Ayurvedic Take on Cold Plunges & Saunas

February 7, 2023

Ayurveda

explore the blog

Ayurvedic Pregnancy 

How to do a Castor Oil Pack

You'll also love

search the post index

MORE ABOUT ME

I'm an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, 500 HR Yoga Teacher & Ayurvedic postpartum doula. Movement, Mindfulness & Mother Nature are my 3 pillars for health. 

I'm Andrea - your Seasonal living guide

Ayurvedic Take on Cold & Heat Therapies

In Ayurveda we look at the doshas, seasons and your own health. We look at what doshas might be affected by the cold or hot therapies being provided. I went straight to the Ayurvedic text - Astanga Hrdayam to understand what the ancient Ayurvedic wisdom was on the topic.

During extreme winter taking a cold bath or cold plunges can deplete both the kapha and vata dosha since both doshas have cold qualities about them. Cold plunges can cause or worsen respiratory problems such as cold, coughs and asthmas.

 

During the summer months taking a hot bath or sauna can deplete pitta dosha and blood tissues due to the heat in the body. It can lead to bleeding disorders, dizziness, and digestion issues.

 

Overall looking at cold water plunges it really can be dosha specific.

Pitta dosha will be better suited for a cold plunge and kapha and vata doshas would be best for warmer baths or saunas.

 

Screenshot 2023-02-02 at 12.11.18 PM

Ayurvedic Protocols According to the text

Diseases

  • Liver disorders, indigestion, burning sensation- Cold bath is best
  • Respiratory, allergies, cough, cold, joint pains and arthritis- warm baths.
  • Epilepsy- lukewarm water is best

 

Age

  • Young children and older adults- hot water is best
  • Cold water baths in the early mornings are most beneficial to the body.

 

Season

Cold plunges are best in the summer and hot water in the winter months.

 

Time of day

  • Morning- Cold water is fine
  • Evening hours- warm water is better

 

Habits

  • If you sweat too much during your exercise- cold water can work just fine.
  • Some practitioners will recommend going from an intense exercise program into a cold water bath/plunge. Only if the body can handle it.
  • Finally Ayurveda recommends hot water for the body and cold water for just the head as it says its bad for the eyes and hair.

 

Ayurvedic cold plunge

Like most answers in Ayurveda

It Depends is the answer

When looking to see what other Ayurvedic practitioners have said about this mostly from their own perspective vs what the text says. What I found is all the practitioners or doctors promoted what they wanted to believe. If some hated them they referenced why it's not great for vata dosha if they were for cold showers or plunges they talked about how it's great for the circulation in the body.

 

Confused? Me too!

If Ayurveda doesn't recommend drinking ice cold water, I have a tough time understanding how people can promote cold plunges.

 

The benefits of cold plunges

  • Improved immune system (though universally agreed if you are getting sick to skip the cold plunges)
  • Stimulate production of brown fat
  • Prevent aging
  • Reverse type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Provide pain relief
  • Improves mood and fights depression

 

The negative side of cold plunges

  • Jumping straight from a hot therapy to cold plunges can trigger cardiac arrest even in healthy people.
  • Dizziness
  • Tachycardia

Conclusion

In Ayurveda the answer will be it depends, and how does it make you feel? If you absolutely dread doing a cold plunge, you shiver, shake and your body never adjusts to it, it's probably not great for you.

 

If it is a ritual that you look forward to and find your body adjusts to the temperature it might be a regular practice for you.

 

If you have heart issues, are pregnant, are on your bleeding phase of your cycle, feel like you are getting sick, have asthmas or an extreme vata imbalance it might be the time to skip the plunge.

Wanting to live in tune with the seasons?

Ayurvedic Guide to winter (2)

Ayurvedic for the Winter Season Guide

Download your free guide to winter according to Ayurveda.

  • Ayurvedic winter tips
  • Recipes
  • Winter Meditation
  • Yoga asana practice
  • Workout to help reduce vata dosha
  • A winter practice according to Ayurveda

Download your Guide below!

    share this post:

    explore the blog

    Ayurvedic Pregnancy 

    How to do a Castor Oil Pack

    You'll also love

    search the post index

    MORE ABOUT ME

    I'm an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, 500 HR Yoga Teacher & Ayurvedic postpartum doula. Movement, Mindfulness & Mother Nature are my 3 pillars for health. 

    I'm Andrea - your Seasonal living guide

    LEarn My Story

    I specialize in hormonal & postpartum support using Ayurveda as the guide. 

    I host a weekly podcast, Peaceful Power Podcast and have written two cyclical living books- Divine Body Wisdom and Ayurvedic Approach to Healing Your Menstrual Cycle. 

    I graduated from Shakti School in 2019 as an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor. I'm a 500 HR Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic postpartum doula graduate from Inner Sun & Moon AyurDoula Program. I've specialized in pre/postpartum fitness since 2007. 

    My other interests are playing tennis, watching the Hallmark Channel, and enjoying my morning cup of coffee. I also love exploring my favorite nature trail with my two sons and husband. 

    I'm an Ayurvedic Wellness counselor, Ayurvedic postpartum doula & 500 HR Yoga Teacher and Personal trainer since 2007.

    I'm Andrea — your Ayurvedic & Yoga  Guide.

    Learn what practices are best to live in alignment with the current season. You will also receive a yoga asana practice, seasonal tips, two Ayurvedic seasonal recipes and dosha pacifying practices. 

    Ayurvedic Guide to the Spring Season 

    free guide

    easy to use free guide