Top 11 Benefits of Cold Plunging
Ice bath pools have been around for thousands of years, but cold plunging has recently gained worldwide recognition.
Well, first things first!
Ice bathing, cold water therapy, cryotherapy, cold water immersion, and cold plunge are the same.
What is a cold plunge?
Cold plunging is a therapy in which one takes a plunge in the water that is around 15°C (59°F) for some minutes (like 2 to 8 minutes) to help treat multiple ailments and promote better health.
As the world is embracing cold bath pools due to a myriad of health benefits, you might be thinking about what a cold plunge does for your body.
There are numerous researches that talk about the cold plunge benefits, and we will discuss them in this post.
Here’s the rundown of the top 11 advantages of ice plunging.
- Burns fat
Cold water immersion can increase the resting metabolic rate, which has an incredible impact on the type of fat we produce. That said, cold plunging activates the adipose tissues called brown fat, which helps increase calorie expenditure.
As a result, this therapy may clear blood glucose and aid weight loss efforts. Combined with a balanced diet and regular workouts, cold water exposure can be an excellent tool for weight loss.
- Decreases muscle soreness
Studies show that cold water immersion can reduce muscle soreness after intensive workouts. In a trial, 15 participants immersed themselves in cold water (10 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes after high-intensity training.
It was concluded that this therapy can help reduce soreness as cold water has regenerative properties that can relax and repair tender muscles.
- Activates the nervous system
Soaking in cold water stimulates the vagus nerve, which is an integral part of the parasympathetic nervous system. This nerve is the body’s communication highway, and cold immersion acts as a dose to it.
As a result, cryotherapy can lend a hand in maintaining functions like activating the metabolism, slowing the heart rate, and relaxing the body.
- Improves immune response
Studies suggest that a cold bath can enhance the levels of immune system cells glutathione, which is an antioxidant that activates natural killer cells (these cells play a crucial role in innate defense mechanisms).
That said, cold therapy can boost the immune system and help fight infections and diseases.
- Increases the circulation
Soaking yourself in cold water leads the circulation system into overdrive. This results in forcing the blood to flow deeper at a faster rate to warm the core. Eventually, circulation to the vital organs increases. This whole process is very beneficial for health.
- Improves skin
As submerging in the ice bath may improve blood circulation, it can help reduce and tighten the skin’s pores. It may even help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines because cold water does not let pores open up and secret sebum/oil.
- Boosts the mood
According to a case study, a lady with severe depression for eight years stopped consuming antidepressant meds after swimming in cold water once a week as it helped lift her mood.
Another research study found that cold showers could have some positive effect on sufferers of depression because it boosts the flow of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, which makes one feel good.
- Increases white blood count
White blood cells play a crucial role in the body’s immune system. These cells produce antibodies to help fight infections and diseases.
Researchers at Britain’s Thrombosis Research Institute concluded that metabolic rate speeds up when cold water hits the body. This in return, makes our body release more white blood cells. It happens because our body tries to warm itself when exposed to cold water.
- Improves lung health
We all have experienced the feeling of breathlessness when cold water hits the body. At that very moment, holding breath while plunging and releasing it slowly boosts lung function. Studies suggest that immersing oneself in cold water can incredibly improve lung health.
- Boosts focus and energy levels
One of the cold exposure benefits is that it can help regulate energy and focus. When one cold plunges, the process of hormone secretion changes for a short period. This increases the secretion of norepinephrine, which is one of the hormones linked with controlling energy and attention. So, ultimately it enhances concentration and makes one more energetic.
- Improves the lymphatic system
Our lymphatic system helps the body cleanse itself. It is a network of vessels that begins to contract when the body is exposed to cold water.
As a result, the lymph system pumps lymph fluids that kick the waste out of the area. That said, plunging into frigid water can help improve the functioning of the lymphatic system.
Can cold plunging be harmful?
No doubt that there are many cold water immersion benefits. However, it is vital to know that submerging in cold water can lead to a few risks. It can cause arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) when one tries to put the face into the icy water.
Further, it can cause a heart attack during the first minute. This is because dipping in the cold water activates cold receptors, which lie underneath the skin, and it starts a process called cold shock. This increases the risk of high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and eventually results in improper breathing patterns. That gasp can be dangerous when the head is underwater.
There could be a solution: Firstly, the key thing is that you should not put the face underwater when submerging in the ice water. And you can consider an inflatable ice bath or Nordic Wave Viking (pictured below) for cold plunging as you would be able to keep your head above the water and reap the benefits of a cold water bath.
Is cold plunging good for you?
Well, anyone can try cold water therapy. However, it is always better to check with your doctor first prior to taking a cold plunge if you have a preexisting cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
By now you already know the range of cold plunge benefits one can get! There is no denying that it may seem a daunting task at first. But once you try it, you will surely like it. Always remember, ice bathing can help you recover, rejuvenate and optimize your overall wellbeing.
Are you ready to take the plunge? Try cold water therapy at home by counting on a high-quality Nordic Wave Viking Cold Plunge that will fit right in the limited space. At The Sauna Solution, we have a series of premium ice baths at affordable prices. Feel free to browse our website or check out Nordic Wave's website.
Having trouble breathing during cold plunging? Master your breathwork with Peak Flow Community Supported Breathwork!