Not everyone reacts the same to high or low temperatures. According to the University of Copenhagen, which has just conducted a small study on the subject, it’s all about the habit.
In the same room, some may freeze to death, while others may feel suffocated by the heat. If this diagram is a bit exaggerated, it sums up the conclusions of the study carried out by researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark on the different possible acclimatizations of the body according to temperatures.
Scientists in particular have closely studied the followers of ice baths, an almost traditional practice in Scandinavia where part of the population spends their time in boiling saunas, while the rest of the population, the less cautious, cut the ice for s ” offer invigorating baths in water barely above zero degrees. But in the countries of Northern Europe, there is a third group, more in the minority and which can seem completely crazy when seen from the outside.
These people are fans of saunas as well as ice baths, so their great fun when winter comes is to mix the two. Coming out of a sauna, sometimes running, they will jump into the ice water under the snow. An idea that seems crazy, and we say to ourselves quite logically that the body must very badly endure these extreme changes in temperature.
A simple adaptation over time
The researchers expected that the “brown fat”, a type of fat very present in the Far North especially in the animal world, is more present in the followers of these practices than in a control group. But while the levels of brown fat seemed similar, the scientists noticed that the ice bathers had better thermoregulation than the control group. Their body was used to this temperature and therefore knew how to react accordingly so that it did not bother them, or at least as little as possible.
In the animal world, bears as well as many species of the Far North have a large amount of brown fat. Unlike the “white fat” found in humans, it is much more sealed against temperatures, whether cold or hot.
However, this study, carried out on two groups of eight subjects, cannot draw very clear scientific conclusions at the moment. The study therefore seems to show that people who adhere to the cold were simply exposed to it more often, which makes them more resistant over time. No genetic nuance could explain the development of this ability in the subjects of the study.