What are the benefits of cold plunge therapy? Cold plunge therapy typically involves subjecting oneself to near-freezing water for a few minutes to promote various health benefits. Although it may sound daunting, this technique is backed by scientific evidence and is used by athletes, celebrities, and wellness enthusiasts worldwide.
So, what is cold plunge therapy, and why is it gaining traction? Let’s delve deeper. Also, watch this video of my cold plunge.
What is Cold Plunge Therapy?
Cold plunge therapy is a form of hydrotherapy that entails immersing oneself in cold water (often 59°F or below) for a brief period. This method has roots in ancient Chinese, Finnish, and Roman cultures, where cold baths were considered therapeutic.
The primary mechanism behind cold plunge therapy is the activation of the body’s natural defense mechanisms, such as the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in a range of physiological and psychological benefits.
Benefits of Cold Plunge Therapy
- Reduces Inflammation: Cold plunge therapy reduces inflammation by constricting blood vessels, which decreases blood flow to inflamed areas, reducing swelling. This helps reduce pain.
- Promotes Weight Loss: When our body is exposed to cold, it has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature. This results in an increase in energy to burn calories in the process. Exposure to cold creates more brown fat (versus white unwanted fat) in our body which makes us burn more calories.
- Enhances Muscle Recovery: Cold therapy can help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation while enhancing muscle recovery. It is also used to boost performance, alleviate chronic pain, and build physical resilience.
- Boost immune system: It is said that cold plunge therapy can boost the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells, which help fight off infections.
- Reduce Depression and Anxiety: Cold plunge therapy can have positive effects on mood, increasing endorphins and serotonin production while reducing cortisol levels. It also creates mental resilience.
- Improved Circulation: Cold plunge therapy increases blood flow and oxygen delivery in the body, promoting overall health and vitality.
How to Get Started with Cold Plunge Therapy
If you’re curious about cold plunge therapy, here are a few tips for getting started:
- Start Slowly: Begin with a cold shower or ice pack and gradually progress to colder temperatures.
- Seek Medical Advice: If you have any cardiovascular issues, consult your doctor before attempting cold plunge therapy.
- Focus on Breathing: It’s essential to control your breathing when immersing in cold water, taking deep, slow breaths to reduce panic and increase relaxation.
- Don’t Overdo It: Never stay in the cold for more than a few minutes (1 – 10 minutes), and avoid plunging into cold water if you’re feeling unwell.
The benefits of cold plunge therapy include both the mind and body, from reducing inflammation to improving overall health and vitality. The body is amazing at healing itself. While it may initially seem intimidating, starting with small steps and seeking medical advice can allow you to experience the benefits without risking your health. By incorporating cold plunge therapy into your daily routine, you may experience enhanced wellness, clarity and rejuvenation. Also, try hot, cold contrast therapy which is why I love going back and forth into my hot tub.
Support is Key to Success
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~ Samantha Hua, Nutrition Coach, Holistic Health Coach & Weight Loss Coach