A. ) A microwave minute
B. ) A treadmill minute
C.) A minute submerged in a 39 degree tub, aka a COLD PLUNGE
If you’d asked me before my contrast therapy session at Northwest Elite, I’d have told you that being submerged in freezing cold water is my worst nightmare. Now that I’ve completed a session, I honestly feel like a bad-you know what! It was totally a mind over matter experience and it felt great to push my body to the limits!
I’d never tried any form of contrast therapy before, (extreme hot and cold immersion) but I’ve been hearing for years about all the health benefits, some of which include:
- Improved longevity
- Increased metabolism
- Regulated blood glucose levels
- Stimulated muscle growth
- Improved immune system
- Efficiency of cellular regeneration and repair
- And MORE!
Northwest Elite has built a one-of-a-kind facility to help you experience this therapy in a controlled, one-on-one environment and give you the tools to push through the discomfort and achieve a sort of euphoria. It was definitely challenging to get through, but oh so worth it for the feeling I got all day after. I can see how this is an addicting training practice because after one visit, I’m hooked!
What is Northwest Elite?
A private spa of elite therapies. Every session is guided and programmed, do nothing but relax, we got this! All sessions are a program of bio-mechanical work, sauna, ice and hyperbaric oxygen therapies. Think of it as a holistic and personalized approach to improving longevity.
At Northwest Elite, you gain access to state-of-the-art therapy services in a private setting with one-on-one care that is otherwise inaccessible, over-booked or restricted to expensive clinics.
Why contrast therapy?
Contrast therapy works to activate the heat-cold shock proteins in order to accelerate tissue healing, regulate the immune system, and improve the efficiency of cellular regeneration and repair post exercise and injury.
What is Contrast Therapy?
Contrast Therapy acts as a natural pump on the lymphatic system to detoxify the blood, increases metabolism and regulates blood glucose levels, shed dead skin cells, activate the heat-cold shock proteins in order to make the body more adaptable, stimulates muscle growth, release built up metabolites and toxins in stagnant tissue, regulate the immune system, and improve the efficiency of cellular regeneration and repair. It’s the ultimate detox.
Who can benefit from contrast therapy?
EVERYONE! But with that said, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It can be very powerful for beginners but with each session, your body gets more and more used to the shock. Whether your goals are weight loss, to improve fitness and mobility, detoxifying the body, stress management, reducing pain and discomfort… Northwest Elite has the tools for you.
Every session at Northwest Elite includes the following:
- 30 minutes of one-on-one manual therapy & corrective exercise
- 60 minutes of contrast therapy including sauna, cold plunge, hot plunge, chromotherapy, breath work & meditation
- 30 minutes of hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- 1 Metabolic Analysis test (typically performed at only 1 session)
So, let me give you the down-low on my experience:
I arrived and immediately knew I was going to love Morgan. She’s warm, professional, and relaxed. The NW Elite facility is located on her property, so it really feels like she’s welcoming you into her ‘home’ with open arms. The full session is also 2 hours long so I came ready and prepared to take it all in and challenge my body & mind.
Step 1: MANUAL THERAPY
Personalized approach targeting myofascial and joint restrictions in order to improve posture, increase mobility, facilitate muscle recruitment, reduce pain, and improve performance.
With intricate detail, Morgan accesses your body, how you move, where you’re tight, where your alignment is off, if you have any lingering pain or injury, etc. With this manual therapy, Morgan uses her expertise to target myofascial and joint restrictions. She prides herself on providing high quality, manual therapy targeting myofascial and neuromuscular imbalances. Morgan is a miracle worker! She learned my body quickly and even helped my ankle pain from an old sprain.
Step 2: SAUNA – 10 min @ 200 degrees – top bench
(this is where contrast therapy begins) I started in the 200 degree sauna with red light therapy and muscle scraping. Muscle scraping performed in the sauna mobilizes stagnant tissues and breaks up adhesions formed between muscles and fascia. It felt incredible! On top of the heat providing a great sweat detox and the muscle scraping, their sauna also has Red Light giving you powerful skin benefits.
Step 3: COLD PLUNGE THERAPY – 5 min at 39 degrees
Cold plunge therapy aids in athletic performed by reducing risk of injury, increasing metabolic recovery, soothing sore muscles and boosting immunity. After leaving the cold plunge, the blood vessels then vasodilate, which improves circulation by bringing newely oxygenated blood to the muscles while flushing out toxins and metabolic wastes through the lymphatic system.
Let’s just start by mentioning getting in freezing cold water is literally my worst nightmare. I am always cold and hate being cold. My showers are borderline hot enough to burn skin and I love them that way so I really worked hard to mentally prepare myself for this but I don’t think I would’ve lasted more than 20 seconds if it weren’t for Morgan’s coaching and breathwork practices to help calm your body and mind.
I started to get a little lightheaded and felt like the room was spinning a bit (which she said is totally normal) after being in the water for a few minutes, then came a weird feeling of euphoria. When my 5 minutes was done, I was honestly so proud of myself and my body. Mind over matter took on a new meaning after that experience.
Step 4: HOT TUB – 5 min at 104 degrees
The ultimate game of polar bear! We grew up jumping back and forth in the pool and hot tub as a fun Winter dare, but this was next level! After 5 minutes in the cold plunge, it took my body at least a few minutes to be able to warm up again, even sitting in a hot tub.
Throughout the entire session, you’re encouraged to practice nasal breathing (focusing on elongating and controlling the exhale for up to 10+ seconds). Nasal breathing practice increases the respiratory systems ability to warm and humidify the inspired air, and more oxygen is able to reach active tissues through the release of nitric oxide. I found that this extra concentration added to the meditative experience.
Step 5: RETURN TO SAUNA & COMPLETE CYCLE 2 TIMES THROUGH. ALWAYS END IN THE HEAT.
Another sauna session, this time for a full 20 minutes so you can realllyyyy feel the burn! Benefits of regular sauna use include increased metabolism, detox, increased blood circulation, pain reduction, anti-aging cellular rejuvenation, improved sleep, boosted immunity, stress management and relaxation. And that’s really just the beginning!
Step 7: HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY.
“Air pressure inside the chamber is increased two-three times that of normal air pressure which allows the lungs to uptake more oxygen. Atmospheric air contains 21% oxygen, whereas the pressurized chamber allows 98% oxygen intake. Increased oxygen is then carried through the body via hemoglobin, and delivered to the muscles, ligaments, and bones for remodeling and repair”
Why? Accelerates tissue healing and promotes great breath work and meditation to improve stress management and lung capacity.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy accelerates tissue healing and reduces inflammation by allowing the blood to carry extra oxygen to damaged tissues, stimulate growth factors and stem cells for healing, and reduce aging by protecting the telomeres on the ends of the chromosomes.
Professional athletes have been using this form of therapy for the past decade so it’s fun that now the every-day athlete can have this luxury as well! I had never done anything like this but it was a fun experience! I felt very relaxed in the chamber which was a relief because I was a little nervous about feeling claustrophobic. I ended up taking a little nap and came out feeling pretty tired. After replenishing with a lot of water and electrolytes, I found that I had a ton of energy and endorphins the rest of the day!
Northwest Elite did a great job at putting together this FAQ page so I’d highly recommend you check it out: https://www.northwestelite.com/faq
Also, stay tuned for more ways to enjoy the Northwest Elite space like breathwork classes, Kids workouts, and more!
Still feeling intimidated?
You can hop on a 10-minute phone consultation to get all your questioned answered and find out if a personalized protocol is right for you. Schedule yours and get more information here: https://www.northwestelite.com/?fbclid=IwAR3mC1CvEM2hSezZj4AeQWAi7OZ3A6BO83WN_wplSvCdaYa4UmluuVK3pYE
This post was created in partnership with Northwest Elite.