In a world filled with hustle and bustle, our bodies and minds sometimes yearn for respite. And with so many wellness practices available, one ancient remedy that appeals to many health enthusiasts is cold plunge therapy.
It sounds daunting, but submerging your body into ice-cold water does have its potential health benefits. With your towel in hand, join us as we take you through the mysteries of cold plunge therapy and its transformative effects on your body and mind.
What is Cold Plunge Therapy?
Yes, you guessed it right. Cold plunge therapy is dipping yourself into ice-cold water that sends shivers down your spine and awakens every part of your cell. It is a wellness practice that has been used for ages, sourcing its origin from the Romans and Greeks.
The water used in cold plunge therapy is normally kept between 50 to 59°F (10 to 15°C). The recommended duration spent in the water is between 1 to 5 minutes. You can stay longer if the water is warmer, but it depends entirely on your physical response.
You can practice cold plunges in natural cold water bodies like rivers and lakes, or better yet, use specially designed cold plunge pools or ice baths. These tubs are often found in recovery centers, luxury spas, and fitness centers.
It’s totally fine to cold plunge daily, but you must introduce your body slowly into it. You can start with three days a week for the first few weeks, then slowly increase the days. Take note of how your body reacts throughout.
Reading through this, this therapy technique may not sound exhilarating, but its benefits are remarkable. That’s what we cover next.
Benefits of Cold Plunge Therapy
Here’s what it does to your body and mind during cold plunge therapy.
As you dip yourself into the water, a process known as vasoconstriction occurs. This difficult-to-pronounce word is where the blood vessels narrow their walls, slowing blood flow.
While it mainly occurs due to diseases, creating it artificially can help improve blood circulation by directing the flow to vital organs.
The result is that each organ and tissue receives oxygen and nutrients more efficiently, promoting cardiovascular health.
Immersing yourself in cold water shocks the nervous system and stimulates it. The result is improved energy levels, mental clarity, and increased alertness. When you are fatigued and need to give your body a reboot, a cold plunge may not be the worst idea.
Boosts Immune System
Immersing yourself in cold water has been shown to activate the immune system by boosting the production of white blood cells. This enhances the immune function and makes you resilient to common infections and illnesses.
Cold plunging is known for its anti-inflammatory effect. The cold effect helps reduce inflammation and swelling in muscles and joints. It can be an excellent relief for conditions such as muscle soreness and arthritis.
Fast Muscle Repair and Recovery
There’s a reason why athletes and fitness enthusiasts include cold plunge therapy in their post-workout recovery. The cold temperature helps in muscle repair and speeds up the recovery process. It also helps to reduce muscle soreness.
When life makes little sense, and you are stressed, anxious, and depressed, cold plunge therapy may be the savior you didn’t know you needed.
The therapy helps release endorphins, which are the body’s natural hormones that are responsible for uplighting your moods and providing you with a sense of well-being.
Want to sleep like a baby at night? Consider dipping yourself in extremely cold water. The therapy will help regulate your body’s temperature. This way, it rejuvenates and revitalizes you and allows you to get a more restful sleep.
Cold Plunge Isn’t For Everyone
Unfortunately, not everyone can cold plunge – or they need to be extra cautious. These include:
- Pregnant women
- People with hypertension
- People with circulatory problems, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- People with a pacemaker.
- Those whose body temperature is low at baseline.
How to Cold Plunge Correctly
If you plan on reaping the full benefits of cold plunge therapy, you must do it correctly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through. Of course, the steps may differ slightly, but this is a general guide.
- The first step is to look for a suitable location for your cold plunge pool, ice bath, or natural water body. The water temperature must be right, between 50 to 59°F (10 to 15°C). Begin with a temperature that’s manageable and comfortable for you.
- Aside from location, prepare yourself mentally for the cold plunge. Breathe in, breathe out, and wait for the adventure awaiting you.
- For the weak-hearted, expose your body to the water slowly and gradually. Dip your feet or hands into the water first to allow your body to get used to the temperature.
- Only immerse your body fully when you are ready. Give your body time to adjust to the cold sensation. Maintain your breathing to help relax your body and mind.
- The recommended time for a cold plunge is between 2 to 5 minutes. But this is entirely dependent on your experience and comfort levels. Start low and increase the time gradually as your body adapts to the cold temperature.
- Remain active while in the water. Perform gentle exercises and move around to maintain warmth and blood flow. You can walk, stretch or perform gentle swimming movements.
- While in water, pay close attention to your body. Your body will send signals on how it reacts to the cold plunge. If you start feeling lightheaded, excessively uncomfortable, or experience adverse reactions, your body tells you to exit and warm up.
- Exit the water and warm up immediately. Wrap yourself in a robe or warm towel and let your body warm naturally. You can move around or perform light physical activities to help stimulate blood flow and eventually restore warmth to your body.
That’s it, a 1-to-5-minute therapy guide with many physical and mental benefits. Incorporate regular sessions into your routine for maximum benefits. Begin with a frequency that suits you best and increase it gradually with experience.
Don’t forget to hydrate before and after each session to help your body’s recovery.
Cold Plunge Therapy Products
If you’re not privileged to have a natural water body near you or aren’t open to its idea, you should consider getting a cold plunge therapy product. The Ice Barrel Bathtub is an excellent example.
This is a compact tub, barrel-shaped, that is designed specifically to hold cold water thanks to its durable construction. Its high-quality plastic or wood features insulation properties to help maintain the water’s temperature. Premium models come with added features such as seats and benches for added comfort during sessions.
There are a few reasons why you need to have your own dedicated space and cold therapy product.
- It’s convenient and easily accessible. You can use it any time, regardless of location and weather conditions. It saves you the hassle of traveling far just to find a suitable source. Why do that when you can enjoy it from the comfort of your home?
- With ice barrel bathtubs, you can customize them to your liking. You can change the frequency, duration, and temperature of the plunges according to your specific health goals and preferences. It gives you the power to adjust everything to tailor the experience.
- Don’t forget about hygiene. That’s something you’re not assured of with public amenities. But if you own your cold plunge, you can maintain and clean it regularly and uphold the optimal hygiene standards to minimize contamination.
- A dedicated space for cold plunge therapy gives you the privacy and tranquility setting to relax. It creates a serene environment, indoors or outdoors, to fully enjoy the experience.
Possible Risks of Ice Baths – Safety Tips
While ice baths and cold plunge therapy are linked to their benefits, you must also be aware of their potential risks. It is not suitable for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions such as cardiovascular problems.
Here are a few safety tips to remember:
- Consult with your health professional before adopting the practice. They will check for any underlying health conditions that may prove cumbersome.
- Monitor and regulate the water temperature. Cold is the goal, but extremes can prove dangerous. Stick to the recommended temperatures.
- It’s a good idea to have someone nearby during sessions. This will prove helpful if you experience dizziness or have limited mobility.
- Immersing your body in cold water can cause an increase in blood temperature. It’s, therefore, essential to hydrate before and after sessions to support your health.
Do you dare to dive and chill in the cold world of cold plunge therapy? Whether you embrace nature's natural water bodies or a dedicated ice barrel bathtub, this ancient therapy is full of goodies.
Remember to follow our guide on how to cold plunge properly while taking all the necessary precautions. Grab yourself a Cold Plunge Tub from the Mobility Paradise Store, and feel free to contact us with questions or if you need guidance.