe the best way to absorb magnesium.
If dump a bunch of Epsom salts in, you can avail a lower than freezing temperature, right? Did you know the ocean goes down below freezing because of all the salt content down in Antarctica where the ocean has the potential to go below freezing? So, that’s pretty cool. I’m going to try dumping that Epsom salt in. I think I got that from Brian McKenzie, and he said put 15 pounds into that normal size tub of 12 to 15-cubic feet.
So, there you go. Those are all the little tips on the sides. But get the basics down. Don’t be afraid, try it out. It’s great for everyone, that hormonal central nervous system reset benefit. And please share your experience with the show. Thank you so much for listening to the cold therapy show. I look forward to hearing from you. This is your host, Brad Kearns. Have a great day.
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Thank you so much for doing that. I know it’s a big hassle, but if you do it, and then you go over and email me; email@example.com, I will mail you a dollar. No, I won’t do that man. That would be a huge hassle. Talk about a hassle. But you know what I’ll do? I’ll thank you from the bottom of my heart and I’ll enter you into a draw and put your address on there too. And I’ll do like 10 grand prizes. Something cool like primal kitchen, extra virgin avocado oil to drizzle on your salads, something. I promise you. Thank you so much for leaving a review.
It’s time to spread the word about the Get Over Yourself Podcast. And speaking of advertising, I promise you at all times, I will be talking about only stuff that’s super cool, awesome. That I use and appreciate in daily life and would recommend to you or think that might help you. I know you can always push that 32nd forward button and skip the ads, but I want to do some cool stuff. I appreciate you listening, if it’s value to you.
Please, participate in the show. Send me your constructive feedback or otherwise, suggestions, comments to that wonderful lengthy email, but unforgettable; firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening. This is Brad Kearns