If you’ve ever watched a sports movie, you’ve probably seen a fatigued athlete plunk themselves down into a tub of ice cubes. Would you ever do it yourself? Before you assume that taking the cold plunge is only for pro athletes, consider this. Cold therapy has been around for centuries; Hippocrates even used cold water in the treatment of serious illnesses. Fast forward to today and cold therapy has been associated with boosting the immune system and decreasing depression and feelings of anxiety.
Cold Tub Therapy can be awesome for you physically.
Cold tub therapy is most commonly used as a post-workout recovery tool. You probably already know that your muscles feel sore after exercise because of lactic acid buildup. When you sit in an ice bath, the cold makes your blood vessels constrict, which drains the lactic acid out of them. Then, when you get out, your muscle tissue rewarming bring a flood of oxygenated blood, helping your muscles recover.
Cold tub therapy can:
- Improve your circulation
- Speed up muscle recovery
- Reduce inflammation
- Build the immune system (a 2016 study found that participants who took cold showers reported less sick days)
- Maintain healthy hair and skin (dermatologists recommend quick & cold showers as the best way to keep your skin healthy & reduce inflammation)
Not bad for a little cold water, right?
Cold Tub Therapy can make you feel great mentally.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Cold tub therapy can also give you a mental boost. Tons of people report that they leave the water feeling energized. What’s more, science is starting to link immersion in cold water and a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Mental benefits include:
- Increases energy (Subjects in a recent study compared cold showers to a boost of caffeine)
- Participants from the same study mentioned above, also reported improved self-perceived quality of life and work productivity
- Decreases seasonal anxiety and depression, cold water on the skin sends electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which can result in an anti-depressive effect
- Feelings of relaxation, a report by Dr. Rhonda Patrick showed that ice baths increased the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that works to calm you down, to the blood
Your Cold Tub Therapy options.
Ready to try it out? You’ve got a few options. Of course, you can DIY at home with a bag of ice and your own bathtub. But you might want to take your first cold tub therapy plunge with a professional. They can help you unlock more from the experience.
Most cold tub therapy locations will do deep breathing exercises with you before you get in the tub, slowing your heart rate and getting your body ready. This can help you tap into the mind-body connection of cold tub therapy so you reap both physical and mental benefits.
Who’s ready to take the plunge?