Cold Therapy and Adaptation, and Ray Cronise

I’m first going to generally recap some of my thoughts surrounding the goings on over my previous post covering this topic, now standing at 895 comments. The post covered the controversy over Dr. Jack Kruse and his ideas concerning a “Leptin Reset” and “Cold Thermogenesis.”

What I think was accomplished more than anything is what I described in a comment back at the 715 comment mark:

There are now 715 comments, all in one place. Not a single word edited or moderated, and perhaps best of all, contains lots from Jack’s most knowledgeable and well-spoken critics, as well as knowledgeable and well-spoken supporters. And the whole thing is laced with testimonials both successful and unsuccessful.

And there’s comic relief with lots of vulgarity. All in one place, here for anyone with an interest or curiosity in Jack to see. Unbiased, unmoderated, raw, and all the best voices.

That’s what got done.

Yes, there is lots of other info in other places, like Jack’s site, PaleoHacks, Mark Sisson’s forums. But I think this will prove to be more accessible and complete in terms of neutrality. But now, I kinda want to move away from that thread and begin a new one focussing in specifically on the area of cold adaptation and its benefits.

Before I get to that, what are my general impressions? Stream of consciousness time:

  • Jack is certainly a personality, a character, and there are others out there as well. Some oppose Jack, others don’t know, and still others embrace what he’s trying to do.
  • I think Jack’s narrative over all of this is a bit overwrought or hyperbolic, and I hope he tones it down going forward. Judging by his podcast with Abel James—recorded after my post, when comments were at 400—Jack has toned down the narrative, a bit, so maybe he had an opportunity to integrate some of the “feedback” prior to his interview. Time will tell.
  • About the podcast: I get a lot of mentions in it, throughout. I have to say that when he told me what his Factor X is (during the phone call he describes) I was interested and intrigued. I wouldn’t use the term “blown away” as he does. I also understand how these things work. No biggie.
  • One thing the comment thread demonstrated to me is there are lots of folks less concerned with why any of Jack’s protocols might work than whether they simply work or not. That’s basically where I’m at myself. I think that’s the best place to be when things appear reasonable (the Leptin Reset and Cold Thermogenesis…NOT injecting staph bacteria) and one doesn’t know for sure, one way or the other. Knowing is good, but unnecessary for self experimentation within the bounds of reasonableness.

Now onto the cold adaptation itself. One thing I came to realize, reading the accounts of some who’ve been having a good time of it, is that I miss it. It’s been a year or so since I left my old gym and while I have access to a swimming pool, I suspect they keep that around 80. Not quite 40. So, here’s my solution. I’m getting one of these livestock watering troughs for $150. It’s 75L x 31W x 25H. Should be perfect for getting pretty much up to the neck in the backyard. I already have a box freezer in the garage, which should hold 3-4 5-gallon buckets I can fill with water and freeze. Then I experiment.

The reason I’m looking forward to it is to seek out the optimal temperature vs. exposure within the flexibility of having the thing right here at home, outside. Is 15 minutes at 40 deg better than 30 minutes at 80 deg, or is 22 minutes at 60 degrees ideal? Once, twice, three or five times per week? Before a workout or after? Ultimately these are all things for which we might be able to suggest starting guidelines but each individual is going to have to refine it for themselves.

And what are the standards for progress? Fat loss? Better sleep? Better tolerance to cold? Better immunity and health? Or all, or some combination?

Well, a few days ago a visitor showed up in comments who’s himself a longtime expert in the use of cold for various things like fat loss and training recovery. He had a TEDMED 2010 talk a while back about it. Nine minutes. Take a look.

Here’s Ray’s blog. For those wondering about his non-ideological experimenting with a plant-based diet, here’s his comment on that. Here’s a bit about Iceman Wim Hoff, mentioned in the video, and an article in Science Daily that speaks somewhat to the more controversial aspects of Jack Kruse‘s experiments, i.e., resistance to bacterial infection.

Wim Hof is well known for his remarkable activities in extremely low temperatures. Hof claims that he can influence his autonomic nervous system and thereby suppress his immune response through concentration and meditation.

To investigate this, Hof was administered endotoxin while practising his concentration and meditation technique. During this experiment, various measurements were performed, including brain activity, autonomic nervous system activity and inflammatory mediators in the blood.

Pickkers said: “After endotoxin administration, the increase of the stress hormone cortisol in Hof was much more pronounced compared to other healthy volunteers. We know that this hormone is released in response to increased autonomic nervous system activity and that it suppresses the immune response. In accordance, the levels of inflammatory mediators in Hof’s blood were much lower. On average, Hof’s immune response was decreased by 50 percent compared to other healthy volunteers. In addition, hardly any flu-like symptoms were observed. These results are definitely remarkable.

Hmm. Counter-intuitive to me, because it seems one would want to mount a greater immune response. Or is it that it’s an overblown immune response to something that’s what gets you, not the pathogen itself? I seem to recall that for influenza, what kills people is the immune response turned to a positive feedback mechanism.

Turning the issue of how much heat is lost, here’s what Ray wrote in comments.

The generic number I came up with about three years ago when working with Tim on The 4 Hour body is that the energy to melt, and raise to body temperature, 66 lbs of ice = 1 lb of fat (3500 Kcals).

later I did a one dimensional solution to Founier’s law and then a more sophisticated model using mathematics that took into account skin thickness, adipose tissue, and muscle.

It turns out that sitting in 27C water (80F), which is where mild cold stress begins, burns about 2.4x RMR or for the average 100 watt human, or about 240 watts. This was compared to actual measurements of metabolism that range about 230-270W, so I considered it solved. (btw, using watts here as that takes into account time so that 1 watt is .86 kcal/hour ).

Another way to look at it is that sitting in 80 deg water for an hour a day would be metabolically akin to burning energy for 25.4 hours per 24-hour day. The key is not to increase you food intake to account for it. So, it’s fat loss not by eating less or moving more, but expending more heat.

Here’s Ray’s general guidelines for exposure.

Water temperature less than 60F/15.5C and air temperature less than 32F/0C are great lines of WARNING. in temperatures lower than this there is a chance of hypothermia. Walking hypothermia can be very serious (google it) and so it stands to reason when you go below these thresholds it’s 1) at your own risk and 2) should be done with caution.

That being said, cardiac response is rare, but happens with sudden cold shock. The best source I have for those of you that want to evaluate the overall depth of physiological responses is the Journal of Applied Physiology.

I will add that this article is not dealing necessarily with those trained, but everyone should recognize a lot of similar information surrounding the subject and see that it’s pretty well documented. There are literally 3 binders on my desk of papers (I haven’t learned to keep them on my iPad yet and have to print to really study).

So, Adam is correct in that there are no bright lines, only “guidelines.” What Richard and others have described here is also true – it’s an endorphin rush and absolutely is oddly addictive (I hated to be cold when I started). For the record, Wim gets cold, wears coats, and feels the initial pain. He can push past it better than anyone I’ve seen, but he isn’t a genetic freak as everyone dismissed him as for years.

I think the method is to ease into this and the others here that are pressing how serious this can be, please heed that warning. I think everyone can learn to do it and it will have a measurable, positive impact on metabolism and overall immunity, but I also think we need not be reckless. […]

I think in water/air above those thresholds you are free to play within reason and incidentally, we are finding all the repeatable, documented positive benefits seem to be equally obtained in mild vs extreme exposure. Below that, think about what you are doing.

So, there you go. Maybe it’s not necessary to go into the 40-50 deg range at all, that more towards 60 is OK. From own experience when I was doing 40ish deg for 15 minutes post-workout twice per week, when the cold plunge pool was on the fritz and the temp climbed to the 55-60 deg range it was a huge difference. I felt as though I could remain in the water indefinitely and also, it was a lot less “painful” for those first few minutes.

Ray and I have been shooting some emails back & forth and I asked him about other questions and issues he thinks should be considered.

  • Does cold exposure make you fat? Insulation hypothesis.
  • Must we eat a paleo (or vegan) diet?
  • Must we do ice baths or extreme exposure to gain benefit?
  • How long have these studies been conducted?
  • How about the gut as an endocrine organ, and does cold therapy have any connection to it?

Alright, I’m sure Ray will be around in comments to help us hash all of this out.

Finally, here’s this, just for a lighthearted chuckle. It didn’t escape Melissa McEwen’s notice that Jack is a neurosurgeon and that Ray used to work as a scientist at NASA. Here’s That Mitchell & Webb Look, 2 minutes.

Update: OK, I have a send post up, this one about my mad dash this morning to get all set up and what my first cold water exercise in over a year was like. 26 minutes at just over 50 degrees, up to the neck.

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More


  1. mark on April 9, 2012 at 11:43

    Make sure you post pictures while in the watering trough. Just because..

  2. Maxx Repps on April 9, 2012 at 11:45

    Dr. Jack Kruse is making lots of claims that cold adaptation does miraculous things for health and longevity. One claim he keeps asserting, is that when cold adapted, a person can live without a thyroid gland and take no thyroid supplements. He says that TRH will drive the metabolism and T3/T4 (stimulated through TSH) are not need if cold adapted. Can anyone confirm or deny this claim?

    • Jutsy Jones on April 9, 2012 at 12:58

      It’s these types of things that Kruse says that mark him as a lunatic. (There are other clues, to be sure, but this dangerous shit has got to stop.)

    • Maxx Repps on April 9, 2012 at 14:23

      This is what Dr. K said in his CT-6 blog. Please don’t reply unless you have something to say about the subject.

      THE COLD ADAPTED HUMAN THYROID FXN: does not bother with T3 at all. Why? When you are supremely LS by cold you go straight the the source, the hypothalamus and make TRH from the brain. The brain controls all thyroid function in cold…….forget the Moose thyroid.

      SKEPTIC BOMB: You bypass all hormones and TSH too. TRH drives the whole show. The brain is completely in control and it up regualtes fat burning everywhere. This is how the Ancient Pathway lights your pilot light. The warm adapted human always complains about the cold and always feels cold……the cold adapted on is always pink to cherry in cold radiating heat like a furnace. You can thank TRH for this. This is does not even require a thyroid gland either. Is not life grand in the cold, folks?

      • Adam on April 10, 2012 at 11:57

        Found this on cold adaptation and thyroid search on pubmed not sure how/if it relates to your question – I don’t have full article either:

      • paleomamma on April 10, 2012 at 12:52

        thanks for that link. It might be worth a test to start doing cold caps for my hair loss. They use them for cancer patients. Hair is the remaining problem I have thanks (probably) due to thryoid/age/peri-menopause. No need to do the whole body right? Spot treatments may be a starter.

      • julianne on April 10, 2012 at 18:51

      • Richard Nikoley on April 10, 2012 at 21:17

        For two nights in a row, feet and particularly hands, are toasty, hands are actually hot.

      • paleomamma on April 11, 2012 at 02:24

        Amazing, it seems adipose tissue (BAT) does effect hair growth.
        and exposure to the cold activates BAT activity.

        Very interesting how the extremities have different reactions with your CT Richard. What about the head? Your feet and hands are both IN the cold water during CT and they are warm during the night?
        Our ancestors were living in the cold so the head was cold too, right? Cold caps are warn by cancer patients to save hair supposedly because it blocks the absorption of the chemo. Could be it is working for some other reason? – the cold itself?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2012 at 14:36

        “Your feet and hands are both IN the cold water during CT and they are warm during the night?”

        Yep, very toasty. Two sessions and the cold hands and feet thing has gone away completely, so far.

        I’m just about to get in a pool where I’m staying in SoCal right now. No thermometer in it, but I’d estimate it to be 60-65.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2012 at 14:37

        I should add that starches has helped somewhat, but more withint a few hours after eating, then sometimes cold again. This seems to be the more solid solution.

      • Grace (Dr.BG) on April 11, 2012 at 16:38

        I dunno but I came across literature that cold stimulates higher TR, perhaps peripheral tissues become more sensitive to circulating thyroid besides higher 5′ deiodinase activity ?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 11, 2012 at 18:15

        English, Grace.

      • AKMan on April 12, 2012 at 09:17

        Here is a study that completely proves Dr. Kruse’ theory on hypothyroid cold survival. It was done on rabbits, not humans, and has also been done on rats.

        So, yes! With cold adaptation, it is very possible to survive without a thyroid.

      • M. on April 12, 2012 at 12:43

        A quote from the paper – “It is known that hypothyroid rats die after a few hours of cold exposure.”

        I think it is just wild speculation to say that cold is “good” for hypothyroidism based upon these papers listed so far. You could just as easily say a proper functioning thyroid is sometimes necessary to first achieve cold adaptation.

      • AKMan on April 13, 2012 at 20:39

        Obviously you didn’t read the study and just cherry picked that line. The gist is that normal hypothyroid rats die in cold temps, but if you cold-adapt a rat (takes 10 days at 40 deg) you can destroy it’s thyroid and it will thrive.

        There’s a study in the citations section on rabbits, they have little BAT, and can adapt to cold with no thyroid. Difference is, rabbits don’t have to be cold adapted first.

      • M. on April 14, 2012 at 05:27

        “The gist is that normal hypothyroid rats die in cold temps, but if you cold-adapt a rat (takes 10 days at 40 deg) you can destroy it’s thyroid and it will thrive.”

        That’s not the study you linked to. The study you linked to discussed muscle properties in rabbits that allowed hypothyroid rabbits to survive 10 days of cold (possibly by shivering) while hypothyroid rats normally die within a few hours of cold.

      • AKMan on April 15, 2012 at 20:11

        Right-o, this is the rat study. I’m just posting this for history’s sake, not that I have any bone to pick. Afterall, these are rats and rabbits, not humans. Another failing here is, the normal symptoms of hypothyroidism in humans are things like depression, hair loss, brittle nails, thick tongue, constipation, etc… Not death by failure to maintain core body temp. I doubt these rats and rabbits were tested for depression or brittle nails. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, M.

        “Taken together, the results demonstrate that thyroid hormones, in the presence of NE, are major determinants of long-term thermogenic activity in muscle and liver of cold-acclimated normal rats. After thyroid ablation, NST replaced thyroid-induced thermogenesis, and normal body temperature was maintained. These lifesaving effects of the sympathetic system, previously unknown in tissues of cold-acclimated hypothyroid rats except BAT (43), appear to result from an integrated operation from multiple organ systems aimed at preserving normal body temperature when the supply of thyroid hormones to tissues has ceased and body temperature falls.”

  3. jim on April 9, 2012 at 11:48


  4. Rooster on April 9, 2012 at 11:52

    I like Ray’s take on mild cold stress. 80 degree water causes me to get covered in goosebumps, but not shiver. 70 degree water makes me shiver a little. 60 degree water makes my teeth chatter and legs pump. I’ve never tried colder as it seemed non-productive to shiver so hard.

    In my N=1, I shoot for the coldest temp that doesn’t make me shiver and stay in for 20-30 minutes. I have been doing this near daily for several months and have noticed faster weight loss, better appetite control, better sleep, and quicker recovery after exercise.

    As it relates to temp and length of exposure, is there a ‘sweet spot’ to aim for?

  5. Audrey on April 9, 2012 at 11:55


    I had never seen that Ted talk. It gives me a lot of hope, actually.

    It also occurs to me that presentation is everything.

    I somehow doubt that we’ll see Ray Cronise and Wim Hof savaged the way Kruse was.

  6. paleomamma on April 9, 2012 at 11:56

    Fantastic post. Just what I have been looking for to figure out some things re: cold therapy. Will be eagerly waiting for more

  7. Bailey on April 9, 2012 at 11:56


    I had never seen that Ted talk. It gives me a lot of hope, actually.

    It also occurs to me that presentation is everything.

    I somehow doubt that we’ll see Ray Cronise and Wim Hof savaged the way Kruse was.

  8. agatha on April 9, 2012 at 12:02

    Brilliant post Richard. I want to know the anwswer to all those questions – is shorter and more frequent better than longer and spaced exposures. What benefits accrue with different temperature… What about the detox reactions people experience. What are the risks…. I have been doing CT a la Kruse for 5 weeks and feel great.
    Please keep posting on this subject as you do your own experiments in your tub.

  9. Klootzak on April 9, 2012 at 12:18

    I have been toying with CT this winter by taking what I like from both Kruse and Cronise and making my own program.

    I have a hot tub that is easy to control the temperature in. I try to take a daily, 20-30 minute soak at a temp that doesn’t make me shiver. 80 degrees causes goosebumps, no shivering. 70 degrees causes mild shivering, 60 degrees causes fairly strong shivering. I find about 75 degrees feels cold, causes goosebumps, but I can stand it for 30+ minutes without shivering wildly. Am I doing myself a favor by not shivering or am I slowing the benefits?

    There seem to several schools of thought as to the actual benefits of CT:
    1. BAT activation and recruitment
    2. Increased RMR
    3. Increased leptin/insulin sensitivity
    4. Increased metabolic/immune system function

    Studies show these are all valid benefits of CT, for the experts – which of these are easiest to acheive and is there different a way to activate each?


  10. Bill Strahan on April 9, 2012 at 12:19

    When you use the trough, consider setting one end one something to tilt the whole tub. That way the water can come up to your neck on the deep end, yet leave your feet out on the other. It uses less water that way so it takes less ice to get it cold.

  11. Klootzak on April 9, 2012 at 12:40

    In the Wim Hof videos I have seen, he always appears to be very focused on his breathing. In “Becoming the Iceman”, Wim describes his breathing technique as taking 30 deep breaths, then exhaling and holding as long as you can.

    With this technique, I have been able to go from 45 seconds without a breath to over 2 minutes in just 2 weeks. I can see daily increases in lung capacity.

    How important is breathing to the grand scheme of things, especially as related to CT?

  12. Marc on April 9, 2012 at 13:04


    Tough to take your good comments seriously.


    • klootzak on April 9, 2012 at 13:38

      Maybe i should have chosen Boerelul for a screen name…

  13. Jasonk on April 9, 2012 at 13:11

    CT is an interesting Idea in terms of “passive weight loss” for me, when this whole shit storm started after Jack’s site I headed over to Ray’s to do a bit more research.

    when I first started looking into weightloss and began following a paleo leangains protocol (thanks by the way for THAT series Richard) alot of folks talked about using a thermogenic supplement to aid weight loss, now to me raising core temperatures like that isn’t particularly smart.

    What do long term health benefits entail ? if our metabolic rates are being sped up by CT/ cold adaptation will this level be able to be maintained for longer periods withour cold exposure (IE can we go longer without cold bath’s etc and maintain the benefits ?)

    I’m pretty stoked about getting down to the info behind the ideas without dragging personalities and other stuff into it.

    • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 15:30

      btw, I love to admit when I am wrong – as I said, that’s when I am actually learning. I think the leangains site has some great information and one thing I picked up from Body For Life all those years ago was small, frequent meals. When you are eating a calorically dense diet, this DOES stave off hunger.

      Skipping meals REVS your metabolism when you are calorically restricted (to a point).

      That being said, one HUGE extra warning is DON’T DO COLD STRESS with energy drinks. Niacin seriously fucks up your thermal regulatory system through excessive vasodilatation and you can easily get hypothermia.

      so I would stay AWAY from artificially pumping up your system – the whole point is to teach YOUR body to do it on your own.

      Hope that makes sense.


      • Jasonk on April 9, 2012 at 15:59

        That makes perfect sense Ray, and I agree completely…. I follow that aspect of paleo very seriously and after a stupid String of Mi-usuing Hydroxy-cut when I was much younger taught me not to mess with things that artificially affect thermal regulation. Thanks for the Reply!

  14. rob on April 9, 2012 at 14:17

    I think cold therapy is useful and keep four Ace cold compresses in the freezer to use on my knees.

    Whether it is useful for weight loss? I think in the end it will be incapable of proof one way or another … because nobody can prove jack shit when it comes to weight loss methods, that’s why it’s such a profitable industry.

    • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 15:32

      I actually it has been proven time and time again. I haven’t seen any of those profits, but I sure would like to turn an income – this is a SERIOUSLY expensive hobby.

      Anyone that knows me would tell you I would be the first to throw the bullshit flag. You can absolutely effect weight loss, but I think you can do a whole lot more.



  15. Rob B on April 9, 2012 at 15:05

    If Ray is reading the comments I have a question – Ray if you took 60 degree baths how many watts would that burn?



    • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 15:22

      steady state – about 400 watts give/take. It will be dependent on a lot of individual variables. See my other post, but 60F swims – provided you don’t over do it. see this chart: and understand this is general information. Easing in, you’ll probably fall on the high side of the range.

      The reason that swimming is better than just soaks is related to the adjustments that your body makes when static. Swimming increases the blood flow and that in turn dumps heat to the water. If you want to do static immersions, consider kettlebell swings or some other interval training to alternate. I do resistive swimming in a swim spa and have been working on a routine of swings/swim. I did one hour in intervals of 2 min/15 min and was exhausted at the end. Water temp for this was about 72F.


  16. Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 15:10

    Thanks Richard

    I think Jack is trying to do the right thing. Like many out there it gets quite exciting when all these things start to click together. As I have stated on my blog, I wasn’t trying to prove anything – it was dumb luck following an educated guess. After losing the weight I began digging much deeper. I guess my style is to verify and test than to try to put it all out at once. There’s much I haven’t said.

    As for the immune responses, you are correct, but perhaps thinking about it in the wrong direction. When the immune system mounts a response (fever, headache etc..) his ability to increase circulating concentrations of catecholamines and plasma cortisol concentrations – that attenuates the response. We all see stress hormone sometimes in the concept of office politics and bad, but it does have a protective element as well. In his case he basically told his body – don’t panic, things are just fine and that eliminated the “symptoms.” He didn’t really have an infection, just “pretend.” That is incredible.

    I like the comments of the post so far. Let’s keep the personality out of it and collectively push this forward. Not to sound socialist (I’m not), but understand that we are at a really amazing time when this information will aggregate and have an impact.

    Cool vs Cold?

    Here is where I think the big gap exists. I think chronic cool trumps acute cold in terms of metabolic function. It sounds like the cliche turtle and hare argument, but metabolically it is much different. Let me share some data from last week (while we were all waiting for you comments to load and crashing iPhones).

    For 7 days last week we had unseasonably warm temps in north Alabama – highs in mid 80sF and lows in upper 60s. I measured my waking RMR every morning, before eating, just out of bed. It averaged 1582 kcal. Now, over the weekend the temperature dropped down to the 70s day/40-50s night. I let my house ride with outside temperature up to max of 70F(21C). That mean when I woke, the house temp was between 55-60F.

    The last three days, my waking RMR was 1900, 1930, and 1920 kcal. Nearly a 4 mile run every day for no additional effort. As well, I know that my sleep time is much better during these cold evenings.

    Some more interesting data. I did some cold soak baths (50F/10C) (10 minutes) using CO2/O2 monitoring. What I found was pretty amazing. As you would expect, I saw a boost in CO2 production on entering the bath. Anyone that has done this knows there is a slight pain period if the water is cold followed by a relaxation about two minutes after. During that time, when the pain vanished, my CO2 production dropped as well. It did not go all the way back to baseline.

    But it gets better. I allowed it to come to rest (now 5 minutes in) and since I had my hands out of the water (someone here mentioned their feet – so this is for you), once again CO2 went back up. What it tells me is the body VERY quickly (less than a minute) assesses and adjusts the blood flow accordingly. But it goes further. After a minute more I am back to a new settled point and when I stand up to get out – it goes up AGAIN – this time responding to air/evaporative loss driven by my warm body, room humidity and thin water film (no discernible movement in the room). Finally 10 minutes after I started it was still up. If you’ve ever dehydrated running – you’ll know about that cold flash that happens as that last film of perspiration flashes off.

    Now I post this to let you know that this is all extremely complex – the body is absolutely AMAZING engineering. keeping a 180 lb hunk of titanium +/-.5 degrees is hard enough (ok yes, engineers, -thermal conductivity – its an example), but our body does it every day.

    On ice immersions Wim’s core temperature RISES by a degree. skin settles in just above freezing.

    If I was going to give EVERYONE a recommendation it would actually be quite simple: swim. I know it’s not “grok” or “dripping testosterone,” just do it. If the water is about 80F/27C or lower you are in GREAT territory. Swim. My former company manufactured pools and yet I didn’t learn to swim until AFTER I lost my weight. I was an avid scuba diver and wasn’t afraid in any way of the water, but didn’t know how to swim “laps.”

    Make sure you control caloric intake in that window (2-4 hours) after and if you can do this in the morning while fasting, all the better.

    80 doesn’t sound like much, but there is nearly 20F delta in temperature and that drives heat loss (energy not, not temperature). Because you are physically active, blood stays flowing to the skin to dump and radiate. What several studies have noted is that hunger rises 2-4 hours after you swim and that is homeostasis kicking in trying to return us to “normal.” I debunk the swimming makes you fat here:

    Added to this take a look at this post: from Scott Parazynski. We have a lot of data concerning his weight loss on Everest climbs. It’s grueling, but it provides a lot of insight to how the body processes cold. (incidentally Wim made it to about 24K feet in shorts, no oxygen and no shirt. He had to turn back because of the foot injury filming the -40F run you may have seen on discovery. 3 months and it hadn’t healed. Wim is just a bad-ass I don’t care what you say).

    There are literally hundreds of papers I’ve poured over since 2008. There is so much data it’s overwhelming. I am very happy to contribute to pushing it all in this direction, but if you want to REALLY help, then I will say, Ice is a great “mental game.” It let’s you know you can “do it.” It can be great for adrenaline junkies. It helps sports injuries. It’s extreme.

    …but you probably can do much more metabolic good with periodic chronic cool. Swimming, cool walks, a few less layers, etc… This means you should be able to thermal load all the way through the summer.

    Scott, Wim, and I are continuing to work through all of this. There are dozens of other scientists we have consulted with, from Harvard to Holland, and everyone is very positive and supportive. We have a few things (including the breathing mentioned above) that will get everyone going and are trying to distill it down to some basic steps.

    Please note, this is NOT an endurance sport. There’s nothing to prove. It’s more like chasing parked cars – eventually you’re going to catch one and it isn’t pretty. I hope everyone gets that lesson loud and clear from me. If you want to go extreme, then please have medical supervision – or at least a 911 speed dial (you’re doing what?). Remember the BIGGEST risk is not cooling down or surviving cold – it’s warming up. That is where you will get in trouble and people can and will die. I can’t over emphasize this. Tim and I were careful to stay within reasonable exposure worlds. Don’t be foolish.

    I am headed for TEDMED2012, which moved to the Kennedy Center this year. I apologize that this is my only comment for now (perhaps you are relieved 🙂

    Thanks everyone and let’s keep this out of ad hominem attacks. It doesn’t move us forward. There’s plenty to learn and plenty credit to go around. Like Newton said, ” If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.”


    Let’s bring this together.


    • Sean on April 10, 2012 at 12:37

      Great stuff.

      I’m wondering how you think swimming in cold water or taking cold baths compares to sprinting? Sprinting is my ‘extreme’ weapon of choice (although I’ve been slack as hell as of late). 8-10 sprints of around 50 to 70 meters, trying to hit top speed in four or five, and basically ending up on the ground almost puking. I get a huge metabolic boost on sprint days, amped up all day long, awesome mood, and I like to believe there’s an HGH boost there as well. But there’s no risk (unless one has cardiac problems, I guess) of overdoing it, and no one needs to monitor me, I don’t even time anything, just go as hard as I feel.

      Isn’t cold therapy just a lazy person’s tabata-type sprints?

      Also, I have a problem with the ‘ye shoulders of Giants’ quote from Newton. Yeah, I know it’s in Wikipedia and stuff but if he did write ye, it wasthorn+e, just another way of writing “the”. Sorry, but it annoys me when people write a latin ‘y’ for thistle 😉

      • Sean on April 10, 2012 at 13:04

        “Sorry, but it annoys me when people write a latin ‘y’ for thistle ;)” I mean thorn. I always get those mixed up.

      • AndrewS on April 11, 2012 at 08:48

        “Ye Olde Internet Cafe”? Seem legit.

        Back to your point, I’ve seen a lot of evidence that extreme training is more effective (and almost always less time-consuming) than chronic training. Hence, sprints rather than jogging; heavy weights rather than cardioesque high-rep-count exercises. Ray just mentioned the 4-mile-run equivalent of a house at 45-50 for a weekend, rather than at 70. That leads me to think that working up to a short, extreme temp difference might be more effective than chronic cool temp immersion.

      • Sean on April 12, 2012 at 06:49

        Yeah, good point Andrew (except for the Ye Olde part, or should I say ye Ye Olde part). Stress in general seems to be more hormetic in short intense intervals rather than constant and low-level.

      • Hugh Anderson on April 12, 2012 at 07:12

        Ray specifically states that chronic cool is preferable, along with being much less dangerous, so I’m not sure the whole “acute > chronic” attitude applies here.

        Plus I think the advantages of short & intense cardio & weight training are often over-stated. Context is key. Low intensity cardio has its place, as does high-rep weight training.

      • AndrewS on April 12, 2012 at 09:37

        Yes, I saw Ray’s claim. I’m not going to blindly trust Ray, just because he has a badge. But I do respect his experience, which is one reason why I used so many weasel words. I’d like to see more experience with acute vs chronic patterns, and I think it will be instructive to compare their differences over the coming months.

      • Hugh Anderson on April 13, 2012 at 07:00

        I don’t blindly trust the guy either. I’m still not clear as to what metrics people are using when looking at the effectiveness of cold therapy, or more specifically how one would judge whether or not acute cold exposure is greater than chronic cool.

      • Hugh Anderson on April 13, 2012 at 07:00

        Which, incidentally, mirrors the comment from Jscott directly below mine, something I just noticed.

  17. Jscott on April 9, 2012 at 15:58

    What metrics have you found the most useful to track during cold/cool therapy?

  18. LeeAnn on April 9, 2012 at 16:07

    I think it’s great that Dr. Kruse is bringing out this knowledge, however new and imperfect it may be, for everyone. And I also think that it’s great that he’s not holding anything back. What he is doing is much more empowering than Ray Cronise who has obviously been holding back information from “we peons” (who don’t have the money to pay for 30-second weightlessness experience!) I guess we’re too stupid to figure out for ourselves how cold the water should be and how long to stay in. It’s much better if we wait for Ray to consult for years with the top scientists and other elite members of society and maybe spend some time with the captains of industry and finance to figure out a way to make some money from this before this information is “shared freely.”

    Give me a Jack Kruse any day!

    • Evo Mama on April 9, 2012 at 16:35

      Why the venom, LeeAnn? The best way to approach all of this is with a rational, open mind. I think we are best served to listen to all of experts in this field, as we learn through sharing existing scientific data, and our collective n=1 experiences. Let’s leave the negative feelings and attitudes in the former comment thread.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2012 at 16:46


      That’s just petulant. Ray came here of his own free will and in case you haven’t noticed wrote a bunch of comments on the last post and now here.

      Lighten the fuck up.

      And Jack hasn’t made a peep here. He Tweeted he was “too clever” for that.

    • M. on April 9, 2012 at 16:47

      “What he is doing is much more empowering than Ray Cronise…”

      Holy crap LeeAnn, Ray actually seems to know what he is talking about. Kruse is more empowering the same way that aura readers are empowering.

    • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 18:07


      • Jutsy Jones on April 9, 2012 at 18:09

        Thank you for posting here, Ray.

      • Mike on April 9, 2012 at 18:27

        Thanks Ray for all the Info. Hater’s everywhere. You don’t need to put people down, to bring your point of view up.

      • marie on April 10, 2012 at 16:35

        Yes, thank you Ray. I’ve had Tim Ferris’ 4-hour body since last year and I’ve registered on your site more recently, so was very happy to see you that you brought here your well-reasoned, well- researched and responsibly-communicated information. It seems to me that your background brings truly original contributions to this cold-adaptation concept, as well as a solid experimental method.
        I hold you up to my students as a rare of example of a responsible, yet daring and truly original researcher/engineer.
        The deluge of wildly-varying quality of information on the wild world web unfortunately makes some people feel they understand much more than they do (familiarity breeds contempt and all that….) and that can be so very dangerous. So as a webbie, scientist, educator and mother, I appreciate your reasoned approach and your responsible way of communicating your findings.
        Thank you.

    • Jutsy Jones on April 9, 2012 at 18:09

      “Give me a Jack Kruse any day!”

      OK, let me give it a go, you dumb (and most likely fat) bitch:

      There is a role for carbohydrates but calling them safe to me is a misnomer. The reason we all might need some carbs is that the occasional glycogen replenishment made in our liver is stimulatory to the conversion of T4-T3 in the gut (20%) and in the liver (80%). The real interesting paradox of this biologic truth, is that all wild animals are at the mercy of the light cycles and seasonal variations of temperature of their own eco-systems

      • rob on April 10, 2012 at 04:37

        I thought we were over the whole “do we need carbs” thing.

    • Expat on April 9, 2012 at 23:33

      LeeAnn=Troll – Jack supporters would not write such stupid comments about Ray Cronise. “Give me a Jack Kruse any day”?! She/he (Melissa, Kurt, Emily, Kamal etc et crowd?) just wants to start some kind of stupid fight and it looks like it worked.

      Richard I know in the short run a troll or two might get you a few extra hits-so you tolerate it. However, in the long run people will stop following your blog. The greatest disservice is to the ”paleo” community-since they will get fed up with this and revert to old ways.

  19. Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2012 at 16:25

    Just updated the post:

    Update: OK, I have a send post up, this one about my mad dash this morning to get all set up and what my first cold water exercise in over a year was like. 26 minutes at just over 50 degrees, up to the neck.

  20. LeeAnn on April 9, 2012 at 18:03

    I have lightened up! To the tune of 21 pounds since January 1. I now weigh 110 pounds. I don’t think I want to lighten up any more than that! Thank you very much.

    But seriously, why is Ray suddenly free willing it over to here? He says that “I don’t feel in a rush to get all of this out “before someone beats me to it,” because the goal is transformation and health, not popularity and credit.” But why hasn’t he shared what he’s learned more freely? If you have something that can help(empower) others to transform their health and lives, why not share it? He hasn’t. Not really. (Now he’s claiming that it’s because TEDMED is a cut above TEDX (because after all anyone can put on a TEDX) he wasn’t able to reveal more.

    In my humble opinion, Dr. Kruse has freely shared. Boldly so. He even continues to. (Heck, he still answers individual blog posts). He has gone out on a limb both personally and professionally to do so. And as far as I can tell, he is genuinely interested in helping people. And if nothing else, he’s really getting people interested in testing CT. Richard just spent $200 on a water tank and will hopefully be sharing his experiences and results. I’d much rather learn from Richard and others who are/will be “risking life and limb” in the cold waters rather than as Evo Mama says: “I think we are best served to listen to all of experts in this field.”

    All I’m saying is: Aren’t we all experts?

    • Jscott on April 9, 2012 at 18:23

      I take it you have not visited Ray’s blog? Incredible amount of info, especially on his series on nutrition where he strips things down past protein/car/fat talk. The comments, just like here, are incredible.

      Humble guy from my perception.

    • Jasonk on April 9, 2012 at 18:30

      LeeAnn, if you look at the copyright notice on Ray’s website it’s from 2010 so he’s been sharing thoughts and information with the general public for free since about then….

      also I think this post would better be served to discuss the process of cold adaptation, with someone willing to take the time to discuss their viewpoint on someone else’s Blog. Also with your negative comments, and somewhat jaded outlook on a respected and intelligent person in the cold adaptation process, you look like a complete twat. Now rather than explode this into a pissing contest over who is the greater humanitarian I hope we can get back to discussing Cold adaptation while we have a valuable resource willing to answer questions here.

    • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 18:41


      First, congratulations on your loss. That’s fantastic.

      I don’t think you should try to judge my intentions, but rather my actions. My discussion about TEDMED vs TEDx was to clarify that the venues are VERY different in nature. Some have criticized (as you still are) that I did not go into more detail. The reality is that we are asked to follow some very specific guidelines. As well, even the attendees are vetted through an application process. That’s not to sound “high-brow,” but to suggest there are limits to what can be said. I followed the rules.

      The reason I am here is very straight forward. One of the readers here saw John’s comments and asked me to post. John in fact apologized for “jumping the gun” and I told him it was no problem. If you read through all of my posts, you’ll see that I haven’t attacked Jack – and won’t. I don’t think attacking anyone is really worth the time. I think if you call or write Jack he will tell you the same thing about me. We have a very different style of communication. We have a different approach that will be “related” in the end.

      I have been sharing freely since early 2009. Perhaps all of it has not been in the form of a blog, but It’s been with increasing groups of people. I am a scientist and as such, I want to understand as I go. Nothing Jack nor I say is going to save someone tomorrow. There is far more damage done every day by other environmental factors. Each day, I hear from someone (Today, Mark Carroll posted on my FB a thanks – lost 85 pounds since last June) on another success story. I really love to help people.

      What I was able to do is put something back in the mainstream research area so MANY can work on it. I have received emails from scientists that re-engaged in various areas related to mild cold stress due to the exposure. Unfortunately there are people that do make a living (I am not one yet) at research related to this and it’s up to them to publish/distribute their findings. I am especially grateful for the work Wim did for almost two decades moving this from a “freak show” to serious investigation. We’re great friends now and working together to reach many more people.

      My point with “before someone beats me to it” is that this wasn’t all just suddenly invented, but it has seen a really big resurgence, because of the media exposure. That media exposure is the result of one publishing genius of Tim Ferriss. I turned down a very good book deal and allowed Tim to tell my story. It was a good decision and we had the same impact – I just didn’t get “paid, ” but I did achieve my goal of igniting research. For that opportunity I am grateful to contribute.

      I too am awaiting Richard’s results and I think there are some suggestions here today that he can use.

      The direct answer to your question is no, we aren’t all experts.

      If anyone thinks that the things I have said were attacks – I apologize, but I won’t apologize for doing science methodically and controlled.


      • LeeAnn on April 9, 2012 at 20:20

        Thank you for your thoughtful and measured reply. But I think that your direct answer of “no, we aren’t all experts” is exactly my point. And what I bristle against. I think that every person is not only an “expert” but a divine being capable of so much more than we are led to believe. For so much of our lives we have been conditioned by society, our education, the media, the government, the medical establishment etc. to listen “to the experts” rather than listen to ourselves. And “to follow the rules” (as you did to participate in TEDMED). And where has this gotten us? Not very far, unfortunately.
        All I am saying is that I commend people, like Dr. Kruse, for not following the rules; to think outside the box; to have the confidence and courage to give the information freely to empower people. And yes, it is possible that something you (or Jack Kruse or any one of us) say is going to save someone tomorrow (or even today). And that is the point!


        P.S. And I don’t understand what you meant by “Unfortunately there are people that do make a living (I am not one yet) at research related to this and it’s up to them to publish/distribute their findings.”
        P.P.S. It’s okay to be upset about turning down a very good book deal!

      • Hugh Anderson on April 10, 2012 at 06:21

        LeeAnn, it sounds like you are using a different meaning of the word expert than Ray. You’re using it in a very grand mystical sense, and he’s seems to be using it in relation to the subject at hand (cold therapy).

        He has reason to be cautious, because it sounds like going overboard with cold therapy can make you a very dead “expert”. When you say “it is possible that something you (or Jack Kruse or any one of us) say is going to save someone tomorrow (or even today),” I think you fail to appreciate that the opposite can be true, that giving people false hope or highly speculative theories dressed as knowledge can do great harm, which, incidentally, is a key criticism some people have of Dr. Kruse.

        I would also add that your Dr. Kruse vs. Ray Cronise dichotomy is false. I personally much much prefer Ray’s approach from what I’ve seen so far, you seem to prefer Dr. Kruse’s. Fair enough, different strokes, but I don’t see them being at odds whatsoever.

      • M. on April 10, 2012 at 06:25

        “I think that every person is not only an “expert” but a divine being capable of so much more than we are led to believe”

        You start getting into woo territory with that. That’s fine – some people prefer woo and some people prefer science. Where Jack gets in trouble is that he tries to pretend his woo is science.

        Ray is an expert because he is familiar with a lot of empirical research. Jack is apparently an “expert” because of his nonsense amalgam of anything cold related (cold destroys fat cells, you don’t need a thyroid if you are cold adapted, you can’t eat bananas in winter, etc…) that all points to his Ancient Pathway. (I’m not sure why you think everybody is an expert.)

        To me, it just seems more empowering for Ray to talk about what has worked and what has not worked in controlled studies than to listen to Jack talking about how you can’t eat bananas in winter because of some neuropeptide.

    • Evelyn aka CarbSane on April 10, 2012 at 10:24

      How come Kruse didn’t release the CT back when he revealed the LR? Seriously. Jack has been doing this since 2006 but never shared it until now, so your indignation is misplaced I think.

      • Misty on April 16, 2012 at 08:13

        Jack didn’t release the CT info “back when” because he wanted to confirm his findings first … which he did in January by undergoing surgery without anesthesia and using cold for his recovery.

        Jack has been testing his hypotheses in his clinic for six + years – he only started blogging about his findings last summer. Jack and Ray have different ways of vetting their ideas and testing their hypotheses. I’m grateful for both of them.

    • marie on April 10, 2012 at 16:55

      “All I’m saying is : Aren’t we all experts? ”
      **Wow. Not so humble an opinion, huh?
      Spoken like someone whose never spent years, let alone decades of serious concentration on anything.
      You have no clue. None. You can’t even begin to judge the extent of what you don’t know, nor how dangerous that can be.
      Intelligent people of any stripe at least know this – the exhortation to “know thyself” has been around for 2500 years after all, it’s time you caught up.

  21. Nigel Kinbrum on April 9, 2012 at 18:13

    “The key is not to increase you food intake to account for it.” I believe that this is impossible for the average person.

    When I feel cold, I eat more. I suspect that the same applies to the average person (a.k.a. General Population). I suspect that the same does not apply to somebody who is trying to prove a point.

    e.g. The average person over-eats junk food and gains weight. Professor Haub lost weight on the Twinkie Diet.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2012 at 18:20

      I thnk it’s more complicated than that, Nigel. You haven’t accounted for the observations the cold adaptation makes you actually feel warm and comfortable when & where and in the. Ircumstances where you previously felt cold.

      And that adds up, when you think about it.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2012 at 18:20

        Sorry, iPad.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on April 9, 2012 at 18:38

        “the cold adaptation makes you actually feel warm and comfortable”
        You, yes. Me, no. I remember having to regularly walk home from school through snow in the Winter. I felt bitterly cold. My hands were numb. I ate loads. I was fat. I think that I am like the general population.

        I think that you are an outlier. Ditto for Jack Kruse, Ray Cronise & Wim Hof.

      • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 18:56


        gloves before sweater, make you look better. If you cover your “symptoms,” hands, face, ears, and feet, you can tolerate MUCH more cold on the larger surface area of torso and limbs. You were in fact sending your body on a doomsday death plunge to misery.

        Worth Noting: Wim gets cold the very first thing he did on EVERY walk we went on was stick his hands in his pockets. I do the same and carry “ear bags” everywhere I go in the winter.

        This is one of the very few times where treating the symptom is better than treating the disease. Again, your observations are exactly correct, but I think you have ascribed the wrong explanations.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on April 9, 2012 at 22:11

        When I was carrying a briefcase to/from school, I couldn’t shove both hands in pockets. Now I can and I do. I don’t like wearing gloves as I can’t do anything with gloved hands.

        I still believe that, like me, the general population don’t want to immerse their bodies in cold water. I also remember going in the sea around England when I was young. Do. Not. Want!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2012 at 23:49

        Nobody really wants. It’s simply an incredibly effective exercise with short terms pain and pretty astounding benefits.

      • Joseph on April 10, 2012 at 14:46

        I don’t know. Wanting is such a transient, fickle thing. I may not want it today, but I am intrigued by it. Tomorrow, I am really interested. The day after, I do it, and it feels great. Suddenly, I want it.

        My kids don’t like food they have not eaten. Then they try some. Occasionally, this results in them wanting what was formerly “disgusting.” If it doesn’t kill us (and sometimes even if it does), we can always acquire a want for it, no matter what it is.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 9, 2012 at 21:45

        Nigel, I assure you that I normally shiver and can not stand a cold breeze.

        Except for the last few hoursI now.

        It is truly remarkable and now I remember. Just that 26 minute exercise. Earier, I was walking around outside in 60 deg, with breeze and gusts of wind. Nothing. It will wear off. But I’m going back I the tub in the morning.

      • Sean on April 10, 2012 at 12:57

        “I remember having to regularly walk home from school through snow in the Winter. I felt bitterly cold. My hands were numb. I ate loads. I was fat. I think that I am like the general population.”

        Nigel, you also have said you grew up eating loads of crap. Were you eating loads because you were cold walking home from school or because you were addicted to processed carbs?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 10, 2012 at 13:00

        “I remember having to regularly walk home from school through snow in the Winter.”

        Let me guess. Uphill both ways, right?

      • Sean on April 10, 2012 at 14:19

        And you try and tell the young people of today that … they won’t believe you.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on April 10, 2012 at 15:35

        On the level both ways, actually!

      • Nigel Kinbrum on April 10, 2012 at 15:37

        I was fed on crap from a very young age, so it’s hard to say. It’s probably a bit of both.

      • Neal Matheson on April 11, 2012 at 22:49

        Swimming in England try Kirkaldy! Biully connolly has a skit about Scottish familys having photos of the family “enjoying” seaside holidays.
        My dad says that his dad made him swim in the sea, I was forced to swim in the sea and last summer I tricked my daughter into going in the sea…..pure evil.

    • Ray Cronise on April 9, 2012 at 18:52


      So, your experience is very common – for example, I distinctly remember hunger when swimming as a kid. I would suggest that your conclusion – it’s impossible for the average person, is off. One of the reasons that I switched to a calorically restricted diet had to do with things that drive satiety and hunger. I’d HOPED to put my first post up today on the gut as an endocrine organ, but time is slipping by.

      The window you need to watch is 2-4 hours AFTER cold exposure. That is the time you are most vulnerable to over eat. I suggest a very high-fiber meal with as few calories as possible. Since I don’t eat salads, It’s typically an enormous serving of stir fry vegetables or some other non-starch-non grain-non fat-non sugar variation.

      The point of telling people is if they are aware of the symptom, they can reasonably react. When left with no awareness, they may never even noticed the appetite increased.

      There is an entire body of work on the feed forward response and that will be part of my next two posts. I had to take a few months to talk about food on my blog, because so many short-circuit their success (like I did) following things that don’t really add up.


      • Nigel Kinbrum on April 9, 2012 at 22:28

        “The window you need to watch is 2-4 hours AFTER cold exposure.”
        In the bad old days (when I had severe muscular IR): After eating loads of carbs, that was the time I was most vulnerable to over-eat, as that was when my BG was falling. I used to over-eat in that window.

        I don’t over-eat in that window since I eliminated muscular IR using Vitamin D3, K2 & physical activity. I don’t want to do anything that makes me vulnerable to over-eat again.

        You’re not going to persuade me to immerse my body in cold water.

      • mark on April 10, 2012 at 05:28

        Jesus Christ – point taken. See you later.

      • Nigel Kinbrum on April 10, 2012 at 15:39

        Go sit in a bath of cold water!

  22. Stephen on April 9, 2012 at 20:08

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post here. I’m finding this discussion absolutely fascinating.

    I’m kind of curious what your thoughts are on hot baths. If cold baths can have positive physiological effects, can the opposite be said of hot baths?

    I really love hot baths and generally have one every night with water as hot as I can stand for around twenty minutes. Could I be harming myself by doing this? I do tend to feel the cold very easily and my sleep is certainly not optimal.

    I’m very keen to try some cold baths instead. Maybe I can come to enjoy them as much as I enjoy hot baths in time.

    • JLL on April 10, 2012 at 04:04

      It seems that cold therapy, if it works, works through some other mechanism than hormesis. Heat therapy, on the other hand, benefits roundworms through hormesis:

      With heat shock therapy you’re essentially stressing the organism by just the right amount. I haven’t seen any studies on humans, and the data we do have (e.g. countries where sauna is popular vs countries where it isn’t) doesn’t show anything remarkable.

      In other words, it doesn’t seem like hot showers will make you live longer. However, I’d be very surprised if they were *harmful*.

      – JLL

  23. Glenn Whitney on April 9, 2012 at 22:36

    All of us are the descendants of successful reproducers.

    Our ancestors did everything they could to avoid being cold.

    Whenever they could they tried to put on fat.

    CT might be an interesting “bio hack” but don’t try to contort the Paleo/Ancestral template to accommodate it.

    • D. Moore on April 10, 2012 at 01:15

      I used to live on an Indian reservation in NW Washington where the local tribe was said to have hunted whales in the nude-if your not familiar with the climate it’s nearly always cold and frequently rainy. There was even a band there who were reputed to wear no clothing at all except for perhaps a woven cedar cape and hat.

      In my own tribe in the eastern part of the state I was talking to a friend of my gradfather’s this January while we took a break between sweatlodge rounds. I was standing shirtless and barefoot in the snow in the temperature was 23 degrees, my shorts were drenched with sweat and we were talking about how if we were nearer to the river we’d jump in between rounds the way our people used to do, which led him to recall a story from the “old days.” He told me about how the “whip man,” who was in charge of disciplining the children, would make my grandfather and the other kids sit in the river up to their necks in the mornings, he would do this year round as I understood it (although I don’t know if it was every day), if you rose out of the water you were hit with a switch.

      I’d also add that in Luther Standing Bear’s 1933 account of his experience at the Carlisle boarding school he noted (in reference to the clothing which replaced the traditional moccasins and blanket); “we longed to go barefoot but were told the dew on the grass would give us colds. That was a new warning for us, for our mothers had never told us to beware of colds, and I remember as a child coming into the tipi with moccasins full of snow. Unconcernedly I would take them off my feet, pour out the snow, and put them on my feet again without any thought of sickness, for in that time colds, catarrh, bronchitis, and la grippe were unknown.”

      All this to say that I contend that your second premise, which is what the argument hinges on or is at least a major link in the chain, is false in that it relies on an implied absolute. An absolute mind you that the examples I’ve shared absolutely refute. I also mean to imply that as these were people who in all likelyhood were living very much like their paleolithic ancestors may have, then I’d say that it is reasonable that the “Paleo/Ancestoral template” could very well accomodate it. Note that I did not mention any ancient mammalian pathways, metabolic trapdoors, or any thing else of the sort. I’m intrigued by Ray’s work and applaud the methodical way he is going about it, it’s nice to see some rational thinking in this conversation.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 10, 2012 at 12:01

      “Our ancestors did everything they could to avoid being cold.

      Whenever they could they tried to put on fat.”

      That’s because cold and scarcity was the given. Now, warmth and plenty are the given.

      So why understand the latter in the context of paleo, and not the former?

      I’d also add that they probably sat or layer around most of the time, as much as possible. So why go get in a workout? Because, they literally had to move a lot to survive. The given. Most of us don’t have to do that anymore, so we use workouts to hopefully express those genetic pathways.

      “CT might be an interesting “bio hack” but don’t try to contort the Paleo/Ancestral template to accommodate it.”

      Why, afraid you’ll be left out in the warm?

  24. agatha on April 10, 2012 at 03:05

    Thanks for sharing this D Moore – it is illuminating to hear of traditional practices.
    Thanks too to Ray for his input.

  25. paleomamma on April 10, 2012 at 06:43

    Way to go Richard. You are a god send. This topic needed a neutral territory and you are a wonderful host. I am not the only Paleo faithful who was risking becoming very disillusioned at the infantile bickering going on in a community that we have so much need for. If I have to read one more criticism about someone’s incapability of writing convincing pros and inability to spell I will give up. If some readers (especially biologists, physicians and scientists) want a poet they should read Hemingway, If we want to figure out what science has so badly screwed up… we need to grow up and scrutinize and stop acting like a spoiled brats. What is the point in damaging your health for even one month more while waiting for someone to pay for an editor. People should at that point should shut up, pitch in and edit Kruse’s posts. Yes for free. Give up or shut up. Okay I have vented.
    So, hopefully this will lead to some direction on the safe starches issue which I do not buy into. And it is very disappointing to see so many led so easily along in the direction of tasty, cheap and easy starches/sugars just because everything is not going ‘perfectly’. SOMETHING IS MISSING. Anyone even if they are wrong that sheds light on this issue should be welcome… will lead eventually along the right path….if we all contribute in an open minded positive manner. I for one, would love to resolve hair loss and T3-T4 issue without copping out by adding starches. (gag) And the only things I stumbled on in the paleo realm re: thryoid is carbs and cold. Pity I hate both, but only one appears to be uncontrollable. Wonderful picture of the recent you, by the way ‘sans’ dirty shirt. (last thought: nobody who is pumping health in a bottle by marketing supplments on their blog should criticize another for selling pesonal advice over the phone. And by all means, if someone can’t trudge his way through blog posts- he should pay for hand holding) Please keep up the good honest work.

  26. MM on April 10, 2012 at 08:22


    Thanks so much for your participation here. If you know anything about cold and the T4->T3 issue, I too am deeply interested, as I am yet another person who has gone seriously hypothyroid (in the sense of low T3, normal T4, high TSH) on a very-low-carb paleo diet, and cold stress has done nothing so far to help me.

    Given what we know about our evolutionary history, I find it difficult to believe that we require a certain level of carbohydrate intake for proper thyroid function. But it is clear that many low-carbers are struggling with hypothyroidism, and T4->T3 conversion issues in particular. Simply eating more carbohydrate is no solution for those of us who cannot do so without serious blood sugar problems.

    Jack Kruse is certain that cold is the answer. I am sure that I speak for many people in saying that I would be grateful for your perspective.

  27. mark on April 10, 2012 at 12:09

    So are you saying that eating a sweet/regular potato is bad?

    Can you clear this up for me… You first say that going “low-carb” has caused you problems (thyroid) – yet eating carbs(good carbs) is not a solution?? Then you find it difficult to believe that we require some carbs to be healthy “cause it’s clear many low-carbers are struggling”

    Is this because you were originally damaged, or going low-carb damaged you?

    I’m really confused.

    • MM on April 10, 2012 at 15:56

      At risk of veering quite away from what I was asking (whether cold therapy can help T4->T3 conversion issues):

      1. I am not sure what gave the impression that I think potatoes are bad. If I could eat them without an unhealthy blood sugar response, I probably would.

      2. I went ultra-low-carb in response to the sudden, mysterious onset of severe dysglycemia, the root of which I have yet to discover. The good news is that this maneuver stabilized my blood sugar straight away. The bad news is that I am now, after some time, very hypothyroid. I would happily experiment to see if eating more carbohydrate restores proper thyroid function, but this is precisely what I cannot do. Catch-22.

      Except that I cannot believe that there really is no other way out. Many tribes, as far as we know, thrived on low-carb diets, and it seems a stretch that this was possible only with moose thyroid supplementation!

      • AKMan on April 12, 2012 at 09:19

        Cold adaptation negates need for thyroid hormones in cold, at least in rats and rabbits. Why not us?

      • M. on April 12, 2012 at 12:51

        The paper said that hypothyroid rats die with cold exposure while normal rats, normal rabbits, and hypothyroid rabbits survive. It doesn’t really say anything about a thyroid being unnecessary if you are cold adapted.

      • M. on April 12, 2012 at 13:15

        There was really nothing positive about the cold exposure listed here and it didn’t “negate” the need for a thyroid. Hypothyroid rats and hypothyroid rabbits (they still had their thyroids but were hypothyroid) were living prior to the cold exposure, then after the cold exposure the hypothyroid rats were no longer living.

        There was something special about the rabbit muscles that kept them alive (possibly by shivering for 10 days straight), but there was no indication that they thrived better being subjected to cold, just that they survived the ordeal better than hypothyroid rats do.

        You could argue that if the hypothyroid rabbits did in fact shiver for 10 days and the normal thyroid rabbits did not, then the normal thyroid rabbits had a more “comfortable” or “less stressful” time surviving the ordeal.

        This one of the problems people have with Kruse – he throws out random studies that are not really related to what he is claiming.

      • AKMan on April 13, 2012 at 20:42

        Touche’ – my apologies that I said you didn’t read the study. Good job…

  28. rob on April 10, 2012 at 16:56

    OT: I think the term “safe starches” needs to be retired, it has a “born to be mild” quality to it and is not terribly masculine … it implies an aversion to risk.

    Imo “Exxtreme Starches” would be a better name (the two x’s signify that we are talking EXTREME), so that you can say “Yeah yesterday I did some rock climbing, then I went hang gliding, and then I ate some Exxtreme Starches”

    By simply changing the term we have gone from “born to be mild” to “born to be wild”

    • Hugh Anderson on April 10, 2012 at 17:10

      Ha, nice. I’m a fan of the alliteration, myself, so maybe “sacrilegious starches,” to denote we have broken off from the Church of Paleo.

      • paleomamma on April 11, 2012 at 01:17

        Great idea! I say extreme also because there is nothing safe about a “guess” that carbs are the answer to some problems. (SINCE going LC does not mean LC caused) Modern science has been jumping to conclusions (errant at that) for years. And isn’t our nutrition supposed to be based on just that… that science does not have the answers so we should stick to what the past has already proven? Fine, if they work for some.. may mean no problem down the road, but since they don’t work for all… there has to be a missing piece of the puzzle. (temporary fix not being sure what the long-term effects are since you can’t get to the root of the problem = modern medicine). Any potato pills out there yet?

  29. Bear on April 10, 2012 at 20:14


    I just want to thank you for the That Mitchell and Webb clip as it reminded me of the “Bawdy 1970s Hospital” clip that I saw a few months back (you might have posted that in conjunction with another post). That’s all.


  30. Neal Matheson on April 11, 2012 at 22:53

    “but you probably can do much more metabolic good with periodic chronic cool. ”

    One thing I noticed in America was that the houses and all public buildings were really hot and that people wore lots and lots of clothing.

    • Neal Matheson on April 11, 2012 at 23:43

      Gopt called away I was going to add that while the Hadza are often cold and do little beyond having a fire to protect themselves from cold starts and rainy days the inuit are described by explorers as being so well protected fro the cold that they seldom if ever felt the cold. Thre is no reason why our ice age ancestors (for those of European descent) felt too cold either.

  31. Spyros on April 12, 2012 at 00:28

    I surely agree that “nothing is gone”, as the above post argues.

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