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  • Writer's pictureGoran Yerkovich

Arctic Heat Retreat - The Dramatic Benefits of Cold Plunge and Dry Heat Saunas Are Real. Take that, AI Assisted Marketing + Promo Discount Code Inside

Updated: Jun 29

I went for a walk a few weeks ago, early in the morning to clear my head, to reconnect with nature. To feel, at least in some small way, that I was doing something good for my health.

Afterall, I did exercise almost everyday, and while I did enjoy the occasional bag of chips, or chocolate, or ice cream, or Aperol Spritz after dinner, I was in fact a healthy person, living in a healthy body. I was on my way to living a long, healthy life. Right?

Then, as I turned the corner towards a pocket of old growth forest along a greenbelt near our home, with blue skies above, warm sun on my face, I put my earbuds in and turned on a podcast called Revisionist History by Malcom Gladwell. It's a podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood. I loved this podcast for the quality of the programing. For the in-depth analysis. For the knowing that each time I listened, I'd learn something new.

But before the episode began, the dreaded ads kicked in. If you didn't know, the latest trend in podcasting is AI-driven personalized marketing, geared directly at you, dear listener. AI-Assisted Marketing uses the data its learns about you - you're habits, behaviors, activities - to build an overall picture of who you are, what you like, and what you might need next - whether you know it or not.

And that's the part that shocked me. The podcast ad that kicked in, the advert geared directly to me, the very first ad that began, the one advertisers pay a lot more for because they feel certain you'd be a shoe-in for their product - was for planning my own celebration of life party. You know, because you dear listener, you're near death now. You're about to die. So instead of just spending it all on a fancy coffin, why not a big crazy party, because it's the least you can do, with you being so close to death and all.

My Celebration of Life Party...Thanks AI Assisted Marketing

The advert went on and on. For a minute or longer. An expensive ad for sure. Then, finally, the podcast began. It was something to do with the CIA. A book written by someone who had a unique perspective. Who knew about the bad things the CIA did. I tried to concentrate on the podcast, to forget about the celebration of life ad geared at me, but after ten or fifteen minutes a new commercial break began again, and it was the exact same ad.

I removed the ear buds, stopped walking, and looked down at my phone. Did Malcom's AI-bots know something I didn't? Was I eating too many chips? Was it the chocolate? Was this the sign I needed to reduce my Aperol Spritz intake this summer?

Then, I realized something the AI couldn't know yet. Today, I was about to start Arctic Heat Retreat. Today I was about to start a new weekly routine of cold plunging in ice cold water mixed with a sauna routine. Today I was about to level up on my personal health.

But what is this cold plunging? Why should any of us care?

Well, after a month of weekly sessions accompanied with friend Seb Lavoie, retired Ret. Sgt Major, ex-Canadian Forces, intellectual warrior, and all-around-badass-A4-Tactical-Athlete, and his equally brilliant soon to be bride, Aleks, I sent the owner of Arctic Heat Retreat these questions below, which dear reader I hope you take the time to review. So that hopefully your next AI-Marketing Assisted personalized ad will be about how to have enough money saved because you'll be living a healthy, vibrant life well past 100 years.

Enjoying a cold plunge at Arctic Heat Retreat
Left to right - Aleks, Seb, Goran

Here's my interview with Wyatt Hicks, President and owner of Arctic Heat Retreat

What is Arctic Heat retreat? What are the benefits of Cold Plunge and Sauna?

Arctic Heat Retreat

Arctic Heat Retreat, located at 9124 Glover Rd #5, Langley, BC, Canada, is an indoor sanctuary that allows locals to expose themselves to hot and cold temperatures through using a sauna and cold plunge. Adding to our exclusive experience, we only allow 1-3 users within our facility per session.Our sauna is a dry-heat sauna that is 190°F. The sauna's main feature is its ability to add Löyly.


Löyly is the steam that is generated when water is poured over heated rocks in a sauna. We have two methods at our facility to add Löyly. The first is to drizzle water over the rocks using our wooden ladle. This water will instantly evaporate, and you will feel a wave of heat immediately after the water hits the rocks. The second Löyly method is to ladle water into our sauna bowl. When water is added to the bowl, it evaporates slowly, providing a slower steam effect. The sound of water crackling within the sauna bowl is quite satisfying.

Our last sauna feature is essential oils. We have a variety of oils at our front desk including scents such as Peppermint and Eucalyptus. Clients are encouraged to bring a bottle of oil into the sauna with them. Inside the sauna, a drop of essential oil can be added to our wooden ladle before pouring water on the rocks or in the sauna bowl. This will leave the sauna smelling wonderful with whichever scent you have selected.


Arctic Heat Retreat is also equipped with three cold plunges. Each customer gets their own cold plunge for their session. This way, we can operate using only fresh water and ice within the plunges, there is absolutely no chlorine or bromine in anyone's plunge at our facility.

To begin sessions, our plunges are approximately 12-13°C. This temperature is typically quite cold for new plungers; however, more experienced plungers may request more ice, bringing down their temperature closer to 7°C. 


Hot and Cold Cycling, which is what we do here at Arctic Heat Retreat, is intended for all adults who are interested in optimizing their physical, mental, and social wellness. 


To start, it is clear that our society is due for places we can go to in order to unwind, unplug, relax, and socialize. Our facility forces you to get off your phone, and truly connect to yourself and others who are with you during your session. This factor alone is more than enough reason to attempt a session of Hot and Cold Cycling.


"To start, it is clear that our society is due for places we can go to in order to unwind, unplug, relax, and socialize."

The physical benefits of using the sauna are quite tremendous. Implementing a consistent sauna practice i.e. four or more sessions per week has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and cancerous diseases by over 40%! (This study was conducted on dry-heat saunas, and not infrared, which many people mixup. Dry-heat saunas can get much hotter than infrared.)


"...four or more sessions per week has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and cancerous diseases by over 40%!"

Utilizing saunas also has the ability to improve athletic performance, sweat out toxins, and prevent muscle atrophy when injured-


The final benefit of saunas, and the reason why I created this business, is thanks to heat exposure's ability to vastly improve mental health. (Pairing heat and cold exposure makes these benefits even more noticable, which I will get into later.) In the fall of 2022, I underwent a traumatic event. This led to me not being able to sleep well, which sent me down a spiral of worsening mental health.

I had already generally known this, but this traumatic episode made it clear that sleep is the absolute bedrock of our well-being. I tried sleeping pills, THC and CBD gummies, copious exercise, counselling, tanning beds (it was winter time), but nothing really worked well, and all of the options seemed unhealthy and not viable long-term solutions. I eventually stumbled across the reality that using a sauna dramatically improved both my ability to fall asleep, and also my sleep quality and duration.

"I eventually stumbled across the reality that using a sauna dramatically improved both my ability to fall asleep, and also my sleep quality and duration."

From this discovery, I began my true healing journey of sleeping better and better, which helped me start enjoying my life again. From here I was able to integrate my trauma into my life and use it for good, rather than letting it tear me apart. This leads me to today, in which I jumped through many hoops to open the first legally and health approved Hot and Cold Cycling facility in the Fraser Valley. I wanted to share this practice's benefits to my local community, as once I helped myself I knew I needed to help others.


"I jumped through many hoops to open the first legally and health approved Hot and Cold Cycling facility in the Fraser Valley."

The science behind why saunas improve our mental health and sleep is very interesting. It is absolutely clear that if you want the mental benefits from the sauna, you must get uncomfortable! Why? When in the sauna for a while you start to feel uncomfortable. This feeling is from your brain producing an opioid called "dynorphin". Dynorphin causes the unease you feel in the sauna, and it is what you want to feel. The reason why you want to get and stay uncomfortable is because dynorphin causes your brain to produce receptors that are sensitive to endorphins and future endorphin release. Basically, if used properly the sauna is like a holistic antidepressant, because endorphins help relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve your sense of well-being.


As for sleep, it appears that the thermoregulation and hormonal changes your body undergoes from heat exposure assist in your ability to fall asleep, along with improving sleep quality and duration. I can certainly vouch for this benefit, and I believe that this information needs to be spread throughout our society as we are all generally overstimulated and under-slept.


"Cold plunges also have very interesting benefits, and they also vastly improved my mental health recovery."


On a surface level, cold plunges are generally perceived as more challenging than saunas, so they can be viewed as a method of deliberate challenge to boost our self-confidence. Cold plunging is also becoming a great social activity to do with others.

As humans, we are built to connect and work together through difficulties. There are now many groups of people who venture out weekly to their local lake or river and go for a brisk dip for a few minutes. Pairing this with a local sauna, or cafe to warm up is an excellent idea for a day with friends.

Arctic Heat Retreat provides this experience in a clean and indoor environment while being nestled in the beautiful town of Fort Langley. We have found many people start their day trip to Fort Langley at our facility, and then stop by a cafe or brewery afterwards!


The Showers At Arctic Heat Retreat

As for more practical physical benefits, cold plunging helps reduce inflammation, and improves our metabolism and immunity. -

We have had multiple clients with lingering pains come in and report that their aches and pains were significantly reduced post-session. It has been generally found that acute, short bouts i.e. 3-6 minutes of cold exposure per day help improve our body's immunity and prevent us from getting sick.

Lastly, because cold exposure forces our body to put our metabolism into overdrive for us to heat up, cold plunging can be a great method to lose weight and burn calories. An even deeper dive into the science shows that once we start cold plunging consistently, our white fat starts to shift towards brown fat. Brown fat helps us warm up, whereas white fat is purely for energy storage, so brown fat is viewed as healthier and more "metabolically flexible" compared to white fat!


My personal experience with cold plunging has been one in which, much like people need coffee in the morning, I need a plunge to get my day started. This is because cold exposure provides a boost in both dopamine (the feel-good hormone) and norepinephrine (improves mental clarity and attentiveness.) Better than coffee, cold exposure does not cause any sort of crash. and its mood-boosting effects are spread out over a few hours. Dealing with my particular lack of sleep issue, the cold exposure helped give me a boost to start the day on the right foot, and it also helped reduce my morning anxiety, which I can happily say I no longer experience. 


Overall, it is clear that a consistent sauna and cold plunge practice has had a tremendous effect on my health and wellness, and I have seen this experienced in others at Arctic Heat Retreat. My happiest moment as a business owner so far was seeing our 19 memberships sell out less than three days after we released them, as these people clearly want to incorporate consistent heat and cold exposure into their lives.


How did the idea for Arctic Heat Retreat come up?  How long as it been open?


The idea for Arctic Heat Retreat came up years ago, but I never pulled the trigger due to the risks associated with starting a small business. My first-hand experience in seeing the healing potential of this practice is what got me to take legitimate actions such as reaching out to business owners, creating a business plan, raising money through investors, and entering a lease once I found an ideal location.

Although I never felt "ready" in many stages of starting this business, I simply went day by day and put out fire after fire as they arose. At times, there were lengthy delays and roadblocks, but the key was to remain optimistic, open-minded, and willing to reach out to others for their opinions and advice.


We entered our lease in August 2023, and it took all the way until May 2024 to have people sauna and cold plunge at the facility. Our grand opening will be on July 1st, 2024.


I am the sole owner of Arctic Heat Retreat and was fortunate enough to lean on people in my social circles who were able to provide guidance and advice throughout my journey of starting my first business. I learned throughout business start-up that you need to be gritty and the "squeaky wheel" who moves things along.

Unfortunately, there are times when situations are completely out of your hands, and you must sit back and let time work its magic. I have consistently maintained working at my previous employer while starting this business. This helped me with avoiding dilution of my portion of share ownership, while also keeping me distracted from how long it truly was taking to get this business started. Ironically, maintaining my heat and cold exposure practice helped keep me balanced, and consistently proved to me why I was sticking out this endeavor til the end.


What advice can you give if someone reading this for the first time who has never tried cold plunge / sauna therapy before


For someone starting Hot and Cold Cycling, there are no worries about starting easy. It is much better to ease into something and get used to it before exposing your body to something more extreme. For our facility, something like a 10-15 minute sauna, followed by a quick 10-second dip in the tub is excellent. At Arctic Heat Retreat, we provide the option to add more ice, or simply leave it at the initial 12-13 degrees Celcius. This way we don't scare anyone off too much for their first session. From your initial times, you will want to gradually increase how long you stay in both the sauna and cold tub. I would recommend working your way up to a sauna length of over 20 minutes and increasing your cold plunge time to 2-3 minutes per plunge.


What the best way to use your cold plunge and sauna?


The best way to use our facility is to start with the sauna. My explanation here is that when you enter our facility, you have a normal body temperature. It is better to go from baseline temperature, up to peak temperature, and then have the sudden drop into the plunge. This will provide a much larger stimulus on your body versus plunging first and then slowly warming back up in the sauna. Remember, getting uncomfortable is key for the most benefits.


Nick on left, who works at Arctic Heat Retreat and the owner Wyatt on the right.

"Remember, getting uncomfortable is key for the most benefits."

In our sauna, using the Löyly properly is quite important. For beginners, two or three scoops of water every so often provides a nice temperature within the sauna. For people who like it a bit hotter, drizzling (not dumping) six scoops of water onto the sauna rocks and into the sauna bowl every five minutes or so will keep you quite toasty, especially if you are staying in the sauna for over 20 minutes!


After your sauna, I recommend immersing most of your body, up to your chest or neck in the cold plunge water. If you are uncomfortable with this, it is fine to immerse yourself up to your belly to start. It is also important to incorporate controlled breathing in the cold tub. Breathing in through your nose, and breathing out slowly through the mouth is a great breathing method for plunging.


There are two different modalities of plunging that I find people enjoy. 


1. Challenging Plunge. This would be plunging at a temperature that is quite uncomfortable for you, and you can only stay in for 2-3 minutes. An extra tip here is to move your body every 30 seconds to "reset" the temperature around your body.


2. "Relaxing" Plunge. While the water should be cold, this type of plunge is longer i.e. 5-10 minutes, and is more so for decompression and meditation. This type of plunge should have little to no ice, but the tub will still be quite cold from our faucet. Breathwork is an excellent practice with this temperature of plunge. Longer cold tub sessions would also have a greater effect on metabolism, especially if you end your session with a cold tub and let your body heat up naturally!


Because you get 65 minutes at our facility, you get to cycle between the hot and cold temperatures 2-4 times, leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated by the end of your session!


Bonus question – what’s something I didn’t know enough about you or your new business to ask you above? 


When I was 14 I was diagnosed with Type One diabetes. I eventually deviated from the path that my health team advised me, switching to a low-carbohydrate diet while vastly improving my blood sugar levels. This got me interested in optimizing my health and wellness which also led to my discovery of the health benefits of heat and cold exposure.


What is the easiest way to book an appointment?  What type of bookings are there?


The easiest and only way to book an appointment is through our website On our website, you will see the available times. Select your time and how many people (1-3) you will be coming with. Lastly, pay for your appointment to finish booking. Our pricing is $32 per person, while a private session for all three slots is $96. The session is 65 minutes in length.


Groups of 1 or 2 people can also book the remaining spot(s) during their session to ensure they have a private appointment.


Any special promos you want to announce?


  •'s readers can get 25% off ($8 off per drop-in) with the following code applied at checkout: 25% discount code: INSPIRED


That's it for another episode of

Until next time everyone, stay inspired.

-Goran Yerkovich



In the fall of 2017 I founded as my way of contributing back to the world.  Never before has so much powerful, educational, informative life changing knowledge been available to us online. The Inspired is a BEST oF compilation of those sources, with a specific goal in mind...


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