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Hey, and welcome to the ShortStuff. Josh, Chuck, Jerry, not Dave, but Dave. Short Stuff. Let's go.


That's right. We're talking about the very hot trend. It's been around for a long, long time, depending on where you are in the world. But it's a very hot trend, of course, among probably celebrity types and influencers. We're talking, of course, about cold plunging, and specifically, the hot, cold thing, either hot tub or sauna. I'm sorry, sauna.


Is that just you that says that?


No. When we did our sauna episode, every Finnish person in the world wrote in and said, It's pronounced sauna.


Wow. Great. Nicely done. I'm going to start saying sausage.


Sausage Sausage. I already say sausage. Yeah, you want to see how the sausage is made?


Are you part finn?


No. I wish I was, but I'm not. Okay.


It does make sense that this would be big in Finland because the Fins were the ones who were credited with inventing the Sauna Sauna, which supposedly in finn, Sauna means bath, essentially, what you would call bath. Before the Fins had running hot water that was candy everywhere. They use saunas to basically bathe rather than having to just go out in the snow and bathe.


Yeah, I guess like a dry bath, a hot dry bath.


Exactly. That you make yourself wet in.


That's right. Exactly. You're lathering up with your own liquids. That sounds really gross. If you go to the Finnish Tourism Board website or something, you might see them also say something like this, When you come out of the sauna, jump into a lake or roll in the snow.


Because they all sound like Freud, apparently.


They do. If you do roll in the snow, make sure it is fresh and powdery, old, icy snow can have an effect on your skin like sandpaper.


Chuck, that voice is one of your Halloween episode voices. I recognize it from somewhere.


Yeah, so what they're talking about, though, is this hot to cold thing, which is leaving a sauna and jumping right into some cold water, or in their case, a lot of times, snow.


Yeah, which is awesome. It can be really great. But just like any trend or thing that everybody's behind, it's worth taking an extra look to see it may or may not be actually beneficial, could even be harmful. It turns out there is a lot of evidence on each saunas and cold therapy, cold plunges, that thing, that say, yeah, these actually do have some pretty good beneficial effects, but both of them also pose risks, and there's not a lot of actual research on combining them, which is purposefully shocking your body temperature-wise. That's the point of that hot-cold thing. We're not exactly sure if it's a good thing for you.


Yeah. I think we all know that a sauna or something like that, getting a good sweat in, can be good for you. There's a lot of benefits to sweating. You're regulating your body temperature, you're activating your cardiovascular system. It can mimic exercise, even cardiovascular exercise. We also know that it can help detoxify you. And we also know that cold stuff has benefits, and it's a great anti-inflammatory. And athletes have long sat in ice baths and stuff after the big game or something like that, not specifically the Super Bowl. Any big game, not capital T, H-E, big game. Sure. But these two things separately, we already know, and it's proven that they both have a lot of great benefits. But there are people that say, well, when you combine them together, you can reap even more benefits.


Yeah, and what the benefits arise from, ostensibly, is called the hormetic effect or hormetic stress, which is technically a good stress. It's the stress you put on your body when you're exercising. And in doing so, by pushing your body beyond its normal homeostatic status quo, you're training it to better respond to stresses that you don't intentionally put on it. Just being stressed in general. And so supposedly, according to this idea, the hormetic effect, which seems to be pretty legitimate, by just slowly, little by little, stressing your body, you improve your body's stress response, your immune system, that thing. And exercise is one way to do it, but also exposing it to temperature extremes, like through a sauna or a cold plunge, also produces hormetic effects because they put hormetic stress on your body, too. That seems to be the basis behind health benefits from saunaing or cold plunging.


Yeah. And people will tell you that it really also can help you mentally. It can be an invigorating experience. And there is a little bit of research that says that people have shown to improve their mood and stuff like that. So there are a lot of people that say a lot of things about all the benefits. What you haven't seen a whole lot of, and I guess we'll discuss this after the break, is like, all right, well, then show me the large scale, randomized, controlled studies with large data pools of people from all kinds of age groups. I guess not randomized, but just a variety of people doing this thing, and then we can actually talk science. We'll get to that right after this.


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I did once try and a woman who was about to get hit by a car. I screamed out, Watch out.


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Why can't you just lighten up and have a good time?


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Hey, this is Dana Schwartz. You may know my voice from nobleblood, Haleywood, or Stealing Superman. I'm hosting a new podcast, and we're calling it Very Special Episodes.


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All right, so go anywhere online to any influencer blog, and they tell you how amazing this is for you. A lot of websites will say this is wonderful and you should all do it. But then when you start digging a little deeper and you're like, Well, let me see if there's any about this. It turns out they're trying to do it now, and we're only just now... The research or these articles that I picked from were from just a couple of months ago, late in 2023, where they're just now starting to say, Hey, we need to get a thousand people, not 20 healthy young men, 20 healthy young Finnishmen who are like, This feels great. Because some of this stuff is plausible, these doctors are thing, but we really need to dig in on it because it also could probably be dangerous.


Yeah, because it seems like what the whole idea is predicated on is that we do have substantial research showing that there are health benefits from the sauna. It It improves blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health, and that there's demonstrable benefits from cold plunges, like it's an anti-inflammatory. Like you said, it can improve mood. Apparently, a technique for breaking a panic attack when you're in the midst of it is to sink your face into a bowl of ice water for about 10 seconds. It produces what's called the diving reflex, and it releases dopamine and norepinephrine in enough amount so that it can actually derail or short circuit a panic attack. So there is actual legitimate benefits to each one. Like you're saying, though, it's them combined that the jury is still out on, right?


I wonder if Huey Lewis was having a panic attack when he plunged his face in icewater in the I Want a New Drug video.


He wasn't after that. I'll tell you that much.


Not to make light of panic attacks, of course. I was just making light of Huey Louis and his news. Well, we had someone write in, actually, because we've been flipped with that term. That's like, if you've ever suffered a panic attack, you probably wouldn't just say, Oh, I almost had a panic attack.


Sure. That doesn't sound like us. Say what? That doesn't sound like us.


Oh, it was us. Depending on who you talk to, there are doctors that say this actually can be very dangerous. The National Center for Cold Weather Safety website says, you can... This is something called a cold shock response, where you have such a rapid increase in breathing and heart rate and blood pressure that if you're not in great cardiac health, this could possibly kill you. You could have a cardiac arrest right there on the spot.


Yeah, that's nuts, which makes sense because it feels like you could when you jump into a cold plunge, especially if you're already really hot. But supposedly in less than a minute, you could die in water that's 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. And there's other things that It's going to happen, too. If you jump all the way in, a lot of cold plungees don't involve your head, which is way, way worse than just jumping in, or harder, I should say, more difficult. But if you do jump in all at once, the shock of the cold It could be enough that you involuntarily gasp. If you're underwater, that's not good for your lungs.


Yeah. The first time I reconsidered this, because I had done this thing, I've done some... It wasn't like, Oh, let's do a cold plunge. Like, literally in high school in the '80s. We would jump into the icy Lake at this youth group camp. So that wasn't being trendy. It was just the fun thing to do. Got you. It's like a polar plunge. But I was with my I had a good friend, Adam Pranica, of the greatest generation over not too long ago, and I was moving to do this. It was, Hey, we're in the hot tub. Let's jump in this cold pool. Yeah. And he said, You better watch out, bro.You.


Better not cry.I.


Actually had him say, Bro. I went, What do you mean? He went, Well, I'm just getting ready because you could have a cardiac arrest. I was like, What? He went, Yeah, it's something that can happen. All of a sudden, I was nervous because I'm not in Headed toward the emergency room anytime soon, but I have a cardiac score that gives me a little bit of pause when it comes to thinking about something like this. Sure. I was like, Well, jeez, I'm not in high school anymore. Maybe I should think about this. I jumped out of the hot tub and I dove into the pool head first. It was great. It was awesome and it was fun, and I didn't have a cardiac arrest. But it did make me think twice. Each time I move to do this from now on, I will think twice.


I have to say I was really surprised by that twist at the end there that you actually went ahead and jumped in. I did it. I was expecting you to be like, No, I'm not doing that anymore.


No. You know what? What I gathered, and of course, we need the real research and the real data to know this, but from what I gathered from the warnings, it was like there's probably a middle ground between being a healthy 22-year-old Finnish person and being in really, really poor cardiac health, and I'm somewhere in the middle there. You should not do it if you're in really, really bad cardiac health.


Not even really, really bad. If you're being treated for any cardiac condition, you probably shouldn't cold plunge, especially not after a sauna, too. At the very least, talk to your doctor about it. Don't listen to us.


Don't take our advice, please.


But not only is the... Whether you have a heart condition or not a differentiator, the water temperature is a differentiator, too. You'll see people who are like, Yeah, jump into water that's like 57 degrees Fahrenheit. That is astoundingly cold. That's the water temperature that killed the survivors of the Titanic going down. That's North Sea in February cold water temperature, right? You can get the same effect from much warmer water. I mean, I'm talking like 70 degrees. Still sounds warm. That's not warm, especially if you're in a hot tub first or a sauna first, or you've exercised or something like that. It does the trick. It does everything you need to do without, or I shouldn't say without the chance of killing you, with a much less chance of killing you.


Yeah. I mean, I've even seen that you can take a very hot shower and then turn it to cold. Yeah, that's nice, too. And that's even enough to give you some benefit.


Even worse, Chuck, is not taking the hot shower first. Just getting into a cold shower, immediately turning the water on, it's rough. But if you can train yourself to do it, it's very rewarding.


Yeah, I did that for a summer in Athens when I didn't feel like turning the gas on.


Man, and you were like, ripped from it, I bet.


I was more ripped than I was now. Of course, it was Athens in the summer, so it was hot, so it wasn't quite as bad as you might imagine. For sure.


I guess we should probably just wrap up one more time. This can be dangerous. You should probably do a little more research on it, especially if you have a questionable heart or your heart's questionably healthy. Just Use your head. Use your noodle first. Don't just listen to what people on TikTok tell you. Listen to what people on podcasts tell you.


Yeah, and maybe even a pool noodle in case you lose consciousness. Smart.


That means ShortStuff is out.


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