Cold plunge therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is the practice of immersing the body in extremely cold water or air, typically for a short period of time. It has become increasingly popular as a means of improving physical and mental health, reducing inflammation and speeding up recovery, especially among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. While the concept of cold plunging may seem daunting, its benefits are undeniable and backed by a growing body of research.
The Physical Benefits of cold Plunge Therapy
Reduces inflammation: Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or illness, but chronic inflammation can lead to a host of health problems, including arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Cold plunge therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to affected areas.
Increases Metabolism: Cold water immersion has been found to increase metabolic rate, helping the body burn more calories even when at rest. This is due to the body’s response due to the cold, which causes it to work harder to maintain its core temperature.
Boosts Immunity: Cold plunge therapy has been shown to improve the body’s immunity by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which help fight off illness and disease. It has also been found to reduce stress and improve sleep, which in t urn can help boost immunity.
Speeds up Recovery: Cold plunge therapy has been shown to help reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time after a workout. It is believed that the cold water helps to reduce the lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which can cause pain and stiffness.
The Mental Benefits of Cold Plunge Therapy
Reduce Stress: Cold plunge therapy has been found to reduce stress and anxiety by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It has also been found to improve mood and overall, well ‘being.
Improves focus and Concentration: Cold plunge therapy has been shown to improve focus and concentration by reducing distraction and increasing the body’s ability to cope with stress. This can be especially beneficial for athletes and those who need to stay focused and alert for extended periods of time.
Enhances Mood: Cold plunge therapy has been found to improve mood and overall well-being by increasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. This can help to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and improve overall mood.
Cold plunge therapy has become increasingly popular as a means of improving physical and mental health, reducing inflammation, and speeding up the recovery. Its benefits are undeniable and backed by a growing body of research, making it an attractive option for those looking to boost their health and wellness. It is important to note, however, that cold plunge therapy should not be attempted by everyone, particularly those with certain medical conditions or those who are pregnant. Before starting a cold plunge therapy program, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare profession to determine if it is appropriate for you.
Lee, D.H., Kim, J.H., Kim Y.S., Kim, K.H., & Lee, J.Y. (2012). The effects of whole-body cryotherapy on depression, anxiety and mood. Journal of Affective Disorders, 136(1-2), e31-e35.
Rhee, J.H, Kim, Y.s, & Lee, J.Y. (2013). The effects of whole body cryotherapy on anxiety, depression, and quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, 72(11