Cold plunge is a popular method for reducing stress and inflammation. Experts explore the potential advantages and dangers of immersion in cold water.
Celebrities, sportsmen, influencers, and everyone in between support the toe-numbing technique.
A lot of people say that going for a cold plunge can help with things like loosening up tense muscles, recuperating from exercise more quickly, reducing inflammation, and boosting immunity. Some claim that taking a frigid plunge might help with mental health issues like boosting clarity and lowering anxiety or sadness.
Regarding the benefits of taking a cold plunge, what is the scientific consensus? We asked specialists who have taken chilly plunges what people should know before diving in.
What is Cold Plunge?
A cold plunge entails completely submerging the body in cold water, be it in a bathtub, tank, swimming pool, or a natural body of water like a lake or the ocean. Cold water swimming or immersion are other names for it. Ice baths, which are normally on the cooler end of the temperature scale, are a sort of cold plunge.
The habit of taking a chilly plunge has been around for pretty much as long as people have been around water, despite its current increase in popularity.
How To Cold Plunge
A cold plunge is when you swiftly enter and exit frigid water, or you stay in it for a while. The water is normally between 50 and 70 degrees during a frigid plunge, or roughly 10 to 20 degrees.
Depending on the comfort level and temperature of the water, the duration of a cold plunge can change. The submersion should last no longer than necessary in cooler water. Generally speaking, chilly plunges last five to ten minutes.
The water shouldn’t be any cooler than roughly 53 degrees or 12 degrees, since below that temperature, there is a higher chance that the skin and other tissues will be harmed or experience other unfavorable outcomes. A little warmer, or between 65 and 75 degrees, is the perfect temperature for cold water swimming.
How Long to Take a Cold Plunge
A brief dip in and out of the water counts as a cold plunge, but how long does it take for a cold plunge to be effective? The cold doesn’t start to affect the neuromuscular system until three to five minutes after the temperature has gone below the skin.
The average duration of a frigid plunge is five to ten minutes; going colder for longer than that can raise the risk of experiencing physical injury.
Cold water is praised for its health benefits but also for its dangers, and throughout history it has been seen as both a panacea and a threat to human health. What do we now know about the effects of immersion in cold water on the body?
Advantages of Cold Plunge
Everyone has a different way of waking up, such as drinking two shots of espresso or working out briefly. Cold plunging might be the solution if you need a short morning boost or an afternoon pick-me-up. When searching for a brand-new method to increase their everyday vitality, lots of people turn to cold plunging!
Restoration and Performance
The benefits of taking a cold plunge go beyond your body’s physical and chemical components. For years, cold water therapy has been used in sports medicine to aid in the active rehabilitation of your muscles.
Cold water stimulates leukocytes, the white blood cells that aid in disease resistance. Additionally, it tightens the lymphatic system, pushing fluid through the lymph nodes. This procedure will strengthen your immune system and your body will be detoxified. According to a study, this significantly reduces upper respiratory tract infections.
Cold diving raise your dopamine levels at rest. The molecule in our bodies and brains associated with motivation is called dopamine. Dopamine can increase our ability to focus deeply and lower the barrier to taking precise action.
For some time now, scientists have understood how it relates to our daily energy. A cold plunge may assist to lessen depression and enhance mood in general because there is a lot of evidence that hormone imbalances can cause depression. However, don’t take our word for it—ask anyone who has ever dove!
Relief of Pain
Regular ice baths enhance your norepinephrine production by a factor of five. neurotransmitter reduces Inflammation and chronic pain.
Relief of Stress
By lowering the stress hormone cortisol, cold water therapy is an efficient supplementary treatment for stress alleviation. According to a study, daily cold showers and ice baths decrease anxiety levels and lift their moods.
Your body activates the autonomic nerve system as you drop into the Plunge. This system govern your reaction to stress, which is a network of veins and nerves divided into two segments. You’ll probably discover that you start to regulate your relaxation and sleep once you start controlling how you react to stress.
Disadvantages of Cold Plunge
- Cold water causes a spike in the hormone norepinephrine, which raises heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. That might be manageable for young, healthy people, but for those with any history of heart disease or cardiac issues (such as arrhythmias), it can be fatal.
- Everyone should see their doctor before trying cold water immersion to be safe, especially those with a history of heart illness, vascular disease, or disorders like high blood pressure.
- Additionally, it’s not advisable for individuals to swim or take frigid plunges alone. People should do it safely, which include doing it under supervision or in a regulated setting with other people.
- Some folks might be tempted to step it up or lower the temperature, but we advise not going overboard. It’s not always better to be colder, and experiencing a cold shock reaction in an unmanaged situation could be deadly.
- You don’t need to enter ice-cold water because response is at its peak between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. Longer dives—more than 10 minutes—are not usually advantageous either. The likelihood that the cold will render you physically incapable is higher.
- The likelihood that practicing cold water immersion would be useful is increased when done prudently and with minimal risk.
Less research and knowledge exist regarding the advantages of cold plunges for mental health. However, there are several anecdotal reports and a few speculative notions about the cognitive benefits of immersion in cold water.
Dopamine and endorphin levels may rise after taking a frigid plunge in the near term, which may lead to feelings of euphoria and improved mental clarity or focus.
If you’re prepared to take a chilly plunge and your doctor has given the go-ahead, try to approach it with knowledge and an open mind, understanding that each person’s body will react differently. When done with others and in a secure setting, submerging yourself in cold water may be a revitalizing experience.