Webinar presenter Rodger Ruge answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Tactical Resilience: Physical Resilience for Peak Field Performance (Part 2). Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: Should cold showers be daily practice? How long should we keep the knob set to low? And does it work to gradually decrease the temperature? Do you have to do it all at once?
Rodger Ruge: What a fantastic question. So, here’s the best you can do here. Yes, to a daily practice, absolutely. Yes, you can decrease it slowly and I highly recommend you do. In fact, just turning that things straight down. Most people are like, yeah, I’m going to skip this practice, I’m just going to pass for something else. I’m a big fan of getting ourselves used to something. And what you’ll find is just slowly turn it down to tolerance and let that water hit you straight in the face and the chest, you have vagus nerve receptors in your face and upper chest, so you’re stimulating those right then and there. And you can just taper it down to tolerance. And what you’ll find friends is eventually you’ll be able to just crank it right to cold, but you want to build up to it. If you try to go big too fast on this, you probably are going to go, “Yeah, that’s not for me.”
Host: How long should we keep the knob set too low?
Rodger Ruge: Oh, yes, thank you, Aaron, for that reminder. Typically, around 30 seconds is all you need.
Audience Question: Do you have any kind of handout with the breathing exercises? Should she reach out to you at your proton mail e-mail or what do you recommend?
Rodger Ruge: Yeah, here’s what I do recommend. I’m going to turn you on to the bible of all breathing work that has ever been created and this will answer any question you have ever had and give you endless exercises to reference. And it is a book by Patrick McKeown and the book is called The Breathing Curer and you’ll find this on any major bookseller retailer. I promise you that anything related to breadth is in there. Patrick has dedicated the last 22 years of his life to nothing but studies on breathing and specifically breathing and performance. So, he works with law enforcement. He works with the military. He works with professional athletes. He is a scientist. He will have every question you have ever thought of answered in that particular book.
Audience Question: How long do you recommend doing the whole body vibration for?
Rodger Ruge: Oh, I love that. Listen, do it until you feel like you’re complete. There’s really no specific time here, but I have found as a general rule, that five minutes is sufficient. I personally have found that for me 15 minutes is ideal, but again, I’m standing on a vibration plate letting it do the work for me, but five minutes will absolutely stimulate that vagus nerve and you can do less than five minutes if you go even more vigorous. So, if you’re shaking your body, like a dog trying to shake itself after coming out of the water, you could do that for 60 seconds, and for sure you’re going to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Audience Question: Can you explain Cryotherapy and is it worth the cost?
Rodger Ruge: So that is a very interesting form of trying to get this type of regulation to the vagus nerve and other aspects of the body online. I’d invite each of you to do your own research into it. I’ve discovered that there are a couple of ways to look at it. This extreme form, which is, we’re talking about in some cases going -237 degrees below Fahrenheit, okay? That’s insanely cold. So, it’s a really very challenging thing to do. You want to do that obviously at a place where they offer it. Because they have the special machine. And with a professional. Let’s just say it this way. The book is not yet written on it. And some of the research I’ve seen is that regular cold exposure is as effective, as this extreme cryotherapy. So, in my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s worth the time, the money, or the extreme challenge to our physiology to do it. But that’s just my opinion. There are many people out there who would vigorously debate me on this, but I believe you can get as good a result with far less challenge and for far less cost, by just simply turning on that shower down for 30 seconds and experiencing that, we’re doing some other form of cold immersion.
Audience Question: Have you seen any information on pulsed electromagnetic field therapy for self-care practices?
Rodger Ruge: Yes, this is a very interesting emerging science. And so, I have been experimenting with the idea of Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy in these fields. And I’ve worked with a couple of people who do this professionally. One of them is an organization called Osteo Strong, this is by the doctor who invented the X3 Bar for weight training. And Osteo Strong is all about building stronger bones in the body. So, it’s really for folks who are having trouble with osteoporosis, that’s their whole focus. But they also have something inside their organization, their buildings called the Bio Charger. And the Bio Charger is a pulsed electromagnetic field that literally sends out pulsed electromagnetic waves into the room that it’s in. And it has an effect on things like Lyme disease, mold, arthritis, inflammation in the body. And by using specific frequencies, it targets those specific problems in the body. Now that sounds a little out there. And for sure this is an emerging science, but I can tell you friends that I have been in there and experienced these post electromagnetic fields and have had a tangible result. What are those tangible results? I went in there for one where I was experiencing a very high-energy kind of day. I’d had a lot of life happen to me. You could call me maybe on the edge of a little bit of anxiety, not to the level of panic, but just feeling anxious and unsettled. And I did a 15-minute session that was designed for stress. And by the time I was done, I was so relaxed, I was shocked. Like, it really just took the edge off. The other thing I’ve used it for is inflammation. I had an injury, and I went in there for inflammation reduction, and in 15 minutes, you could literally see the inflammation had reduced. So, I think this is very promising as a field of technology. I think technology is getting better and better. I have seen some units that you can use at home, you can buy for personal use, I am not convinced that they are at the level of the pro unit, and so I think it’s worth an exploration, taking a good look at it. I personally have had a very positive result.
Audience Question: What is ANS, which is autonomic nervous system activation?
Rodger Ruge: Okay, so I can sum this up for you pretty quickly, the autonomic nervous system that is the side of our nervous system where everything that takes place is something we don’t have to think about. So, for example, the autonomic nervous system is responsible for your heartbeat. It is responsible for your food digestion. It’s responsible for breathing when we are not conscious of breathing, like during our sleep period or when we’re not doing breath work, the breath just happens. So, think of this as the autonomic or automatic side of the fence, where these systems run, whether we’re conscious of them or not. And then that system has two branches. It has your parasympathetic side, that’s the brake pedal, the rest and digest, the restorative side of our nervous system. And it has the sympathetic side, the gas pedal that helps us get up in the morning and engage in a critical incident, for example. We have to have both of those sides and one isn’t worse than the other. What we can have though is an imbalance or it can take us out of homeostasis. And that means we’re either in sympathetic nervous system dominance or parasympathetic backlash. Where we’ve had the gas pedal floored too long, and the parasympathetic system makes us sick and shut us down because we have to restore, and the body knows that. What we’re after in the autonomic nervous system is your status or balance between those two branches of it. So that’s a broad brush overview, but there is a ton of information on the internet if you type that in.