Ryan Duey on Benefits of Cold Plunge for Metabolism, Mood, and Recovery

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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the Wellness Mama Podcast. Iím Katie, from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, thatís Ďwellnesseí, with an Ďeí on the end. And this podcast is all about the benefits of cold plunge for metabolism, mood, and recovery, and I talk about my own personal experience with this over the last couple of years. Iím here with Ryan Duey, who attended Cal Poly University, lived in Spain for a couple of years working in Madrid, and then moved back to the U.S. and, during a near-death experience that catapulted him into a journey of self-inquiry, it led him to the jungles of the Amazon, the inside of a float tank, and a commitment to the health and wellness world. And heís now the co-founder of Plunge, along with the co-founder of Capitol Floats. And we go deep in this episode about the benefits of cold therapy, why cold therapy causes stress and this is a good thing, the nervous system and immune benefits, how it can boost metabolism, what happens when the shiver response is engaged. And then how-toís of optimal temperature, how long to stay, who can do it, can kids do it? And so much more. So, shorter but very fact-packed episode. I enjoyed a lot. Iíve been really incorporating cold quite a bit in my own life and I talk about why. So letís join Ryan. Ryan, welcome to the podcast.

Ryan: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Katie: I am excited to chat about cold because this is something Iíve been getting a lot more into this past year. But before we jump into that, I have a note in my show notes that you broke your back running with bulls and I have got to hear this story.

Ryan: Yes. So, after my early 20s, I moved to Spain and lived in Madrid. And it wasnít in Pamplona running with the standard festival thatís up there with running with the bulls. Itís an event called a Capea, and itís very traditional in Spain. What it is is basically you rent out a bull rink inÖand I had no clue of this. These were all my Spanish friends. My language wasnít great. I kinda just showed up to this event and it was a bull rink outside of Madrid on a farm. And basically what it is is youíre out in this rink and you run with bulls and they kinda move around and youÖ A lot of the Spanish people were much more eloquent with how they moved with them and knew how to kind of dance with them. And when I say dance, I just assume, like, move and I was not.

And so, I was one thatÖyoung 20s, wanted to show off a little and was out with the bulls and letís just say the bulls won and knocked me down and ranÖ Awesome experience out there. But yeah, it was one thatÖ Came back later. I didnít even know I broke it. I couldnít really walk the next few days and then I came back to the States and I had a chiropractor appointment, did some X-rays, and chiropractorís like, ďRyan, did you know you have a slight fracture in your back?Ē And I was likeÖand I knew exactly from where it was about four months earlier. So thatís my bull experience.

Katie: Wow, that is quite the story. And glad youíre recovered now. Iím guessing maybe part of that recovery or maybe not was potentially cold therapy which is what I wanna really go deep with you on today. So, to start broad, Iíd love to hear how you got into the world of cold therapy.

Ryan: I got into it in 20Öwell, I first learned of it in 2016, or actually 2015 when the Wim Hof documentary came out on Vice and I remember seeing that. I had no clue who Wim was. Cold water wasnít reallyÖ Outside of sports and you kinda suffer through it and get in an ice bath for your injury or that. That was the only thing I knew about it. Even breath work to the extent. And I remember seeing the ice documentary and it had a profound impact on my life. I watched it two nights in a row. I cried both nights. And just the inspiration of who Wim is as an individual and what he was bringing forward of us being in control of our nervous system and being able to heal ourselves through different sicknesses and ailments and everything that came with that and I didnítÖof course, I didnít really act on it. I just learned of it.

And it wasnít till 2018 that I had a number of sicknesses. I had about five colds over six months. And I was what I thought was healthy. I was active. I just kept getting sick and thatís when my health coach, health mentor brought forth like, ďHey, letís start incorporating some daily breath work and letís start getting you into cold water.Ē And that was really the only lifestyle change I made and I stopped getting sick. So thatís when it reallyÖthe power of it kind of came forth and I was like, ďWow, this is a real technology and tool to be utilized.Ē

Katie: So, if you can give us an overview of maybe some of the benefits of cold therapy, because a lot of our listeners are women. And I will admit I was like this as well for a long time, I would hear about cold therapy and I would read about the benefits and I would be like, ďNo. Iím not doing that. Iíll do sauna. Iíll do exercise. I do not wanna get cold.Ē But I have become very much a convert these last couple of years. So, talk to us about what the benefits are.

Ryan: Itís something that weíre still figuring out. I could speak for myself with the benefits of, you know, why I do it. It is the mental resiliency, itís the consistency of doing something hard daily, and I really think thereís some power in the consistency of it and rewriting, like, neural pathways in there. So, getting into the cold, the big thing that weíre doing is weíre stressing our bodies out. Itís an intentional stress, you know. Thereís environmental stressors that we have all the time daily and then there is this part, what we call hormetic stress. And getting into the body to naturallyÖto bring on adrenaline into our body, and then from there, itís us controlling our breath in this hyper-stressful state. In a sympathetic, fight-or-flight state, we get to override the system and actually breathe.

So, it has massive impacts on our nervous system. So great for just building a more robust nervous system or immune system, excuse me, and our nervous system. You know, naturally, our breath throughout the day gets really shallow. We get stressed out all the time. Well, the plunge is just an exercise to really build that muscle within our body. So autotomic nervous system which is, you know, the nervous system and the immune system, great for blood flow. Getting in there, youíre gonna get better blood flow into your vital organs. It has shown impact for metabolism, increasing metabolism in the body, cutting down inflammation.

Those are some of the main ones that are there and then, you know, weíre stillÖthere are still studies that are coming out of other things that are happening. The big thing for me is I just hear so many different people with different benefits that theyíre experiencing. You know, with Plunge, we have a lot of different customers that come to us and they just have turned to a lot of different things. Like, we just recentlyÖthis is one that just happened recently. We had a person that had COVID and they had COVID long haul and they wereÖyou know, they tried everything. They were in studies. They were taking all the medications out there, and we get a text and the guyís had the unit for a week and his recovery score on WHOOPÖheís like, ďI have not seen this since I had COVID into my ability to sleep, my ability toÖI finally feel calm,Ē which is him saying, ďMy nervous system has finally calmed down.Ē So, you know, that was just a personal testimony that just happened recently. But itís a pretty wide, wide spectrum of benefits.

Katie: Yeah, I definitely have felt that myself on the amazing energy and hormones that seem to kick in after cold. Like, admittedly, for me, still, that first little bit, 30 seconds in cold is not the most fun but you feel so amazing when you get out. And I used to sayÖlike, Iím much better now. I used to say I wasnít good at meditation and the beauty of cold is you get in cold water and all of a sudden you can meditate because you can do nothing but focus on your breath. Youíre not making a to-do list, youíre not worried about whatís for dinner, youíre notÖlike, all the stress goes away and youíre like, ďI am breathing. Iím just breathing.Ē

I also recently talked to a guy who used to play football and had had a lot of TBIs and he said cold is the only thing that helps his brain, like, relieve that pressure and kind of, like, increase his focus. And I think there definitely seems to be, like, a neurotransmitter connection there.

Ryan: I havenít heard that one, the concussion. Thatís incredible.

Katie: Yeah, it was just anecdotal for him but he said itísÖnow I think he does 20 minutes a day just purely for the mental side. And Iíve read some data that there are kind of separate benefits if you do cold by itself and also, like, contrast therapy, combing heat and cold also has a lot of benefits, but kind of, like, theyíre different camps almost. Can you explain? I know a lot of people like to do sauna, cold, sauna, cold. Just compare and contrast using them in different ways like that.

Ryan: Yeah, the contrast isÖ So first, like, for cold, one of the main mechanisms if youíre just doing cold is a lot of who people do it are really attracted to it right now for metabolism increase. And so, the cold is really phenomenal to get in and stay cold. Itís the body kind of adapting strictly to the cold. So, if youíre gonna be heating back up after, that might not be the best route for metabolism. But for contrast, I find it to just beÖ On a personal side, itís the most calming mechanism. Like, when I get into the cold, Iím on fire, and then when I contrast back and forth, my sleep is on another level when I incorporate the contrast.

You know, itís also one for probably a lot of your listeners here of women and pregnancy, and mitochondria is so important for that. And, you know, it is important. And Iím not saying itís the best to get into an ice bath per se in 30 degrees. I wouldnít really recommend that for a pregnant mom. But it is important to challenge our mitochondria in those states. So going maybe in a cooler temperature of 60 to 55 degrees and then warming up a little. And Iím not saying a sauna at 200 plus degrees, but at least doing the spectrum where youíre challenging the mitochondria and thatís gonnaÖyou know, thatís so vital for that health during that period of time.

Katie: Yeah, Iíd love to understand a little bit more about the metabolism benefits, because Iíve definitely seen this and I know a lot of people are using it for that specifically. And Iíve definitely firsthand witnessed the sleep side as well. It takes an act of the will for me every single time, but I know if I get in the cold for even just 3 or 4 minutes, about 20, 30 minutes before bedtime, my deep sleep score is amazing the next day. So, Iíd love to understand, like, what is the mechanism thatís happening with metabolism benefits and then also sleep.

Ryan: Andrew Huberman has a lot on this right now. He did the deep dive onto metabolism. And his big thing is taking us toÖyou really wanna take yourself to a shiver and that shiver response sends some sort of trigger into the body on the metabolism side. And thereís the discussion of brown fat versus white fat and what those does to the body. And getting that cold response has been shown to turn white fat, which is kind of ourÖas we age, itís a less energy source than brown fat, but cold-water therapy, increased metabolism can turn our white fat to brown fat. And thatís something that, like, all of us as babies, that was what we had. We had brown fat. Thatís, like, natural in our body. And then as we age, biologically, a lot of our fat turns to white fat.

So, getting into the cold is a great response to kind of browning, for lack of a better term, our white fat to brown fat. And then on the metabolism side, itísÖI donít quite know, like, the exact mechanism, but for me, itís, like, my bodyís just, like, alive. Itís almost like thereís an energy output thatís taking place. And, you know, you can get it, like you said, in such a short window of time. Itís not a long window that you have toÖitís not 20 minutes that you need to go sit in an ice bath. I mean, it doesnít even need to be in 30 degrees. Itís, you know, 2 to 4 minutes and even 55 degrees and youíre gonna start getting that response in the body.

Katie: So, letís talk about those two variables because I know thereísÖIíve seen a lot of debate and there does seem to be a trend right now, at least on social media of, like, go colder, go longer. And I do have to think, like, eventually, thereís a diminishing return, and at some point, itís actually not gonna be great for the body to push it too far. But what have you seen as far as data on what is the temperature range you need to hit to start to get the benefits and how long? Because Iíve read for instance some data that even in, like, the low 50s, youíre getting that tangible benefit, youíre hitting shiver response, and that maybe thereís no need to push it into the 30s to actually get those benefits.

Ryan: Absolutely. I actually encourage anyone thatÖyou know, any of our people that get a Plunge or anyone Iím talking to, Iím like, ďStart in that 55-to-60-degree range.Ē The biggest thing for me is finding consistency. I liken cold therapy to working out. We get the benefits from working out by being consistent. And getting in at 39 degrees for 20 minutes your first time, itís probably not the best mechanism in. You donít wanna go to a CrossFit workout, your first workout back in six months and break your body down and not be able to get back into the water.

On Wim Hofís site they talk about the 60 degrees or less. Theyíve shown benefits for this. And itís reallyÖI mean, this is kind of the magic of it. Itís listening to your body. Like, all of our bodies are different and that is the beautiful part of cold plunging to me is you have to build a relationship with yourself in the water, in the cold, being able to listen to where am I at my threshold, where is healthy for me, where isnít healthy for me.

So, like, to your point, I think itís finding consistency and finding a temperature that you know you can get in. Start for two minutes. Donít even do minutes, do breaths. Letís go, like, 20 to 30 controlled breaths. How long can you do that for? Your body will naturally tell you, ďHey, letís start lowering this temperature.Ē Like you said, thereís diminishing returns. Itís like a workout. Youíve done this weight now for three months. You might wanna start pushing it or try a different workout, get your muscles feeling a different workout. Itís the same thing of what weíre doing to our nervous system. Weíre working it out and we need to play around with the times and the intervals of how weíre doing it.

Katie: Yeah. I think of it a little like fasting where thereís certainly physical benefits as well but I feel like the resiliency and building that mental toughness is a huge advantage of the cold, and especiallyÖI was so resistant to it. Itís been really fun to see my ability to stay and go up over time. I also am competitive so I know in myself Iíve pushed it a few times just to prove I could and stayed in for too long and then you feel tired the whole rest of the day. So, there is that point of, like, listen to your body and I didnít do that. Is there any guidelines also about how far into the water to go? Because I know for instance, like, if I go full thyroid in, itís a totally different level than if Iím just, like, you know, waist deep or chest deep in the water.

Ryan: Great question. Yes, like you said, it totally matters into where youíre at in the body. I think from an optimal plunge standpoint, itís trying to get all the way down, shoulders under, up to your neck in and the rest of the body in. Your hands and your feet are always, like, a very intense point. So, for myself, my feet are under and I can do it. My hands, I usually hold out and then Iím bringing them in everyÖI kinda fluctuate between every 15 seconds and I just try and take them to its limit and them I bring them up. Itís where the most nerve endings are in our body so theyíre gonna be the most intense part in the body.

And I encourage, like, my girlfriend. She plunges all the time and she isÖsometimes itís just getting intoÖlike, below her chest. And itís, like, finding the place that you can get in and do it. So, if itís just so intense that the shoulders arenít gonna makeÖyouíre not gonna get in because thatís too intense, just get the body and get the legs in, do that. Get your 15 breaths in. But yeah, I think from an optimal standpoint, itís getting that neck in and then trying to submerge as much of the body as possible.

Katie: Yeah, and it is less fun to get shoulders in but I feel like you do adapt quickly and I heard even Tim Ferriss 10 years ago talk about this that thereís a special benefit to cooling kind of the brain stem, back of the neck area for the metabolism side and for burning fat and for that brown fat creation. There seems to be a signaling mechanism connected to the hypothalamus, they think. Because he even recommended, you know, you can put an ice pack on the back of your neck and get some of the effects because of that. So, I feel like thatís a high value point to get in the water even though itís not fun. And I donít know if itís actually recommended but one thing I found, to your point, is that my hands and feet do get cold first, so Iíll often keep my hands out, like, almost like praying in front of my face but Iíll put on my scuba boots.

And so, I can stay so much longer if my feet arenít, like, pins and needle burning. And my thought hopefully is that Iím able to keep the rest of my body in longer, hopefully create more brown fat. And I know from, like, past medical training, like, hands and feet are the optimal to cool down if someone has heat stroke for instance because they so effectively cool the body, but they also donít have a lot of fat typically. So, there is kind of minimal benefit to getting your hands and feet extra cold. So at least thatís one of my hacks that I do. I donít know if itís recommended but I find I can stay in so much longer.

Ryan: No, Iíve heard that from other people and that isÖitís super intuitive on your part to listen to your body and figure out how do IÖ thatís part of the game is figuring out the part that you can withstand longer in there.

Katie: Yeah, and especially when I used to have thyroid issues. I found, like, those would really, like, hurt because I was already kinda, like, cold anyway. But the cool part was getting used to the cold, I felt like my body temperature actually went up over time and I kind of adapted to it and I actually likeÖmy basal body temperature went up. So even though it seems like if youíre already cold, you donít wanna get cold. I feel like it can have that amazing rebound effect which probably is going back to those metabolic benefits.

Also it feels like itís important any time weíre talking about anything to make sure we cover benefits and also potential risk. So, are there any risk or downsides to cold therapy or things people need to be aware of before they jump into a cold practice?

Ryan: Yeah, I thinkÖI mean, heart issues. It is a stressor on the body. Thatís the pure intention that weíre doing of getting into the cold water is to stress our body out. So, you know, if you have heart issues, thatís definitely one to monitor, whether itís talking to your health practitioner or just easing in, you know, starting out your first time. And itís a new way to learn your body. So, I think thatísÖthe heartís a big one.

Like, Iíve talked about earlier with pregnant mothers. I think findingÖ You know, Iím not a doctor. Obviously, I havenít been pregnant, and so I donít quite know that, but itís talking with some mothers that have. Itís not going super extreme with it. So, I think thatís always the biggest thing is getting into it. Donít redline it your first time. And thatís really for anyone and finding that temperature that you can just kinda get in, take it to your edge, and build some consistency with that.

Katie: And I know any time weíre talking about pregnancy or nursing, itís always of course talk to your medical professional before trying anything kind of situation, of course. But I know when I was in Finland, we did sauna and cold plunge in very extreme conditions and there were pregnant moms in both of those. And weíre talking, like, 180-degree plus saunas and 28 degree moving cold water. So, I definitely have seen people do it. Is there any data that youíve seen? I know we also canít really do easy studies on pregnant women, but it makes sense to me that women wouldíve encountered cold while pregnant. Like, we donít just naturally get to live in a perfectly 70-degree environment just because weíre pregnant. Are there any safety guidelines around that that you know of?

Ryan: I havenít. I havenít. Iíve definitely scoured the internet for different studies on it and thereís been someÖPubMed has some stuff on it. Itís also one, likeÖwith me, I donít have experience with it so I weighed into that, like, much more cautiously into just encouraging people likeÖitís kind of a self-exploration thing. And then on the data standpoint, I donít have anything to really bring forward there.

Katie: For a lot of our listenersÖ Most people listening are moms, so another question I know weíre gonna get is what about kids? And Iíll say on a personal level, again, not medical advice but I often will get in with one of my kids and weíll kinda compete to see who can stay longer. Fair warning, itís tougher when you have a moving child moving the water around because you stay colder. But what do you recommend when it comes to kids and guidelines? I know in the sauna Iíve had experts on here say itís fine but they need to listen to their body. So, if they get hot, let them get out. Is it maybe the same with cold or any guidelines there?

Ryan: Itís exactly the same there. Itís been interesting. Kids are so attracted to the cold. Iím sureÖI donít know if youíve seen that with your kids. Itís just this curiosity with it. And itís actually something we hear with a lot of ourÖjust people that plunge. It kind of brings back that childlike life into them. Like, they feel like a child again in the cold. So, there are some interesting parallels there. But for kids, I always recommendÖtheyíre gonna know, you know. A lot of them, itís a shock. They get in, theyíre notÖtheyíre only gonna be in for so long. So, theyíre gonna listen to their body. I think the goal with kids that Iíve seen in, you know, my family and whatnot is just getting them to get a few controlled breaths in there. Like, thereís gonna be such a shock to them, and itís a fun and itísÖlike, they wanna scream and itís, like, can they just getÖ Letís just go three to five like, like, [inhales]. Like, can they send that signal to their body, like, ďIím safe. Iím okay.Ē And I think thatís the goal of just kind of a bite-sized win for a kid.

Katie: Yeah, I feel like kids are so instinctive too and they do know when theyíre gonna getÖtheyíre not gonna push themselves past the point where itís dangerous because their bodies will absolutely tell them to get out. But itís fun to watch my kids, especially the younger ones. Their responses are so natural. They usually start laughing which speaks to all the release of all the neurotransmitters and dopamine thatís happening when you get in cold water.

Ryan: Totally.

Katie: Yeah, itís a lot of fun to watch. Another tip I have personally is when I was trying to, like, work up to five minutes a day, I would put on a song that was five minutes long, so for me, it was Lady Gagaís ďBad RomanceĒ and then I always knew, like, there were benchmarks. Like, ďOh, when she starts speaking French, Iím almost done. I can get out soon.Ē But now itís funny. Itís so Pavlovian that if I hear that on the radio, I start getting goosebumps. Itís like a trained response these days.

Ryan: Thatís an incredible hack. Like, the song, the one song is the thing that we hear from so many people. Like, ďIíll stay in for a song.Ē And itís just another way to kinda hack it and know and train the body to, you know, send the signal, youíre safe. I love the Lady Gaga song.

Katie: What about as far as timing throughout the day and/or timing in relation to working out? Because for instance, Iíve heard that if youÖlike, you actually want a little bit of the inflammatory response after, for instance, a really strong weight training session. So, you might not wanna immediately blunt that with cold. I donít know if thatís actually correct but Iíve heard that tossed around. Is there any kind of optimal time either objectively or in relation to other activities when it comes to cold?

Ryan: I mean, my simple answer is when can you do it. Like, itís already so hard to do it just with all the natural excuses and life and all theÖitís hard to get under cold water. So, whenever youíre gonna do it, if that is after a workoutÖbecause youíre warmed up and itís aÖ I always find it a little easier after a workout. If thatís your time youíre gonna get in, great. Like, just do it. Donít overthink it. And to your point, yes. We do want that response post workout and to kind of get right into the cold and suppress that inflammation impact thatís taking place. Like, it probably couldÖit will have an impact on our workouts. Like, I was talking to Dr. Kelly Starrett about this. Heís kind of a recovery expert. And his big thing isÖhe said, ďIf I had a client, if theyíre a bodybuilder or some professional athlete, yes. I would recommend them probably not to get in the cold right after their workout.Ē But most of us arenít that. Most of us are working out for health and wellness. And so, the biggest thing is, like, how do I just feel good to go work out tomorrow? So, if that means cold plunging, like, that might be more benefit for you than being concerned about getting the maximum gains from your workout. So, my answer is I think yes, there is something there. And I donít think a lot of us are at a spot to really worry about that being the factor.

Katie: Can you speak to the hormonal side a little bit? Like I said, Iíve seen data about cold plunge helping with hormones. But any specifics on whatís actually going on there that we know about? I know, like you said, itís an early area of research, even though thereís age-old evidence of it. But do we have any data on what is happening with our hormones when we get in cold?

Ryan: I mean, the actual, the mechanism, Iím not the most articulate to say that. I think there are studies out there especially with anxiety and depression into whatís happening there and I think there isÖweíre getting a massive adrenaline shock. And then in that is being able to control our breath through that. So thatísÖ Anxiety and all that, itís, like, a naturalÖitís usually adrenaline in the brain. But in the body, weíre getting adrenaline through our body and weíre being able to kinda override the system with our breath and controlling, lowering our heart rate.

So, there are some studies out there that show different sample sizes of anxiety, depression, and people having impacts from getting in the cold, and I think thatís kind of the depth that I understand it. Thereís really goodÖyeah. Itís a unique one online where thereís probably a lot of other things under the surface thatís happening that we donít even quite realize yet.

Katie: And like I mentioned, most people listening are parents. So, Iím curious if youíve heard any specific kind of cool, unexpected things from families specifically who incorporate cold plunge?

Ryan: Well, you talked about it is itís created this unique family time that isÖI did not anticipate when we launched Plunge that that would be a thing. Itís become this kind ofÖwe hearÖthereís so many moms and dads. Itís like, ďItís become this ritual with my daughter every night that we go and we do something hard together or weÖitís become this family time. As opposed to, like, game night, itís, like, weíre doing plunge night.Ē And so thatís been the coolest thing is build this camaraderie amongst the family to do it together. How long can we go? And, you know, itís not a super long time that you do it, but itís just this new ritual that gets built into the family and itís beenÖI did not anticipate that and itís been really cool to witness.

Katie: And I know you have, well, several probably specific products for cold plunging and that youíre making this a lot more accessible to families. Like, I know when I first started this years ago, you kinda had to build one out of a freezer. That wasnít the best experience. And make sure you unplugged it so you didnít accidentally shock yourself. And sometimes it would freeze over and youíd have to chop the ice and there was the whole thing around it. What are the options now? Because I feel like you haveÖtalk us through the options you have and are they indoor, outdoor? Where can they go?

Ryan: Yeah, so our unit isÖit came kind of out of this conundrum of thereísÖitís either a chest freezer which, you know, is kind of thisÖitís kind of an eyesore. Itís not the safest thing. Itís not built for that. Itís not built to filling it up with water and getting in all the time. Itís gonna leak, itís gonna do that. So, my co-founder and I, we launched this out of aÖ man, thereís gotta be a way to make this more affordable than the few options that were on the market at the time. And we did come up with something that we thought was, you knowÖboth men and women really enjoyed it. It looks good. Itís effective. Itís clean. Itís cold. Itís on demand whenever you want it. So, we have our standard model and then weíve developed a few other ones thatÖ Weíre gonna be soon launching an XL unit which is a much larger unit. And we have a unit that turns into a hot tub so you can fluctuate it between hot and cold.

But itís a cool feature for, you knowÖwe sell it and you can turn it into a hot tub but itís mostly for our customers that are in really cold conditions because these are indoor and outdoor units. So, they can upregulate the temperature. So, if you live in Montana during the winter, you know, the concern is not, ďIs my water gonna get cold enough?Ē Itís, ďIs my water gonna freeze? Is the piping gonna freeze?Ē So, thisÖand sometimes people donít wanna be plunging in 30s. They wanna be plunging in the 50s. So how do I get control of my water? So thatís our hot and cold unit. You can upregulate the temperature, put it to exactly where you want it. So, we have our standard, our hot and cold, and then, coming soon, our XL unit.

Katie: Awesome. And yeah. I feel like in the winter right now, Iím struggling more withÖitís harder to get in the cold plunge when itís already 30 degrees outside. And so, like, Iíve turned up the temperature now on ours in the 40s so Iím not as cold.

Ryan: Thatís the magic, though, is getting in in that winter time where itís just the dailyÖyou donít wanna do it and itís just having that on-demand option to be able to be just like, ďOkay, Iím gonna do it.Ē

Katie: Yes, and it isÖlike I said, I donít feel like that first 10 seconds ever seems to get much easier. But the staying in gets easier. And the benefitsÖI do it for the feeling as soon as I get out. Itís almost like a complete state change, just that your skin is all tingly, your brain is just on, and thatís what drives me to keep getting back in.

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I also feel like anythingÖlike, cold plunge is one part of many, many things we can do for health and Iím a huge fan. Iím curious for you what some of the other things that are your non-negotiables when it comes to health or maybe your own 80-20 of things that you feel like give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to staying healthy.

Ryan: I mean, to me, itís simple. I mean, I have a list of supplements and products that I take that, you know, are always there. But itís getting sun on my body, getting my feet in the ground. Cold plunging has become that time, and breath work. Like, those are the main core attributes of it. Another big thing which is floating. Iím a big advocate of float tanks and float therapy. So thatísÖitís kind of the opposite of plunging. With plunging, youíre bringing in this stressor to your body where getting in a float tank and getting the Epsom salt. Weíre all to some level deficient in magnesium. So, getting into the tank, having that experience and then itís really getting the external stimuli cut down on the body and getting in there for 60 minutes.

Whether itís a full meditative experience which itís not always that experience but sometimeÖitís just that is a completely calm to the nervous system. So, for anyone that is not familiar with what float tanks are, Iím sure a lot of your audience is, but, you know, a float tank is a chamber you get into. It has about a foot of water and about 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt. And you go in usually with no music, no lights and it feels like youíre floating in outer space. The waterís heated to skin temperature. Itís about 93.5 degrees so you donít really know where your body ends and the water begins. And you really just get to let go and surrender and have no gravity on your body, really release a lot of tension thatís in the body and then just have the mind. Whatís really taking place over that window and itís kind of up for debate the exact time period, but, you know, usually around that 45-minute mark, the prefrontal cortex and the exterior lobe start to separate. And when those are connected, thatís when we callÖthatís when we have the chatter, the monkey mind. So, when those start to separate, we get those moments of clarity, those moments of peace. So, floatingís a bigÖIím a big advocate of that, you know, whether thatís once a month, twice a month, however often you can get in. Thatís a huge, huge tool.

Katie: Yeah, Iíve done some floating in the past as well and itís amazing how it both seems like youíre in there forever and also for, like, two minutes. Like, time kind of disappears once you kind of get relaxed in there and it was a weird experience for me the first time but then it was easier to, like, just get into that state change pretty quickly. And I think especially for moms it can be an attractive bio hack because itís totally quiet and peaceful and no oneís asking you for anything and you literally just get to be for a few minutes, which is a rare treat for a lot of moms, I think. I also love that you brought up sunlight because this is a recuring theme among high achievers on this podcast and I think one thatís often underestimated is just getting natural light a couple of times throughout the day, from the data Iíve seen, has a really profound impact on hormones. Like, pretty drastic. And Iíve seen that in my own labs. Especially getting in the sunlight in the morning as soon as possible after waking up is a really important signaling mechanism for sleep and for your right, correct cortisol patterns. And I think thatís one of those great things thatís completely free that we can all do and that seems to really compound the benefits of anything else weíre adding in.

Ryan: A hundred percent. As Iíve gone on my wellness journey, itís like our body naturally has its own cycles, and itís, like, what are the triggers to just kind ofÖ Like, when weíre rising in the morning, like, what are the triggers that the bodyÖto get the body to be doing what it wants to be doing? So, you know, sunlight is thatÖI wouldnít even call it a hack. Itís just the fuel that gives that body that response and then we canÖyou know, it naturally starts to do what itís supposed to do.

Katie: Absolutely. Iím also a big fan of a little bit of midday bright sunlight because thatís another very just important signaling mechanism. And skin exposure to me is very important but also, itísÖ.people donít realize, thereís sensors in our eyes that respond very drastically to natural sunlight. So even just 10 minutes of being outside on a break on lunchtime, go for a walk, it makes a huge difference in your hormones over time, just like weíve talked about with cold that, like, hormetic stress from cold can make a huge difference in hormones over time. And to your point, I think it all does go back to consistency as well and actually what can you stick to or how can you actually incorporate it.

A couple of other questions I love to ask for the end of interviews. The first being if there is a book or a number of books that have had a really profound impact on your life? And if so, what they are and why?

Ryan: A book thatís just been timeless for me and I keep comingÖIíve read it a number of times and IÖ itís a book called ďWho DiesĒ and itís by Stephen Levine. Stephen LevineÖthis was written back in the í80s. Stephen Levine was a hospice caretaker, arguably had spent more time with people in their transition states than any human on the planet and Ram Dass really encouraged him to bring this forward. And itís just a great investigation into death. I think death is something that I wouldÖitís just something I encourage myself to explore more and more. Itís something inevitable. Itís happening around us all the time. So, itís a beautiful book into death. And looking at it from our own mortality to people dying around us or if we were a parent and our child dies, like, what is that. Like, all the levels of death that take place. And I think itís a beautiful, safe space to kinda go in and investigate this inevitable thing that we all experience.

Katie: Thatís a new one. Iíll make sure thatís linked in the show notes as well. And I love that idea. Iíve got actually the words memento mori on my wrist as a reminder, remember your death. And the irony being is when we remember that and actually kind of sort of meditate on it, it actually tends to make people less afraid of actually dying and more content in life. I love that you brought that up.

Ryan: Thatís the key I really take fromÖI mean, the book really hammers that home but itís, like, the more open to our death, you know, the more weíre gonna openly live life and itís this paradox that they dance together and Iíve really come to see that.

Katie: Awesome. And lastly, any advice, parting advice you wanna leave with our listeners today? It could be related to cold or not.

Ryan: Advice? Iím always very hesitant to give advice because everyoneís at their own space. I think for me the mantra that I come back to just kind of in general as an entrepreneur, in my life, you know, in partnerships, in relationships, in all the stuff, itísÖand itís been so liberating to me, but no one knows what theyíreÖnone of us know what theyíre doing. And, you know, I bring it forward in business a lot where Iíve kind of, ďOh, whatís the move? Whatís the answer?Ē Thinking that, you knowÖin an old job I had, my bosses knew what to do and itís just like, ďDude, no one knows what theyíre doing and everyoneís just figuring it out.Ē And itís always just been one of the most liberating mantras that Iíve had.

Katie: Awesome. Well, I think thatís a perfect place to wrap up. I hope this has been really educational for a lot of people. I hope weíve encouraged some people to try to brave the cold and to experiment with it. Like I said, Iíve seen benefits in my own life and itís one of my favorite things I do now for mental benefits. And I just, like, actually miss it now when I donít get in the cold for a couple of days. But I know itís a hard start for a lot of people, especially women seem to be resistant to it at first. I hope weíve shed some light on the benefits and made it seem more doable, more attainable. And Iíll of course have links in the show notes. And I think thereís possibly a specific code that weíll have for listeners that they can check out in the show notes as well. But where can people find your products and learn more?

Ryan: Yeah, just the thecoldplunge.com. Itís our site there. We have a great blog with that cover even more of these topics that weíve discussed. It has our products there. So thecoldplunge.com.

Katie: Awesome. Well, Ryan, thank you for your time. Thanks for all that you do and for spending time educating us today.

Ryan: Likewise, Katie. I appreciate you having me on.

Katie: And thanks, as always to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable resources, your time, your energy, and your attention with us today. Weíre both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the ďWellness MamaĒ podcast.

If youíre enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.



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