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The benefits of ‘fire and ice’ therapy have been known for centuries, but it’s only in recent years that science has started to back up what people have been experiencing.

Scott Armstrong, founder of mentl, sat down with Simon Dunn, founder of The Lighthouse Retreat in Ras Al Khaimah to explore these benefits of saunas and icebaths ahead of their one-day Men’s Mental Health Retreat on Saturday June 3.

The use of saunas and ice baths has been gaining popularity in the wellness community for some time now, and for good reason. The science behind it is showing that these practices can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health.

Simon explained that sauna use is beneficial because it mimics elements of a workout. When we subject our bodies to positive stress, such as the heat in a sauna, it triggers a physiological response that helps the body to progress. This positive stress can have a beneficial impact on our cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of death from a cardiovascular event.

Simon said: “If you’re looking at cardio and death by cardio vascular events, they’ve shown if you can be in a sauna, two to three times a week, you actually reduce that event, or that percentage of dying from an event by 26 percent. So. we’re not talking about marginal gains but huge leaps forward. And if you’re able to do four or more times in a sauna a week, you’re actually looking at a decrease in death by 50 percent. So it’s huge.”.

Sauna use, Simon told ‘the mentl space’ podcast has also been shown to have a positive impact on the body’s hormone levels, with a 1,600% increase in human growth hormone when a specific sauna regime is followed. This increase in hormone levels can have a significant impact on performance, especially for men who may be experiencing a decline in testosterone levels as they age.

But what about ice baths? While the idea of immersing oneself in ice-cold water may not sound appealing, the science is showing that the benefits may be worth the initial discomfort. The cold water causes vasoconstriction, which narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow. This can help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the body. Ice baths have also been shown to improve muscle recovery after exercise, with athletes reporting reduced soreness and faster recovery times.

The combination of fire and ice therapy, where one alternates between hot and cold temperatures, can have even more significant benefits. This type of therapy can help to increase circulation, boost the immune system, and improve mood. The contrast between the hot and cold temperatures also helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.

“I think ultimately, if you are an individual who’s in better balance you are able to perform better, you’re able to deal with adversity better. And ultimately, a better performer is a better leader. And a better leader is a better performer for the organisation,” said Simon.

“So you’re in a situation where it’s not just about looking after your individual performance, but also actually you become a better person, a better manager, a better leader by extension.

The full-day package costs AED1,250 – click HERE to book your spot