Cedar and Stone Nordic Sauna


The Healing Power of Contrast Therapy for Athletes: A Runner’s Guide

Runners are known for pushing their bodies to the limit, challenging themselves to go faster, farther, and stronger with each stride. However, this intense physical exertion can take a toll on muscles and joints, leading to soreness, inflammation, and fatigue. To support our bodies in the recovery process, many athletes turn to traditional sauna sessions and cold plunge therapy as effective tools to rejuvenate and restore.

The Benefits of Traditional Sauna for Runners

  1. Muscle Relaxation: Running can cause tightness and tension in the muscles. Spending time in a traditional sauna can help relax these muscles, reducing soreness and promoting recovery.
  2. Improved Circulation: The heat in a sauna can increase blood flow to the muscles, which can help deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to aid in the repair process.
  3. Detoxification: Sweating is a natural way for the body to release toxins. Sauna sessions can support the body’s detoxification process, helping runners rid themselves of harmful substances that may hinder recovery.  
  4. Stress Relief: The calming environment of a sauna can help reduce stress and promote mental relaxation, which is essential for overall recovery and performance.
  5. Improved Sleep: Sleep well after race day with a sauna session. Saunas are renowned for their ability to raise body temperature and induce sweating. The post-sauna cooldown period mimics the natural drop in body temperature that occurs during sleep, signaling to your body that it’s time to wind down. By elevating your body temperature in a sauna, you may find it easier to achieve a restful state come bedtime. Learn more. 

Photos by : Jessica Steddom Photography

The Power of Cold Plunge for Runners

  1. Reduced Inflammation: Cold water immersion, commonly known as a cold plunge, can help reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints after intense exercise, speeding up the recovery process.  Cold water immersion is “associated with lower levels of cardiac disease and stroke, and inflammation levels are getting drastically reduced in the cold water,” shared Andrew Lachlan of Sauna House.
  2. Faster Muscle Recovery: Alternating between hot and cold therapy, known as contrast therapy, can improve circulation and drainage, aiding in faster muscle recovery for runners. This recent study highlights that, “cold water immersion was an effective recovery tool after high-intensity exercise, with positive outcomes occurring for muscular power, muscle soreness, and CK (Creatine Kinase) levels”.
  3. Pain Relief: The cold temperature of a plunge pool can act as a natural analgesic, numbing pain receptors and providing relief for sore muscles and joints. A recent study highlighted that “intensive physical exertion or exercise results in fatigue, muscle damage, and edema. Cold water immersion therapy reduces pain, fatigue, and edema for 90-96 hours after treatment.” 
  4. Mental Clarity: Cold plunges are known to boost mental clarity and alertness, which can be beneficial for runners looking to enhance focus and concentration during training and competition. 

For former-NFL player, Mitch Mathews, cold baths were initially a way to  reduce inflammation. But he’s also noticed that cold plunging improves, “your emotions, your energy levels, your serotonin, your dopamine, you feel so much better, happier. When I do a cold bath in the morning I can tell my energy levels are longer, I dont have peaks and valleys of energy.”

Want to learn more about how to cold plunge safely and effectively? Read the article.

Maximize Your Recovery with Sauna and Cold Plunge

Integrating traditional sauna sessions and cold plunge therapy into your recovery routine can offer numerous benefits for runners looking to optimize their performance. If you’ve followed us for a while, you know we deeply believe sauna always includes the five steps of the thermic cycle – hot, cold, rest, rehydrate, repeat. These complementary therapies can support your body’s healing process, helping you bounce back stronger and ready to tackle your next run with renewed energy and vitality.

Running Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth this summer? Join us for Grandma’s Marathon Recovery Sessions on Saturday, June 22nd, 2024.  These sessions will be 90 minutes long for optimal recovery, with your experience including traditional sauna, cold water immersion, water, tea, and electrolytes for hydration, and spaces to rest before repeating the cycle.

“We’ve participated in the Grandma’s Marathon fun for years, and love helping runners say so long to sore legs and muscles after the race,” recalled Justin Juntunen, co-founder and CEO of Cedar and Stone Nordic Sauna. “We look forward to hosting even more marathon runners and their loved ones this season with the help of our floating sauna and our 90-minute recovery session offering.”

Book your running recovery session: https://cedarandstonesauna.com/summer-events/

Want to add an outdoor sauna for recovery and relaxation to your property? Reserve yours.

“Great place to rest and recharge sore muscles after a long run.” – Steve O’Hara, Google Review

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