THE BENEFITS OF COLD WATER THERAPY
To fully cover the benefits of cold plunges, ice baths and cold water immersion therapy, it's essential to highlight their impact on inflammation. Rather than relying on pain relief medication, consider a cold plunge. Similar to the way an ice pack can reduce swelling and inflammation on an injured muscle, submerging the body in cold water can have a comparable effect on the whole body. Athletes, in particular, find cold water therapy useful for recovering after intense workouts. Researchers in Hong Kong performed a study to examine the impact of cold water exposure on muscle oxygenation. It showed, cold water immersion caused the blood vessels to constrict, which resulted in less blood supply to the affected area, reducing inflammation and pain for up to one day after the workout. Another study found that cold water immersion helped reduce aches and muscle pains in athletes during a four day soccer tournament. Moreover, cold immersion therapy can alleviate pain in people with underlying conditions like fibromyalgia and rheumatism, as shown in the same study. In conclusion, cold immersion therapy helps treat inflammation and pain while avoiding the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers.
Decrease Recovery Time after Injury or Surgery
For those who enjoy pushing their physical limits, injuries and surgeries can be a significant setback. However, did you know that taking a dip in a cold plunge can help you recover faster? Research has demonstrated that subjecting your body to cold temperatures can help reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which can result in a quicker recovery period following an injury or surgery. Consider the following: When you sprain your ankle, your body naturally increases blood flow to the affected area to facilitate healing. Cold plunging can be likened to providing your body with an extra boost to that natural healing process.
Enhance Physical Performance
Cold plunge therapy is known to have significant benefits for athletes, including improving physical performance in sports. Cold water immersion has been shown to help reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, which can improve muscle recovery and lead to better performance in subsequent training or competitions. Cold water immersion can also help reduce muscle damage and oxidative stress, which can lead to faster muscle recovery. Moreover, studies have found that cold immersion can enhance the ability to perform high intensity exercises.
Cold plunge can improve the blood flow to the muscles, which can improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, enhancing muscular endurance and power output. Cold plunge therapy has also been shown to improve cardiovascular function and increase the levels of certain hormones like norepinephrine, which can help to boost energy levels and improve physical performance.
Overall, there is evidence to suggest that cold plunge therapy can boost physical performance in sports by improving muscle recovery, reducing inflammation and muscle soreness, enhancing cardiovascular function, and increasing energy levels.
Improve Blood Flow & Liver Function
The liver, often overlooked but essential to our well-being, performs critical functions such as filtering toxins, producing bile, and regulating hormones. It is, therefore, crucial that we take good care of it, and one way to do so is through ice baths and cold plunges. Studies have shown that exposure to cold temperatures can enhance liver function and shield it from damage. This is because the cold water promotes blood flow to the liver, which, in turn, stimulates the production of essential enzymes for liver function. Furthermore, the improved blood flow aids in flushing out toxins and waste products from the liver, allowing it to operate more effectively. Ice baths and cold plunges have also been found to protect the liver from oxidative stress, a leading cause of liver damage. If you want to give your liver the care it deserves, consider incorporating cold plunges into your routine. It's no wonder that this is among the top benefits of cold plunging.
Stimulate The Lymphatic System
Cold water immersion therapy has significant effects on the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels in the body responsible for self-cleansing. This system clears cellular waste and microbes to enhance the body's ability to fight and resist diseases. The lymphatic system comprises lymph nodes, lymph vessels, lymphatic fluid, bone marrow, and the spleen. Although it is separate from the blood vessels, the lymphatic system moves throughout the body in a similar way. Muscle contraction is necessary to propel the lymph fluid through the vessels. When the lymphatic system becomes stagnant or sluggish, it can lead to a buildup of fluids and toxins, resulting in colds, joint pain, or even disease.
A study by the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, suggests that cold exposure has a positive impact on lymphatic circulation. During this study, bags of cold water were applied to participants' ankles, and researchers found that cold water measured at 34°F (1°C) significantly increased lymph flow. Additionally, the application of pressure to cold had an even greater effect. The reason for this is that cold water causes lymph vessels to contract, which moves lymph fluid through the system, flushing out waste and stimulating the immune system. Therefore, cold water improves the lymphatic system and helps to achieve a healthy body, making it one of the top benefits of cold therapy.
Boost The Immune System
Given all the benefits we've learned about cold therapy so far, it's no surprise that cold plunges can also boost the immune system and prevent common diseases and fevers. A study performed in the Netherlands showed that people who take cold showers call in sick for work or school 29% less than their peers. Cold exposure can also help the body fight infections by producing a stronger anti-inflammatory response, which is crucial to reducing inflammation throughout the body.
A study conducted in the Netherlands revealed that meditation, cold immersion, cold plunge, ice baths and breathwork techniques could activate the immune system to combat infections. The study participants were deliberately infected with bacteria to observe their response. The group that practiced the aforementioned techniques reported experiencing fewer symptoms compared to the group that did not. Furthermore, the group that practiced the techniques generated a lower level of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a higher level of anti-inflammatory chemicals to fight off the bacterial infection. Another study found that taking a cold shower led to higher white blood cell counts, which help fight infections, than taking a warm shower. Some experts suggest that colder temperatures increase the circulation of white blood cells in the body, leading to a better antibody and T-cell response. These studies highlight the positive impact of hydrotherapy, particularly cold water exposure, on the immune system, and the benefits of ice baths are numerous.
Alkalinity of The Blood
One of the lesser-known benefits of cold showers, ice baths, and cold immersion is their ability to help alkalize the blood. While we are born with a blood pH level of 7.4, as we age, our blood tends to become more acidic due to various reasons, including diet and environmental factors. This acidity can lead to health issues and hinder the transportation of energy and oxygen to the cells. On the other hand, a higher blood pH can help maintain optimal oxygen levels in the blood vessels, arteries, and cells, thereby preventing degeneration and aging. Similar to consuming an alkaline diet, alkalinizing the blood through cold exposure can provide numerous health benefits.