Myth or medicine - ice fountain after sauna strengthens defense

Myth or medicine – ice fountain after sauna strengthens defense

Myth or medicine – ice fountain after sauna strengthens defense

Hot and cold – why do some jump after the sauna in an ice-cold lake? Can that be really healthy?

Health conscious people know hot and cold not only from the hot cherries on vanilla ice cream, but also from sauna sessions. First, the connoisseur goes into the sauna and sweats away.

Then the jump into the cold. An ice lake or an ice fountain invite you to do so. But many people are worried that it can be healthy for the heart ?! First of all, it is important to understand what exactly happens in the body during this ‘quenching’ of the body. In our series Myth or Medicine we clarify.

Before you dare to jump into the ice-cold water, of course you should know about your own health. “Such a cold shock, however, should only expose those who are healthy,” warns internist Prof. Ulrich Fölsch (Secretary General of the German Society of Internal Medicine). Anyone who suffers from diseases of the cardiovascular system or vascular diseases, should naturally avoid such extreme stress. For everyone else, the question is still in the room: does it strengthen the immune system? Does it harden? What is the ice cooling good for? Or is all this just imagination and has nothing to do with medical aspects …

Ice fountain and its effect

Of course, the body reacts to the ice contact with a kind of shock. The close-up vessels contract suddenly and the temperature of the skin drops significantly. At the same time the vessels are dilated inside. So the blood in the body can continue to circulate well and thus keeps the core temperature of the body. In order to release the energy needed for this, the body now burns fat and releases adrenaline and other stress hormones. The ‘Eisbader’ feels euphoric, the skin tingles and the body is comfortably warm.

Does bathing in ice water also strengthen the immune system or prevent it from catching a cold? “Reliable data, which clearly prove this, there are none,” explains Folsch. But now comes the trick: It is believed that in connection with the previous sauna session, the immune system is really in motion. The cold shock after the sauna not only strengthened the blood circulation, but also stimulated the metabolism. It would then form immunoglobulins in the blood, which play an important role in the defense against pathogens.

Myth or medicine?

The bottom line is that there are no statistics collected that would prove a causality between a cold shower and the immune system. Anyone who is spared from cardiovascular diseases and vascular diseases can certainly do that. It is conceivable that it has a positive effect on the immune system. Just as with many other things that should help with the health also applies here: Who believes in it, can certainly achieve a positive effect. If you are not convinced, you might shake yourself for free in the cold. But if you are healthy, you can try it out to feel the effect on your own body.

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