Since the science is just beginning, researchers haven’t yet gotten there. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get the benefits of cold exposure other ways; it just means that there are no evidence-based protocols—yet.
Most of the researchers and experts we talked to agree the important part about cold exposure—no matter how you do it—is to get uncomfortable.
Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., a neuroscientist from Stanford Medical School and the popular host of the podcast The Huberman Lab, says, “You want to get uncomfortably cold, but not dangerously cold.”
In other words, you want to get to the place where your mind is screaming to get out, but your body can still stay in the cold safely, without tipping over into hypothermia or tissue damage. That might sound vague, but this is one of those practices that is really about listening to your body and adjusting as needed.
There are plenty of ways to intentionally build cold exposure into your life. Here are some general guidelines to think about whether you are taking an ice bath, jumping in the ocean, or partaking in a cold shower: