Cold therapy is in use for several years in a lot of cultures. Cold water immersion is beneficial for everyone and in many ways. Read below to know more about cold water immersion and its benefits.
What is Cold Water Immersion?
Cold water immersion also known as CWI, ice-baths, cold water therapy and plunge pools, is actually a recovery procedure that involves the immersion of your body into cold water, right after exercise so as to enhance the process of recovery. Cold water immersion helps in muscle recovery and thus most athletes use this technique. However, it also provides a lot of health-boosting benefits for everyone.
Cold water immersion not only improves the health but even makes you feel happier, and empowered. It activates the natural healing power of our body and this in turn can relieve you from several symptoms of many diseases and medical conditions and also promote the sense of well being. Cold water immersion when practiced regularly, can offer long-lasting changes to the body’s immune, circulatory, lymphatic and also digestive systems, which in turn benefits in improving your overall quality of life.
Benefits of Cold Water Immersion:
Read below to find out some of the health benefits of cold water immersion.
Cold Water Immersion Enhances Immune System:
One of the best benefits of cold water immersion is it enhances immune system. By doing cold water immersion 2-3 times in a week, you may notice that you do not fall sick quite often. There are studies which suggest that cold water immersion contracts the lymph vessels and this contraction pumps lymph fluids throughout the body, thus flushing out bacteria, waste and microbes, and essentially cleansing the entire body.
Cold Water Immersion Reduces Stress:
One more benefit of doing cold water immersion daily is it helps in reducing stress. Exposing your body to cold temperature reduces the cortisol or the stress hormone and increases the endorphins or the feel-good hormones.
Moreover, exposing the body to cold water release norepinephrine into the parts of your brain which are involved in attention, focus and emotions.(1) Moreover, it even reduces the production of the inflammatory cytokines, which are known to be associated with depression and anxiety. This supports the idea that cold water immersion has tremendous mood enhancing abilities.(2)
Skin Health Benefits of Cold Water Immersion:
Cold water immersion is known to improve the skin health. By regularly doing cold water immersion at least for 30 days, one can feel the skin becoming smoother, hydrated and with very little or no visible skin inflammation.
Improved Lymphatic System Benefits of Cold Water Immersion:
Cold water immersion also results in contraction of the lymph vessels and thus forcing your lymphatic system to pump more of lymph fluids all throughout the body; thus flushing out the waste. This in turn triggers the WBCs of immune system to attack and to destroy the unwanted substances in the lymph fluid. The cold water affects our lymphatic system, which affects the immune system and this ultimately keeps you feeling healthy and happy.
Cold Water Immersion is Beneficial in Improving the Blood Circulation:
One of the finest benefit of cold water immersion is it improves blood circulation. One of the most important components of overall well-being and fit health is the cardiovascular circulation. In case there is a poor cardiovascular circulation, there is a reduced blood flow and also the heart gets stressed. This in turn can ultimately result in headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, high blood pressure, or even heart stroke and heart attack. On the other hand, having an improved circulation, we can improve the heart health, enhance the immune system, improve mental performance, and also improve the body’s metabolism, and simply offer us more of energy and strength in life.
It Increases Body’s Metabolism and Facilitates Weight Loss:
Cold water immersion has got one more wonderful benefit. It increases the metabolism of our body. This voluntary deviation from the ideal temperature of body due to cold water immersion causes several reactions in the body that maintains the internal body temperature; and one of these reactions is the increases rate of metabolism of the body. It increases the whole body’s rate of metabolism by almost 16%, when practiced regularly. This in turn facilitates in weight loss.
Improves Mental Toughness:
Cold water immersion benefits in improving mental toughness. By submerging in water for long you become a stronger person. Doing this regularly help in getting out of your comfort zone and this in turn benefits you to grow and learn your true potential.
Helps In Reversing Inflammation And In Athletic Recovery:
Cold water immersion reduces inflammation via vasoconstriction by lowering the temperature of damaged tissue and by localizing blood flow.(3) Using cold therapy can even help in preventing swelling and bruising from waste and fluid build-up that one can experience after an intense training session or an injury. Cold water immersion even aids in treating soreness experienced in muscles after exercise.(4)
This is the reason why athletes do cold water immersion after their exercise and training session. It not only speeds up the time of recovery but also gets instant relief from pain and numbness.
Cold Water Immersion: Some Tips To Follow
Below are some of the tips that you need to follow, while doing cold water immersion.
- Do not remain submerged in cold water for too long. It is okay to be in ice cold water for less than 20 minutes. You need to listen to your body.
- Make sure you check the temperature of the water while doing cold water immersion. It must be somewhere between 8-15 degrees C. Generally, the average temperature would be 11 degrees C.
- Have a positive thought before the cold water immersion. Make your mind believe that your body will love it and it is not very cold to handle.
So here we discussed about some of the benefits of cold water immersion. You can try this cold water immersion and take the benefits out of it. However, keep it noted that it is not at all easy for you to submerge your body in the cold water for the first time. You must remember to use some kinds of common sense. You need to start slowly and gradually. Listen to your body and find out what it can tolerate and then proceed on gently and gradually. Also make sure once you come out of the cold water, wrap up properly to prevent self from cough, colds and chills.