Cold water immersion, also known as cold water therapy or cold water immersion therapy, is a practice that involves immersing the body in cold water for short periods of time. This can be done in a variety of ways, including taking a cold shower, swimming in a cold lake or ocean, or using a cold bath or ice bath.
There are numerous potential benefits to cold water immersion, both physical and mental. Here are a few of the most well-known:
Reduces inflammation: Cold water immersion can help reduce inflammation in the body. This is because cold water constricts blood vessels, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the muscles and joints.
Increases circulation: Despite constricting blood vessels, cold water immersion can also increase circulation. When the body is immersed in cold water, the blood vessels in the skin constrict, forcing blood to circulate more efficiently throughout the body. This can help improve overall circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
Boosts the immune system: Cold water immersion may also help boost the immune system. One study found that cold water immersion increased the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections and diseases.
Increases mental clarity: Cold water immersion has also been shown to have a positive effect on mental clarity and alertness. This is likely due to the body's natural response to cold water, which causes an increase in adrenaline and other stress hormones.
Enhances recovery: Cold water immersion can also help speed up recovery after exercise. The cold water helps reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, allowing for a quicker recovery.
It's important to note that cold water immersion is not for everyone, and it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new therapy or exercise regimen. Additionally, it's important to take proper precautions when immersing the body in cold water, such as gradually acclimating to the cold temperature and wearing appropriate clothing to protect against hypothermia.
Overall, cold water immersion can offer numerous physical and mental benefits, making it a valuable tool for anyone looking to improve their health and well-being.
If you want to learn more about the subject, check out this episode on The Huberman Lab Podcast, which dives much deeper.
And if you want to warm up after your plunge, dive into our Lavender Matcha. Designed to give you balanced and sustained energy throughout your day.
- Masuda, A., Kamei, T., & Kjellberg, F. (2010). The effects of hydrotherapy on immune function. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, 15(1), 8-14.
- Morris, J., Macleod, J., & Allan, G. (2014). Cold water immersion and recovery from exercise: a review. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 17(3), 213-219.