Fire & Ice

About Our cold Plunge

Contrast therapy is a process of moving back and forth from a hot sauna to a cold tub. It is a popular rehabilitation/recovery/relaxation technique that works on the concept of vasodilation (heat) and vasoconstriction (cold) with roots in ancient naturopathic medicine. Evidence suggests that primitive man instinctively used contrasting temperatures to treat various ailments as well as maintain health and vigor. Used for thousands of years to cure the sick and heal the wounded, today contrast therapy is used most often by athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking for quick recovery from training or relief from sore muscles or injuries. But you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy the benefits contrast therapy provides - it can also be an effective practice for anyone suffering from a variety of chronic mental and physical ailments or simply looking to enhance the overall quality of your life.

Contrast therapy activates the body’s natural healing powers and can provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems. It elevates the heart rate, adrenaline and the release of endorphins, which eases pain and lightens the mood. It can be used to reduce swelling around injuries or to improve muscle recovery following exercise by reducing the levels of blood lactate concentration. Contrast therapy also rejuvenates the mind; people say it leaves them feeling invigorated, clear headed and better able to handle stress. Some say it has helped them cope with grief, anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges.

schedule Contrast Therapy


Physical Recovery:

  • Reduces pain
  • Reduces muscle soreness and fatigue
  • Decreases inflammation / swelling / edema (constriction of blood vessels prevents the body from sending too much blood to an affected area)
  • Removes excess lactic acid
  • Accelerates recovery from workouts and injuries
  • Increases heart rate
  • Increases range of motion
  • Boosts performance
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage (causes muscles to contract and circulate waste products out of the body)
  • Increases thermogenesis (creation of heat when exposed to cold; calorie burning benefit)
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Psychological / Mental Health:

  • Increases energy - norepinephrine levels are 5x higher in people who regularly plunge (naturally occurring chemical that acts as both a stress hormone and neurotransmitter; helps regulate mood and anxiety; helps mobilize the brain for action; improves energy and attentiveness; effective in treating mood disorders such as depression and aspects of bipolar disorder)
  • Elevates mood
  • Promotes discipline
  • Increases resilience / endurance
  • Increases alertness / focus (triggers survival mode; thoughts disappear as the mind stills; practice mindfulness and being present in the moment)
  • Reduces stress / anxiety by controlling the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Stimulates the vagus nerve (sympathetic activity declines while parasympathetic activity increases)
schedule Contrast Therapy

Overall Health:

  • Better sleep
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Strengthens the immune system (boosts the white blood cell count by forcing the body to react to changing conditions; improves the body’s ability to activate its defenses)
  • Increases blood flow / improves circulation (blood rushes to vital organs so heart is forced to pump more efficiently to push blood through all vessels and supply every part of the body with oxygen and nutrients)
  • Boosts metabolism (accelerates weight loss by increased burning of “white fat” (bad fat) and usage of “brown fat” (good fat) to convert into heat energy)
  • Increases glutathione levels (body’s “master antioxidant”)
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More Information / Research


What is the recommended protocol?

There is not an exact protocol for contrast therapy. Try 10-15 minutes in the sauna, followed by 1-3 minutes in the cold plunge; repeat 2-3 cycles. Never stay more than 5 minutes in the cold plunge! Focus on breathing deeply during a session. Dry off well before entering the sauna. End the session with cold to keep any toxins out of your system and decrease any swelling that you might have. Stay hydrated before, during and after a session.

How often should I plunge for the best benefits?

Although some people do it daily, adding in just two to three contrast sessions a week can dramatically improve your ability to deal with temperature swings, improve your recovery and increase your mental and physical resilience.

Is there anyone who should not use contrast therapy?

Like anything health-related, the hot and cold technique should be discussed with a doctor, particularly if there are any health concerns. Contrast therapy should not be used by:

  • Pregnant women since the fetus cannot endure extreme temperature changes.
  • Due to its expanding properties, heat therapy is not advisable for anyone with an acute injury that has occurred in the last 72 hours, nor should it be used on any injury that’s particularly swollen or bruised as it could lead to increased swelling.
  • No open wounds, ulcers or skin infections.
  • No fever.
  • No metal implants.
  • It is not advisable for anyone with a heart condition/disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), neuropathy, recent surgery, frostbite or other cold-related injury, peripheral vascular disease or compromised circulation, Raynaud’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Buerger’s disease, diabetes or kidney problems.

What is the temperature of the cold plunge?

45° – 50°F, providing at least a 100° difference between the cold plunge and sauna.

How is the water cleaned?

The attached filtration system is always running and includes uv sterilization, ozone and a 5-micron filter, plus we add hydrogen peroxide.

What is the size of the cold plunge/sauna/room?

The cold plunge tub is 24” high, 31.5” across, 67” long (one person at a time). The sauna accommodates 2 people. The room can be booked for 1 or 2 people.

43490 Yukon Drive, Suite 111, Ashburn, VA 20147

Business Hours
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

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