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Cold Thermogenesis Challenge Starts Today!

Here’s a video for some inspiration for you.

The ice man takes a cold dip

So last week I shared about Dr Kruse and his Cold Thermogenesis protocol.  Step one is putting your face into ice water daily to begin to get used to the cold.  I have been doing it myself for a few days and have learned a few things.  I’m also working my way through his blog posts as fast as I can (they are super dense) and have learned a bunch from that as well.

First I’ll review.

You need to dip your face in 50 degree water once a day.  Keep it up as long as you can stand it and until your skin starts to turn pale pink/white then quit.  It is best if you do this after a high protein meal and drink some ice water before you start.  16-32 oz.

The point of this is to change how your body works.  Once you are adapted to the cold, getting your skin cold will do some amazing things for you.  Dr Kruse talks a lot about weight loss because that is why most people come to him and is the most obvious result but there are others.

One of the big results is detox and I think I am already feeling it.  It works to fix so many hormonal issues.  Thyroid, sex hormones, adrenals, and leptin are all helped by this therapy.  According to one of his podcasts it works incredibly well on Lyme disease (but will cause you to feel very ill for a few weeks, I think I’m feeling that already).

Some tips

  • I am finding that I am needing to stress dose my hydrocortisone right now to deal with the detox.  Not what I was expecting from this but now that I know it is caused by massive detox I am feeling better about it.  If you have low adrenal function be aware of this possibility and prepared for it.
  • You are trying to teach your body to become acclimated to the cold so the more time you spend cold the faster this will work.  If you dip your face and then quickly dry it off and sit in front of a heater that won’t work nearly so well as if you consciously choose to under dress a bit and let yourself get chilled and stay chilled.  You don’t need to be miserable but just tolerant.
  • There is a big mental aspect to this so do help your body by rearranging your thinking and try to embrace being cold as a good thing and a route toward health.
  • If you have MTHFR mutations you have impaired detox pathways and you need plenty methyl donors to be assisting the accelerated detoxification that is encourages.  Be aware of that and ready to increase your methyfolate and other activated b’s or quit for now if it pushes your detox too quickly.  Pushing detox when your body doesn’t have the ability to neutralize and excrete the toxins is a bad idea.  Get the MTHFR stuff on board first.
  • This pushes detox and probably isn’t a good idea if you are nursing an infant.  Sorry.  Use your own judgement about older nurslings.
  • Be prepared to be shocked the first time you do this.  It is very startling to put your face into ice cold water.  Also have a towel ready for your wet face when you are done.  Be sure to do this with a mirror handy.  You need to be able to check and see if your face is getting white because that will tell you that it is time to stop.  I’m not sure how to tell if you have darker skin.

So who’s with me!?  Let me know in the comments if you plan to try this and then report back here your experiences with this.  I will be reporting my experiences along the way as well.   I can’t wait to hear how it is going!


  1. Just stumbled across your blog after Googling Cold Thermogenesis. I’ve been listening to Dr. Kruse and reading a lot. I’m ready to try this, but I am VERY sick with a horrible cold. The last thing I want to do is stick my head in a bowl of freezing water! Maybe I could start with cold wraps around my neck and cold showers? Here’s my background:
    41 years old with Hashimotos 10+ years. My TSH says all is well and I feel pretty good, too. The weight is the problem. I look at food and gain, so I went on a Paleo diet January of 2011 and lost 17lbs within 6 months. After that, nothing else. I continue to do the Paleo diet because without it, I will gain, but it’s not very motivating to no longer lose weight. I am very excited to try CT, as I *know* my “pilot light” is out. I am cold constantly and even my day to day temperature is around 95 degrees! That is very cold! I believe that bringing up my temperature will help my metabolism, so this challenge sounds very exciting to me. I can’t wait to start!

    • Welcome! I tried a cold shower yesterday and am still paying for it with increased detox. The cold face is much easier to take. I’m not sure if it is a good idea to start it when ill. I was wondering the same thing and couldn’t find an answer. I was very ill first with a chest cold and then a stomach bug as I was learning about this.

      It sounds like this may be just what you need. Jump in on the challenge when you want to, if you want to. Have you heard of the “wet sock trick”? When you are ill you put cold wet socks on your warm feet and dry wool socks over them. Wear them till the wet socks are dry. This is supposed to help bring on a fever and help you burn out a sickness.

  2. Patty, thanks for the video, I wondered which ice man you were watching. Although, I must say, the video is not very inspirational, lol. It looks painful. Wow. Pretty amazing. I am wondering how will I stay cold adapted during our burning hot summers here in Arizona. I think I read that Dr. Kruse will be running his car’s air conditioning and will be keeping his house at 55°F. Our electricity bill is already over $400 during some summer months and we don’t go any lower than 76°F and that is only sometimes or at night after the rates are lower. Our costs would probably double that if we tried to keep it that low. So far I think the CT is helping me. I slept great last night but had to eat some protein at 9:30 since I didn’t have lunch but was starving by 5pm. I know on the leptin reset we aren’t supposed to eat after 7pm but if I’m hungry I can’t sleep and if I can’t sleep I can’t function so I am just glad for those nights when I don’t wake hungry.

    • I find what he can do to be inspiring. I do adore swimming and that pool he is swimming in looks so pristine it just looks amazing to me (and cold).
      I too am wondering how I will keep this up in the summer and I think I will have to make do with ice baths and cold showers and dropping the temp a bit when I sleep but otherwise I don’t have that kind of money to burn either. Perhaps wearing the ice packs on your body at home for long periods of time will be enough. I wish he would have shared this stuff back in October when it was getting cold instead of now when it is warming up. I wonder if an individual ac unit for your bedroom making it really cold overnight would be enough to make a big difference but not add too much to your cooling bill.

  3. I am just starting to read on Dr. Kruse’s thermogensis. Here is the thing though. I have read some studies on this. Like there was a women who swam in ocean long distances. Part of her training was thermogensis like. she slept in the winter with the windows open. The thing is the body starts laying down a lot of fat to insulate itself. This is REALLY not something I want to happen. I also know it causes a thickening of the blood. which isnt rally bad. love to hear your thoughts since you’ve been reading on it.

    • I am still learning about this and just beginning to experience it myself. Dr Kruse has an amazing fat loss from using this method. 133 lbs in 11 months. He explains that it really depends on how the person is eating. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates you will put down a layer of fat no matter what else you are doing. I’m not sure what you mean by a thickening of the blood. What intrigues me is the idea that it will help straighten out all of my messed up hormonal issues. Thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones and that it will help my body overcome the Lyme and detox. I can tell that the CT is really pushing detox and I need to go slow with it because of my limited capacity to detox because of my MTHFR mutation. (he addresses that in the answers of one of his blogs). I have really increased my methylators since starting and I am tolerating them much better than I had been.
      Ultimately, I figure what have I got to lose from trying this? What if he is right and this is the key to me feeling better long term? Last winter it was much colder than this winter and I felt much better than I did this winter. I generally feel terrible in the summer so while the warmer days are lovely I am not really looking forward to the low level of functioning both physically and mentally I have had the past 2 summers. If I can sit in an ice bath part of the time and feel better the rest of the time I’ll give it a try.

  4. Ok I had to skip yesterday because I was already detoxing too much but I just did CT this morning. I made it my longest yet 2m:18s. I hadn’t gotten past 2 min before. I am finding that I feel cold in the back of my throat if I go long enough (ie till my face is white). According to JK this means that I have too much omega 6. I’m wondering why after doing GAPS for 2 years. It is going to be 80 here today but right now after dipping my face I’m pretty chilly. My daughter is taking a skating lesson at an indoor rink later on and I’m hoping that being in there will be good for my CT. Perhaps I should sign my kids up for indoor skating this summer…

  5. Well, I did this 2x so far and after reading this post again – I’m doing it wrong. lol. The first day after breakfast I put 2 trays of ice into a small bathroom sink filled w/ cold water. Put my face in for like a second! lol. It was much more shocking than I thought it would be. {I don’t have any anxiety or clostrophobic,sp, issues either} – stuck my head in again and found that I needed to relearn how to hold my breath. {I used to swim a lot so this was something I could do well before} Put my head in again and did better. I can only stay under to the count of about 8 even after the second day. But I kept going; and here’s where I messed up :: I stopped when my face was still red, not pink/white. How long does that take?

    I don’t know if I’ll have time tomorrow but I’ll try. Also the coldness stays on my face and doesn’t chill my whole body. That didn’t surprise me tho’ b/c, my dh can take a hot shower and stay hot for some time {so I assume the same would happen if he were to take a cold shower}, but if I were to do the same I would only stay hot/warm until the air hit me then I would cool down. Same w/ being hot; I can’t just dip my feet into water and have my entire body cool off like many people can. I have no clue what this says about me. lol.
    I will keep trying the CT tho’. :)

    • I wouldn’t beat yourself up over “doing it wrong”. Do what you can do now and do better in the future. I get burned out when I obsess with doing it right the first time. Just do it, right can come later.

  6. Oh I’m the exact opposite of a Type A personality. No worries. :) How long does it take you to go pink?

  7. Hi Patty,
    I suspect I have the MTHFR mutation, but do not have the funds to get tested. I am going by my OAT results where my folate metabolites were way off. When I took activated B-vitamin complex which contained methyl folate I had a very bad reaction straight from the first dose. It felt like a relapse of chronic fatigue syndrome. I have been doing CT for about 3 days. Tolerating it a bit better each time. I don’t understand the point in timing if the reason I’m coming up is for air and not because I can’t tolerate it. I do cold showers. Nothing has been that different. Maybe I should just keep going with CT without supplements.

    • I am tolerating a lot more methylfolate when I am doing the CT. I’m not sure what to make of that. How much methylfolate did you take? It can cause detox symptoms. Dr Lynch had some stuff on his blog about people who can’t tolerate the methylfolate. You can go there and read more. I am having major detox and needing the methylfolate to support it with CT but if you aren’t getting that reaction I wouldn’t worry about it. (I’m often a special case having an unusual reaction to things that so many people thrive on. Sigh.)

  8. Oh and the first time I did face dunks w/ ice water my face got really red, not white. But I couldn’t tolerate it. It keeps going red but never white. Is the aim to make it turn white?? I think I would get major brain freeze if I waited that long!

    • JK says that the brain freeze means an imbalance of omega 3/6. I’m wondering about this too. It turns white when it gets colder than 50 degrees so you want to stop when it gets white. I’m not sure if the goal is to get white or not. I do after a fairly short time so I am stopping then but if you don’t….

  9. I’m pretty sure you want to stop BEFORE you turn white. Turning white happens before frostbite-which is bad! I haven’t started yet. I’m still very sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection. Got some antibiotics yesterday, so hopefully I will feel better soon and can start my CT challenge!

  10. Thank you for pointing that out Miaja. Yes stop before white.

    Todays CT consisted of taking a very cool (but not cold) shower and I am now sitting with an ice pack on my stomach and drinking ice water. I’m having all the symptoms of high omega 6 but I just don’t see why so I’m researching that. I am able to tolerate this ice on my stomach much longer than I could tolerate putting my face in the water. I have horrible brain fog and I am hopeful that cooling myself down will help with that.

  11. I skipped CT last night because I felt too tired, and took a 30 second cold shower instead. I just finished dinner (had to work late!) and am drinking my 16 ounces of ice water and preparing to dunk my face in a few minutes. I am olive complected so I don’t know if my face is going to turn white. It starts out bright pink… in the first week it took 30 minutes of dunking to lose the pink color and get down to 50°F on my face. I think I was waiting too long between dunkings. Now I’m swishing my face back and forth and the water gets colder as I do that. Also I can tolerate 43°F water after several dunkings. And I’m only pulling my face out long enough to take a deep breath or two then going back under. I am sleeping better… is the CT? I guess time will tell. :-)

  12. I started the CT around 2/16/12 I believe. I went straight for the cold tub using the “croak method”. Meaning, I sat in the tub, let about 1/2 inch of warm water in the tub, then ran nothing but cold water. It was still fairly cold where we live at the time I started so the water was around 58 degrees.

    After about 10 days or so I started putting ice in the water but that gets to be a hassle. Actually, I dumped all the ice cubes I had in the freezer into the tub and the next day there wasn’t enough ice. I also stopped using the “top layer” of warm water, but I still get in the tub and then let the water run in.

    Last week I took a bunch of Ice-Brix, divided them into four 1-gallon ziplock bags and now use those in my CT. It still only gets the water down to about 58 degrees, but I also use them to do spot CT while I am in the tub. The Ice-Brix are around 38 degrees so I raise my legs enough that the Ice-Brix are resting on them and I lean forward so they touch my stomach as well. I sit like that as long as I can stand it, then stop for a bit. This gets my skin temp down to about 55 degrees.

    Since starting CT I have reduced Cytomel from 112.5 mcg to 87.5 mcg and hydrocortisone from 40 mg to 35 mg. However, I will say that I believe I was on too much Cytomel to begin with and I had to increase HC because I went up too high on the Cytomel. Therefore it’s hard to say if the CT had anything to do with it.

    I did have increased die off for a while but even that is not unusual for me. Unfortunately I have gained about 4 lbs and roughly 1/2 inch in my thighs since starting CT. It may or may not be connected. I really don’t know but when you are doing LR with CT and a ketogenic diet and you are gaining weight/size, it sure is frustrating.

  13. When we get home from our trip I’ll join you. I’d love to do this.

  14. So cool that you are doing this Patty! Think I’m going to get into this soon, Patty – maybe in a week when we visit NY! I am trying to read all of Kruse’s blogs too. Am wondering what/how you are incorporating GAPS with it. Do you mind answering a few q’s? I tend to get really caught down in the details.
    1. Are you doing the Leptin reset with it? Because I have more q’s about the logistics of GAPS & leptin diet.
    2. Drinking 16-32oz of water after a protein meal is good for the CT but not for digesting food, are you worried about this?

    • 1. I have been doing the leptin reset since 2 days after Thanksgiving (except for a week of stomach bug when I just ate whatever when ever).
      2. Yes I am also concerned about this. I have been trying to wait a good 30 min after my meal before I drink any ice water. I think that is still close enough to work. I am also just trying to drink more ice water despite preferring my water room temperature and not having an ice maker.

  15. Wow have a good couple months of the LReset under your belt!! Have you noticed any changes? I’m so excited, read more about it today and even took a cold shower and then did NOT have my hot tea afterward. I’m not sure how cold my shower was, but I did have goose bumps when I was done.

    Do you still do detox (hot) baths? And take your probee 20min before breakfast? Do you eat breakfast right when you wake up (but then don’t get in the morning detox if you eat before 10am). A couple weeks ago I was starting to feel that I was constantly eating – even if eating was just soup, I felt like my body never had time to digest properly. I’m liking the idea of the 3 meals, but sometimes it makes me think that I overeat at the meals because I feel like my next meal won’t be for a long time.

    • I think every little bit helps. I’m not taking cold showers but I am taking cool ones and working my way down. Trying to change my thinking about cold (my gut reaction is to think being cold is bad).

      I am not doing hot baths but luke warm ones. I take my probiotics later in the day since I know I will have an empty stomach a couple of times of day first thing in the morning is much less important. Very early on I had a lot of die off from this so it does not stop you from detoxing and in fact in my experience encourages die off.

      I do feel a bit like I over eat (esp at breakfast). It is a balance. Some days I am able to skip lunch and other days I can’t. I do find that if I start thinking about food or eat a little bit I will be hungrier than if I just keep going. With young children who need to eat at noon it is hard to avoid thinking about food at lunch time.

  16. I’m taking a break from CT for now. I didn’t even make it 2 weeks. I get brain freeze that turns into a terrible headache every time I do it and it then lasts the rest of the day. I have concluded it is an omega3/6 issue (supposedly too much omega 6 causes this issue). So I’m taking more fish oil and going to give myself a month to see if I can tolerate it better. Just drinking a glass of ice water this afternoon resulted in me getting a headache that I haven’t been able to get rid of.

  17. Sorry to hear that. I still haven’t been able to start since I’ve been so sick. Probably not this week, as I’m going out of town Thursday through Sunday. Maybe next week for me. I’m concerned about headaches, too. Every time I went to hot yoga I’d get a headache all day from the heat. I wonder if it’ll be the same thing from the cold?

  18. Patty, you are so inspiring! I’m sorry that you are getting headaches with the CT. I have been doing cool showers for the past couple days and plan to continue this at my parents house for the next 3 weeks. I’ve had a few headaches lately too, so I’m not sure if it’s a food thing, a dehydration thing, a CT thing, or a stress thing (we’re moving).

    • There is no doubting that the CT is causing my headaches. It starts with brain freeze while I am doing it and just continues for hours. Hopefully it isn’t causing them for you.

  19. Hmmmm, am going to keep better track of when I have the headaches – normally I do my CT at night before bed, so I’m not sure if it starts right then. I also haven’t been that aggressive – just cold showers, so maybe it is causing something but is being subtle.

  20. Okay-I’m not 100% better, but I am feeling much better. Good enough to start CT! Going to start tonight with the face diving. I will report back here!

  21. Started last night. First face dive was awful! I hated it. I felt like I couldn’t breathe (which of course, I shouldn’t be doing underwater). I couldn’t even stay under for one second. Then, I tried plugging my nose and I could stay under longer. I tried plugging and not plugging and found I *really* like plugging. I wonder if plugging my nose would be contraindicated? I am not a good sleeper, but my sleep last night was okay. This morning’s shower I did a cold rinse to my hair at the end and then tried to get my whole body under and it didn’t last long. I’m going to try to put some cold packs on my back/shoulders right now while I do my homework. I will report back!

  22. For the past few days I’ve been dissolving my epsom salts in warm/hot water & then sitting in the tub. Then I switch it to cold water and fill it as high as possible until I’m freezing. Then I let my body warm up the water & add more cold water – in the first couple days I would go on like this for a while, having to shut the water off every 1/2 inch or so. Yesterday I was able to run it until I got up to past my pelvis (I’m sitting here) – and lasted for about 20min (until my son came in screaming for me). I don’t have my thermometer with me so I’m not sure what temp I’m doing this at, but I seem to be chilled for several hrs after. Hope it is doing something!! Seems to be easier for me to acclimate this way rather than my face. Plus when I recently gained weight I gained disproportionally on my hips, so I’m hoping to melt that off. Still have to read more CT stuff on Kruse’s site.

  23. So far, so good. Did an epsom salt bath the same as you Kelly. Ended my shower with a cold blast this morning. Didn’t face dive last night maybe tonight. Really want to try to ice my inner thighs!

  24. Hi all,
    I have been on the leptin Rx and CT for 5 weeks now and feel amazing. I was already paleo for 2 years and a crossfitter but started having injuries and plateued on weight with belly fat. I was also taking Gaba and Melatonin every night to get to sleep. Now after 5 weeks of Leptin RX and CT I sleep like I’m without any supplements. I started with face plunge for 2 days then went right to submersion in bath. I live in Seattle so my tap water is 48 degrees. It was tough for first week but now I’m up to an hour of 50 degree water with no issues. All my little nagging injuries have subsided and my belly fat is disappearing. Also I have not done any exercise in this time frame either. I did have some toxin issues with my skin being VERY dry and peeling and some acne on face. I was only sitting in tub, but since I’m a 6’1″ female I went out and bought a horse trough for full submersion up to my head. I think Dr. Kruse is amazing and I love his blogs. I can’t wait to finally find out what Factor X is…

    Good luck to you all

  25. Wow Toni I cant believe you are doing full submersion! I find it very challenging to sit in the tub and my leg muscles twitch. Do you stay cold for long after you get out? Do you drink tea or just plain water between meals? Thx, Kellu

  26. Hi Patty and all!

    I just started my fifth week of leptin reset. I’ve been doing CT for 4 days now. I put my face in the water on Friday for the first time but I didn’t like it at all. So, I’ve been sitting in the 50F water instead for about 25 mins as of last night. It’s not that bad. I don’t even get goose bumps. I just open the facet as I get in. I measure the water T and put extra ice. I got it almost to my waist last night. Overall, I feel more energetic. I don’t have any kind of die off but I almost never have it. My sleep is better but it’s interrupted by my 2 y.o. who wants to nurse at least 4 times a night. I don’t think that I lost more than a pound, which is somewhat disappointing. I still have 10lbs to lose. BAB is the biggest challenge for me. Oh well! Food enjoyment is really overrated. :) Thanks for doing this great blog, Patty. Olga

  27. Olga, do you think your hormones are changing after doing the LReset for 5 weeks? I really try to eat within a half hr of waking up, but it is so hard to do! I hear you with sleep being interrupted, I am in the same boat with my 2.5yr old. I am doing the baths like you, only I haven’t added extra ice so far. Have to order a thermometer!

  28. Kelly, I think that there is an improvement since I’m more energetic. I used to be full of energy and I sort of lost my drive about 4 months ago. So, I think that it’s coming back. I’m also taking 3 droppers of nettle seed extract. My son wants to nurse in the morning so I eat within 30 minutes of getting up and not waking up. Hopefully, this is not that critical. Our tap water is 55F (I’m in MA) so get a thermometer! :) Olga

  29. Ok that is me too in trying to eat within 30min of getting up. I will get a thermometer for sure (and maybe throw some ice bricks in until then anyway). :)

  30. I am recently trying to discover the paleo, TG, systems. And I discovered JK. Anyhow I live in SoCal and have a pool. its about 50-55 degrees and wonder what the recipe is for this technique. There so far is no for dummies answer. Ok eat right, and work out a bit. But the whole get cold thing still confuses. So Many questions. I have a podcast that I do weekly and would love to put you on it and ask questions about what you learn.

    • You are very lucky to have a pool to try this in.
      I do my best to do the “for dummies” version of lots of things but don’t feel qualified yet to do it on this topic. I started CT but it gives me a terrible headache every time I try it and so I am having to give it up for now while I address other health issues that I have that have suddenly gotten more important.
      My understanding is that you can just try spending time in your cold pool. Start out slow and build up. It is ok to be cold afterward. You are trying to teach your body to handle colder temperatures and not feel cold. That is adapt to the cold. The theory is that as you get adapted to it your body will make it’s own internal heat. Your core temperature will not go down. You don’t want your skin getting colder than 50 degrees or so and you don’t want to drop your core temperature. This means slowly adapting to the colder temperatures. JK has some message boards that may be a great place to get some answers to your questions. I wish I could be more help but this has had to go on the back burner for me for now.

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