Benefits of Cold Plunges 🛀✨
WHAT IS A COLD PLUNGE?
Taking a cold plunge means submerging yourself quickly in a body of cold water - usually from 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be done in your own bathtub or shower at home, or many saunas & gyms now offer cold plunges. Athletes are known to take cold plunges after a hard workout, and Japanese and Russian cultures endorse this treatment for healing and longevity. Famous advocates of cold plunges include life coach & best-selling author Tony Robbins, professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, and top marathon runner Paula Radcliffe. During a cold plunge, the the blood vessels in your skin contract thus diverting your blood flow inwards, sending an increased supply of blood to your inner organs.
Perhaps the most well-known benefit of cold plunging is to reduce inflammation. Have you ever had sore, stiff muscles after a day of strenous physical activity? This is due to lactic acid build-up post-workout. Cold tub plunging helps reduce the level of acid in your muscles which means less swelling, less pain and a faster recovery. Studies have shown that cold water immersion does this by lowering the temperature of damaged tissue and constricting the blood vessels. This reduces the swelling and inflammation, while numbing nerve endings for immediate pain relief. This speeds injury recovery as well.
BOOST METABOLISM, CIRCULATION & THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Cold water immersion has been shown to increase metabolic rates because it causes shivering, thus activating the immune system. Studies have shown that as little as 7 minutes of immersion in cold water increases up white blood cell count as well as concentration of helper T cells. Cold water shocks the system and kicks the cardiovascular system into high gear. Therefore, it ramps up the metabolism (when your body is exposed to cold, it needs more heat to warm you - to warm you, it has to burn more energy!) while improving circulation. This increases energy & well-being while building the immune system.
SUPPORT THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that move waste, bacteria and microbes from your cells - basically, it cleans your body. However, unlike the blood which is pumped constantly by the heart, your lymph system doesn’t have a central pump but instead depends on muscle contractions for its pump power.So, for those who don’t exercise often, the lymphatic system may become slow or inefficient, resulting in accumulation of toxins & fluids in certain parts of the body. This can result in colds, joint pain and disease. However, taking a cold plunge causes your lymph vessels to contract, which forces your lymphatic system to pump fluids throughout your body. Fluid is flushed, triggering the immune system’s white blood cells to attack and destroy any unwanted waste.
OTHER BENEFITS OF COLD PLUNGES
Tony Robbins' version of a cold plunge is actually rooted in a Finnish tradition; he completes his morning routine with five minutes in an extra-hot sauna before jumping into a cold plunge pool. As uncomfortable as that sounds, his trainer says that this not only increases his energy and heart health while waking him up, but that it also trains the mind not to hesitate and to act!
Some other benefits of cold plunges are said to be increased health of skin and hair, and decrease of seasonal anxiety and depression. A 2007 showed that that cold water triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, which naturally make you feel happy. Other research shows that regular cold water swimming resulted in a group of swimmers feeling more energetic, active and spritely than the control group. So, the next time you’re feeling down, try immersing yourself in cold water!
Don’t just dive in into a cold plunge or cold shower without first consulting your physician; individuals suffering from heart or circulation conditions can put themselves at risk for hypothermia or worse. Also, due to the intense diversion of blood to the inner organs resulting from a cold punge, individuals with high blood pressure or that are pregnant should take precautions before cold plunging.
We hope you enjoyed learning more about the health benefits of cold plunges!