The Chilling Truth: How Cold Water Plunges Can Transform Your Health

December 28, 2023 9 mins to read
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There been allot of hype circulating around social media, about the cold water plunge benefits…as a holistic nutritionist in integrative nutrition in college I thought you’d benefit from my knowledge on the topic…So let’s bust myths and get to the ‘cold’ hard facts, because there is certainly growing scientific evidence of the surprising health benefits of cold water plunges!

The Immune System’s Icy Ally

One of the most well researched benefits of cold water plunges are their positive effect on boosting your immune system function and bolstering it against illness.

Bolstering Your Body’s Defenses | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Studies have shown that regular exposure to cold water can increase the production of white blood cells – cells which act as the body’s first line of defense against pathogens; foreign invaders that can make you sick. By enhancing your immune response, cold water plunges could be your secret weapon during flu season. I know it seems kind of counter intuitive…I mean freezing yourself to not get sick…but the science is there, and it works!

Stress Relief in a Cold Splash

The fast-paced way we live today is out of line with our evolutionary psychology and physiology! This means our minds and bodies respond to different everyday events as though they are life and death; a flight or fight response. Even if it’s simply a threatening comment on social media, or a boss complaining about your work…we are often exposed to large amounts of stress without really being aware of it, and of the negative impact if can have on our mental and physical health.

Calming the Waters in a Stressful World | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Enter the ‘blue mind’ effect of cold water – a phenomenon where exposure to cold water significantly reduces stress levels. The shock of the cold triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, boosting your mood to make you feel happier, relaxed and over-all healthier!

Get a Restful Sleep | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

When your body cools down, it signals to your brain that it’s time to rest…therefore cold water can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep.

The Athlete’s Recovery Secret

Athletes can especially benefit from the recovery boost! But even those of us who hit the gym a few times per week…we could all benefit from a cold shower or plunge after to recover faster and feel better!

Easing Muscles with a Cold Dip | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Many athletes swear by the power of cold water baths for recovery; it’s a common practice in the athletic world. And yes, science backs up the recovery benefits; cold exposure helps reduce muscle inflammation and soreness after intense workouts. It’s a natural, effective, and basically free way to speed up the body’s recovery process, allowing athletes (or fitness warriors) to train harder and more frequently.

A Natural High from the Depths

As a society hooked on social media we have become dopamine addicted, scrolling endlessly through our phones with what some research says is an addiction on par with substances like cocaine! It’s no wonder we now have an epidemic of dopamine dysregulation and trouble focusing or concentrating on work, especially for longer periods.

Endorphin Rush in Chilly Waters | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Jumping into cold water can be a jolt to the system, but it’s exactly this shock that triggers the release of endorphins – ‘feel good’ chemicals that act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers, providing a sense of euphoria. The world is experiencing an epidemic of depression and anxiety! This natural high can be a game-changer for those looking for a boost in their mood and mental health.

Circulation Gets a Cold Kick

Circulation is everything…they don’t call it ‘life blood’ for no reason! Blood circulates nutrients, oxygen, water and cells throughout the body to keep you alive and healthy. In fact part of the benefit of exercise is it’s ability to get the heart pumping and blood flowing throughout the body. If you want to have better memory and brain function, better blood flow to the brain is key! Honestly every part of your body can benefit from improve blood flow.

Enhancing Blood Flow, Enhancing Health | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Cold water exposure has a fascinating effect on circulation. It causes blood to rush to your core to protect vital organs, improving circulation to the heart. This enhanced blood flow benefits heart health and can lead to better overall cardiovascular (heart) function.

Skin and Hair’s Cold Water Makeover

I’m often surprised at the piles of money women pour into hair and skin care products…anti aging, rejuvenating, age defying skin cream and shampoos with herbal extracts from every corner of the earth… but even the fanciest synthetic cosmetic products can’t come close to the benefits of a free cold water plunge for skin and hair health!

A Beauty Treatment from Nature | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Cold water can greatly improve the health of your skin and hair – It tightens pores, reduces puffiness, and can even give your hair that healthier shine equal to even the most expensive shampoos and conditioners. It’s a natural and completely free beauty treatment that’s ‘refreshingly’ simple.

Energizing Your Day, The Cold Way

How many people often report having low energy and feeling fatigued? When you consider the many health benefits of cold water plunges…it’s no wonder it also provides a great energy boost to invigorate you and jump-start your day!

An Invigorating Start (or End) to Your Day | Cold Water Plunge Benefits

Have you ever felt groggy in the morning or sluggish after a long day? A cold plunge can change that. As we discussed earlier in this article, a cold water plunge (or shower): increases your heart rate, boosts your circulation, and leaves you feeling more alert and energized. It’s like a cup of coffee or shot of expresso, without any of the side effects!

A Word of Caution

While cold water plunges and showers can be beneficial for many people…like anything else certain people should use caution. Particularly if you have pre-existing heart conditions or hypertension, consult your healthcare provider before attempting cold water plunges.

I also urge that people who got the experimental COVID-19 mRNA injections, to ask their Dr for ‘fibrinogen’ testing, and avoid cold water plunges without first thoroughly testing their cardiovascular health – mainly due to the known potential for blood clotting and damage to the circulatory system.

Cold Water Therapy: A Safe Approach

Before you jump into the nearest icy lake, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health issues like heart disease or hypertension. I suggest starting with 20-30 seconds in the shower and gradually increasing to a few minutes, always listening to your body and seeking help if you experience any alarming symptoms.

Taking the Plunge | Conclusion

Cold water therapy, whether from a cold water plunge or shower, offers a wealth of benefits. From improved immunity and stress relief to better skin and increased energy, there are so many benefits to your health it really makes cold water plunges a no brainer. Despite the modern hype over cold water, it’s actually an ancient practice that modern science has only now begun to recognize. Cold water therapy is also free and easy for virtually anyone to do. So next time you’re considering expensive supplements, medicines or hair care products, why not give cold water therapy a try? The benefits are just a cold splash away!


References

  1. Health Effects of Cold Water Immersion: A review exploring the effects of voluntary exposure to cold water immersion on health indicates that CWI can have significant effects on various physiological and biochemical parameters. This includes potential benefits such as reducing body adipose tissue, improving insulin sensitivity, and possibly having protective effects against cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. However, the studies also suggest that more conclusive research is needed in this area​​.
  2. Cold Water Immersion: Kill or Cure?: Another review assesses the threats and benefits of CWI. It covers its history, uses, and the evidence supporting its effects on health, including its role in preventing and treating inflammation-related conditions. The review concludes that while there is a credible rationale for the benefits of CWI in certain instances, supporting data in some cases remain speculative​​.
  3. Effects on Strength and Endurance Performance: A systematic review with meta-analysis focused on the effects of regular CWI use during exercise training on strength and endurance performance. The findings suggest that regular use of CWI can negatively impact resistance training adaptations but does not seem to affect aerobic exercise performance​​.
  4. The Cold Water Therapy Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Cold Water Immersion, Ice Baths, and Showers for Improved Health, Recovery, Mental Resilience, Sleep Quality, and Enhanced Immune System” offers a detailed look into how cold water therapy can positively impact various aspects of health, including sleep quality​​.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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