#35: 🧖🏾♀️ Hot Exposure for Longevity
Plus: How the Ocean Affects our Brain
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💬 In this note:
🧖🏾♀️ Harnessing the Power of Heat: Hot Exposure for Longevity
🌊 Can Ocean Waves Influence Our Brain Waves?
📚 Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun
🧖🏾♀️ Hot Exposure for Longevity
Hot exposure refers to deliberately exposing the body to high temperatures. This can be done through sauna bathing, hot baths, hot yoga, or even spending time in warmer climates.
Of the different forms of hot exposure, sauna bathing has been the most extensively studied for its health benefits. Several studies have shown that sauna bathing 4-7 times per week (78℃ / 174℉ for 20 min) is associated with:
Studies show that the physiological responses to sauna are similar to those experienced during moderate to vigorous intensity exercise. Sauna use has been proposed by some researchers as an alternative to exercise for people who are unable to engage in physical activity due to chronic disease or physical limitations.
How does it work?
One of the main reasons hot exposure can boost longevity is due to a process called heat shock response. When our bodies are exposed to high temperatures, they produce heat shock proteins. These proteins play a vital role in maintaining the proper function of our cells, reducing inflammation, and promoting cellular repair.
Heat shock proteins have been shown to prevent and slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and can slow human muscle atrophy.
What can you do if you don’t have access to a sauna?
Having access to a sauna can be challenging. It is a luxury in most countries and visiting a sauna daily is not possible for most. Therefore a common question is, does a hot bath or hot tub have the same effects?
Bathing in hot water for health benefits has been practiced for millenia, with the oldest recorded use of hot springs being in Japan over 3000 years ago.
One drawback of hot baths is everyone’s unique sensitivity to hot water. Saunas are boxes of hot air, but your sensitivity is heightened when you add water to the mix. If you try a hot bath as an alternative, the water should be hot enough that you start sweating after immersing yourself for a few minutes.
Some studies have been done where individuals sat in a hot bath 40℃ (104℉) for 1 hour with their body temperature rising about 1℃ (1.8 ℉). The benefits were shown to mimic that of sauna and exercise:
Decreased blood sugar levels
Improved cardiovascular health
Relief from muscle soreness
Staying in a bath at home for 1 hour can be challenging, as the bath will gradually lose the heat. Hot tub therapy can be an alternative which maintains the temperature. Just remember to stay hydrated as it is less obvious to notice that you are sweating when you are in water, and if you attempt to lengthen your exposure.
🌊 Can Ocean Waves Influence Our Brain Waves?
I spent last Saturday at the beach and every time I visit, I immediately feel a sense of calm. The sound of the waves is mesmerizing and I could stare at the blue of the ocean for hours. Being the nerdy scientist that I am, it made me wonder about the connection between our brain and the natural world - Can the rhythmic oscillations of ocean waves influence human brain waves?
Brain waves represent the fluctuating electrical activity in our brains and can be measured through an electroencephalogram (EEG). The waves come in different frequencies, each associated with a unique state of consciousness such as the slow delta waves of deep sleep to the fast gamma waves of high-level cognitive processing.
Similarly, ocean waves showcase a rhythmic pattern, regulated by the gravitational interactions between the Earth, Moon, and Sun, as well as local wind patterns. The ocean's tides and the rhythmic sound of waves crashing on the shore present a natural and mesmerizing tempo that individuals across cultures and ages have found calming and meditative.
The Intersection: Ocean Waves and Brain Waves
Psychologists claim that listening to the waves activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for slowing us down and allowing us to relax and feel more engaged.
The soothing effect could be related to a process called "entrainment". Entrainment, in neuroscience, refers to the synchronization of our biological rhythms to external cues. In this case, the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves could potentially align brain frequencies, guiding them towards a more relaxed and focused state.
Beta brain waves relate to thinking, mind and body activity. They have a frequency in an EEG at 14 to 30 Hertz. The sea waves under calm conditions produce sounds between 0.05 and 16 Hertz, which means that brain waves could oscillate within the same frequency as the sea during a visit to the beach.
There is a branch of neurotherapy known as binaural beats therapy which utilizes this principle. By introducing sounds with slightly different frequencies into each ear, the brain tries to reconcile the discrepancy, thereby generating a third frequency that corresponds to a specific brainwave state. It is possible that the rhythmic crashing of waves could serve a similar purpose and push our brains to a certain frequency of activity.
Although more research is needed to fully understand the effects of ocean waves on our brains, a day at the beach may be just the thing to subconsciously relax your mind.
📚 Book of the Week
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano
Finlay is a lovable author and single mom, who finds herself mixed up with the Russian mob and covering up murders with her nanny/partner-in-crime.
Finlay will be back for a 4th book in 2024 - Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice. **
⚡️ Check This Out
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