Updated: Jun 29, 2021
You can find a lot of information on the Internet about the beneficial effects of the sauna, cold/warm showers and cold bathing. In fact, there is probably no person who does not know about it, or at least has not heard about it somewhere. There are also a lot of people who do not use this information :) I was also in this group. However, I decided to expand my comfort zone and make these activities a nice experience for me. There is no need to hide that a lot depends on our attitude and intentions. I was highly motivated. I started my adventure at the beginning of 2019 with saunas and cold showers after each session. It was too early for really cold water then.
The only cold thing I could do at that time was standing barefoot in the snow.
After some time, I allowed myself to go colder and colder. The experiences were unbelivable. What happens to the body and mind during a cold shower is insane. From my experience, I have noticed that everything is even more intense when entering a tank with very cold water after the sauna, instead of taking a shower. When I lived in Germany, I had the opportunity to use a sauna that had such a tank and you could immerse yourself in it after the session. Endorphins were having a party inside me!
As I like to experience, I've recently decided to go and make a cold bath in a lake in Switzerland. It was something new and different for me. Some say it is simpler because of the smallest temperature difference. It certainly encourages the fact that it is for free :)
In Switzerland it is not unusual to enter the water in winter. People don't stare at you like at monkey in a zoo, so you don't have to worry too much about it. Before entering the lake, I did some exercises to warm up my body a little and improve blood flow. I had neoprene boots, a hat and gloves. I stayed in the water for a few minutes only. It was very interesting and I will definitely repeat it more than once. Just not yet. I have to strenghten my kidneys and adrenal glands at first. I am gonna definitely read one of Wim Hof books to learn about his method. I have read many articles about him and am watching his movies. I think though reading his book may be even more useful.
Nevertheless, a sauna and a tank with very cold water or a shower resonate with me much more then just a cold bath. Before each session, I dry-brush my body. It helps me to eliminate the dry tissue and it stimulates the lymp. In the sauna, if I can, I add essential oils to the water (whatever I feel like or what I know I need). As a rule, I do 4 sessions of 15-20 minutes with 15-minute breaks in between. Only then do I feel that I am hardening my body.
At the moment, this solution suits me best. I listen carefully to my body. People like me shouldn't take drastic measures when it comes to cold. For exhausted adrenal glands (and kidneys) this may turn out to be adding fuel to the fire. So slowly, in small steps, but regularly. For me, warm/cold morning showers every morning after the training have become a real pleasure. Who needs coffee in the morning to stimulate - I recommend replacing it with a bucket of cold water :)