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Therapeutic Chill: Navigating The Benefits And Dangers Of Cold Water Plunges



Therapeutic Chill Navigating The Benefits And Dangers Of Cold Water Plunges

There was a time when a cold plunge bath was used to punish insane people. While studies suggest the tradition of cold plunging originated in ancient Rome, its health benefits and risks are worth considering.

Moreover, it’s now a practice common among celebrities and social media influencers for treating depression, losing weight, and boosting immunity.  With over 500 million views on TikTok, the viral #coldplunge trend shows people submerging themselves in icy water. 

What Is A Cold Water Plunge

A cold plunge occurs when someone immerses their body in cold water at 59 degrees Fahrenheit or less for an extended period.

What Is A Cold Water Plunge

It helps to improve the health of the body and mind. Several methods of a cold plunge include jumping into the ocean, having an ice bath, a cold shower, or a professional circulating cold tub (available in luxury spas, fitness centers, and recovery centers). While the benefits vary based on the plunge style adopted—all exposure is beneficial to some extent.

Benefits Of Cold Water Plunge

The following are the benefits of considering a cold water plunge:

1. Boost of Energy

We all have our technique for waking up: double shots of espresso, a quick workout, etc. If you want an energizing morning or an afternoon boost, cold plunging might come in handy. Most resort to cold plunging when seeking a new way to enhance their daily energy!

2. Active Recovery For Performance

Cold plunge helps the mental and chemical aspects of your body. Moreover, Sports medicine has adopted cold water therapy for years for the active recovery of the muscles.

3. Improves The Immune System

Submerging yourself in cold water stimulates leukocytes, the white blood cells that combat illnesses. Furthermore, it contracts the lymphatic system, enabling fluid through the lymph nodes to detox the body and boost your immune system. Research has shown to reduce upper respiratory tract infections significantly.

4. It Relieves Pain 

Studies show a 5x boost in norepinephrine obtained from regular ice baths. This neurotransmitter can significantly lessen inflammation and relieve chronic pain.

5. It Reduces Stress 

Cold water therapy is an effective supplemental treatment for stress relief by reducing the stress hormone cortisol. Research shows that consistent cold showers and ice baths helped lessen anxiety and boost the mood of participants.

6. It Improves Sleep

During cold plunging, your body stimulates the autonomic nervous system, a network of vessels and nerves divided into two components that control your stress response. When you start managing your stress response, you’ll realize you can control your relaxation and sleep.

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Risks Of Cold Water Plunge

There are also risks associated with cold plunging, and they include the following:

  • Cold Shock: Sudden cold water immersion in temperatures lower than 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit can make the body experience a “shock,” resulting in involuntary gaspings, rapid breathing, heart rates, blood pressure spikes, and impaired cognitive function, like clouded thinking and decision-making.
  • Physical Incapacitation: People can also experience loss of muscular control, worsening the longer they immerse in cold water and potentially resulting in drowning. They will feel weak or exhausted and cannot control their fingers, hands, arms, or legs.
  • Hypothermia: After one to three minutes of immersion in water with temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit, body temperature starts declining, increasing the risk of hypothermia, which can occur at a core body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Although a cold plunge, which involves submerging your body in cold water (59 degrees Fahrenheit or less) for an extended period, has its benefits, such as elevated energy, boosted muscle recovery, immune support, etc., one shouldn’t disregard its risks such as cold shock, drowning, and hypothermia. Therefore, one should be cautious when practicing it.

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Cameron Reedwood is a seasoned and dedicated news reporter and writer known for his passion for investigative journalism and commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking stories to the public. With over two decades of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted voice in the world of journalism.

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