Cold plunges, also known as cold therapy or cold water immersion, have become very popular throughout the last couple of years. Taking a cold plunge involves immersing your body in a cold tub, stream, or body of water. The time in a cold plunge will vary depending on your tolerance and skill level, but typically last 1 minute to 10 minutes. But are cold plunges good for you? In this article, we will cover the basic benefits of cold water immersion and answer this question for you!
The practice of cold water therapy has been around for centuries and has been utilized by different cultures around the world. The ancient Greeks, for example, were known to take cold baths in natural springs to promote health and well-being. In Japan, the practice of "shinrin-yoku," or forest bathing, involves immersing oneself in the natural environment, including cold water, as a way to improve mental and physical health.
In more recent times, cold water immersion has been used by athletes as a recovery tool. Today, cold plunging has become a popular wellness trend, with many people incorporating it into their health and wellness routines. Whether you are an athlete looking to up your recovery game, or a biohacker seeking intense mental clarity. Cold plunging may be right for you! Let’s dive into some of the benefits.
When it comes to the benefits of a cold plunge there are many things to consider. Including the amount of time in a cold plunge, and the temperature of the water. For more information on time and temperature be sure to check out this ARTICLE.
Cold Plunge Benefits
Reduced Inflammation: Cold water therapy can reduce inflammation by restricting the blood vessels and reducing the blood flow. The reduction in inflammation is probably the most common reason why athletes cold plunge after intense workouts.
Increased Circulation: When you immerse your body in cold water, your blood vessels constrict. This causes blood to be pushed from the extremities to the core of the body, which can help to improve circulation. Improved circulation can help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, promote healing, and improve overall health. Increased circulation is another key factor to the mental clarity boost after your cold plunge session.
Enhanced Recovery: Cold plunges are often used by athletes as a recovery tool. The cold water helps to reduce inflammation and promote healing, which can help athletes to recover faster from injuries and intense workouts. Additionally, cold water immersion can help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, allowing athletes to perform better in their next workout or competition.
Improved Mental Health: Cold plunges have been shown to have a positive effect on mental health. When you immerse your body in cold water, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Additionally, cold water immersion can help to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve overall mental well-being.
Here are the top risks of using a cold plunge:
Although there are many health benefits to using a cold plunge. We also want to cover the risks involved. Cold water therapy is a great tool, but when it’s abused there may be consequences.
Hypothermia: This is one of the most common concerns among new cold plungers. Cold plunges can cause your body temperature to drop rapidly if you are not following strict time and temperature guidelines. The symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, and even loss of consciousness. If you are feeling any of these symptoms it is important to remove yourself from the cold water immediately.
Shock: The shock of the cold water can cause a rapid increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people with heart conditions. Be sure to check with your medical provider if you have heart disease or experience intense heart palpitations.
Drowning: Cold water immersion can cause muscles to cramp and can make it difficult to move. This can increase the risk of drowning, especially for inexperienced swimmers. Open water cold plunging is not recommended. If you do a cold plunge in a river or a lake it is always recommended to go with a partner and test the depth before entering the water.
Skin Damage: Prolonged exposure to cold water can cause skin damage, including frostbite and hypothermia. Although skin damage is possible, it is rare when following proper time and temperature guidelines.
Cold plunges can be a powerful tool for improving health and well-being, but they should be used with caution. If you are interested in trying cold water immersion, it is important to start slowly and listen to your body. If you have any medical conditions, it is important to talk to your doctor before trying cold plunges or ice baths. It is important to know and understand the risks associated with cold water immersion and speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. In conclusion, cold plunges and ice baths can be great tools to add to your wellness routine.
Happy Cold Plunging!