Contrast Therapy | Regain Health With Hot And Cold Bath Therapy

What Is Contrast Therapy?

Contrast bath therapy, sometimes called contrast bath therapy, involves alternating heat exposure with cold exposure using water. This practice has risen in popularity for the numerous body and brain benefits. Alternating hot and cold exposure can be achieved in two primary ways, one using only water and another using a hot sauna before cold water immersion.

Contrast bath therapy is a recovery intervention that produces rapid changes in your circulatory system by triggering increased blood circulation. This is achieved by transitioning between hot and cold water. An essential principle is always starting with heat therapy first and ending with cold therapy.

When you submerge part or all of your body in cold water, it induces the small blood vessels called capillaries to get smaller, a process called vasoconstriction.

Immersing yourself in warm water creates the opposite effect in the circulatory system, causing the blood vessels to rapidly open up, a process known as vasodilation.

Alternating hot and cold water temperatures also cause fluctuations in heart rate. In general, cold water immersion causes the heart rate to speed up and hot water causes it to slow down.

Beyond the cardio benefits, what other health benefits can come from contrast bath therapy?

What's The Difference Between Contrast Water Therapy and Contrast Therapy?

Research indicates the best contrast hydrotherapy results happen when hot water temperatures stay below 104°F (40°C), or about the temperature of the average hot tub. But remember, this only applies to contrast water therapy, which differs from contrast therapy—combining a hot sauna with a cold water immersion tub.

Compared with hot baths for hydrotherapy, hot saunas produce a dry heat that's around 180ºF, creating a far different experience. Although the temperatures are higher, you'll stay in a hot sauna for around 20 minutes before cold-plunging, which is nearly double the time you should stay in hot water.

One significant advantage of hot saunas over hot tubs is that you breathe in hot, dry air when using a hot sauna, which brings the heath therapy benefits into your airways as well.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Combining Hot And Cold Water Therapy?

Does Contrast Hydrotherapy Work For Lowering A Fever?

With the rise in popularity of contrast therapy routines, many people may wonder if another health benefit includes reducing a fever.

Although the cold exposure at the end of contrast therapy may seem like an easy way to lower the body temperature of someone that has a fever, it's unclear whether either using cold immersion or contrast bath therapy is an effective form of treatment.

Uncertainty remains among researchers when it comes to using hydrotherapy treatments for fever reduction.

While cold water immersion when running a fever seems like a simple way to drop body temps fast, the opposite could actually be true. When plunged into frigid waters, the body induces cutaneous vasoconstriction, shivering, and sympathetic system activation. All responses that could raise body temperature.

While some cold water immersion is effective for many physiological and therapeutic treatments and health benefits, the scientific research is still unclear on fever reduction or hyperthermia reduction.

What Are The Health Risks Of Contrast Therapy?

Although contrast therapy is safe for the majority of folks, there are some who should refrain from the practice. For example, people who have heart conditions should choose milder temperatures and avoid extremes on each end of the temperature range.Cold receptors in the face and scalp sense quick drops in temperature, which results in a diving reflex—a type of cardiorespiratory response that can cause shortness of breath, decreased cardiac output, and a rapid decrease in pulse. If these symptoms pop up, it's best to take a break and consult with your physician before trying again.

What Equipment Do You Need For Contrast Therapy?

If you want to try contrast therapy, what equipment do you need?

  • Two tubs that allow you to submerge your entire body
  • A thermometer to monitor the water temperature constantly
  • Towels close by for fast drying and warming back up
  • Water temperatures for the cold immersion tub should stay between 39-55°F, and between 95-113°F for the hot water contrast therapy tub. Hot saunas should be around 180ºF.

    In a meta-analysis study of the results of numerous contrast therapy studies, 95 percent of the water temperatures during the tests remained within the above-recommended ranges for both hot and cold water. This is a perfect example of why it's important to use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature. Preventing accidental burns or exposure to dangerously cold water that can drop skin blood flow rates to low levels can cause both pain and damage to delicate skin tissue.

What Is The Best Way To Benefit From Contrast Therapy?

Enjoy Convenient Contrast Therapy With RENU

RENU crafts beautiful cold plunge tubs 100% in the USA. RENU provides every customer with the best warranty coverage on the market along with striving for 100% customer satisfaction with every cold tub we sell!

We offer a wide selection of cold plunge tub design options to enable you to perfectly match your home's aesthetics. Each of our ice bath therapy tubs boasts world-class designs that enhance the charm and beauty of your space, whether business or residential.

Contrast Therapy When You Need It Most Contact RENU today and find out more about combining one of our hot saunas with our cold plunge tubs at home!

Frequently Asked Questions


Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez

Actor/TV Host Mario Lopez is just starting to use cold water therapy to help his recovery and energy.

James Maslow

James Maslow is an American actor, singer and dancer. He is best known for his role on Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush and is a member of the subsequent band, Big...

Alexander Ludwig

Actor Alexander Ludwig from Vikings has dreamed of owning a cold plunge since he was a kid.  Cold Exposure has even "saved his marriage".

Pamela Love

Jewelry Entrepreneur Pamela Love discovered cold exposure while recovering from pregnancy.  Now, she also uses Cold Stoic 2.0 to reached a "meditative state."

Stephen Amell

Stephen Amell is a Canadian actor and professional wrestler, who is most famous for his roles in Arrow and the new Heels series on Starz. He loves cold plunging in...

Wilmer Valderrama

Wilmer Valderrama is an actor and producer most known for his roles in NCIS and That 70's Show.  Recently, he has pursued a health transformation journey which incorporates Cold Water...

Derek Hough

Derek Hough, of Dancing with the Stars fame, stays in peak shape at age 37 by using his Renu Therapy Cold Stoic in his contrast therapy routine.

Garrett McNamara

Big Wave Surfer Garrett McNamara is probably in the best shape of his life because he is training with a heated sauna and cold plunge therapy.


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Renu Therapy Ice Bath Tubs For Sale

Renu Therapy's ice bath tubs are 100% hand-made in the United States. They also come with the best warranty and have 100% customer satisfaction!

You won't need to prepare a cold tub by loading your bathtub with ice from an ice machine. You don't even have to think of ways to DIY your CWI. Renu Therapy's ice bath tubs come in just the right size so you feel comfortable taking an ice bath.

They are also designed to become an integral part of your home so there's a model that fits your interior be it minimalist or grand. Browse through our products and choose an ice bath tub for sale to fit your needs.

To learn more about the body benefits of ice baths, contact us at Renu Therapy today.