Cold-water immersion therapy or cryotherapy, has long been used by many cultures to unlock key health benefits. Cold plunge sessions can have a quick and drastic impact on your feelings and wellbeing — releasing endorphins, improving your mood, boosting energy levels, reducing inflammation, and strengthening your immune system.
In Japan, it was used medically for people who suffer from intense cases of rheumatoid arthritis. It was also used for achy muscles and inflammatory diseases. Like anything that becomes successful, cryotherapy began to spread… now used in Europe by trainers and their athletes, as well as physical therapists, speeding up recovery time, reducing pain, and helping people recover from surgery.
A cold plunge session can have a quick and drastic impact on your feelings and wellbeing — a boost in energy levels, releasing endorphins to improve mood, reduce inflammation, and strengthen your immune system — all obtained by doing what most can’t imagine, sitting in a cold tub of water. Why do it? Because the benefits make it worth it.
Cold plunge Benefits
- Endorphins make you happy! Help fight depression when your body releases a natural dose of endorphins every time you plunge. Cold plunge is exposure to physiological stress in a controlled setting, so you can get high on your own supply.
- Boost your immune system. Cold water immersion stimulates the production of peptides that aid in your body’s ability to fight off infection, viruses and bacteria.
- Feel better in your body. Cold water exposure stimulates blood flow, circulating oxygenated blood, allowing your body to better heal itself. Athletes and those with a physically demanding lifestyle cold plunge to accelerate recovery and improve overall performance.
- Reduction of inflammation & pain, eases joint pain and stiffness
- Feel invigorated. Do you feel like you’re dragging through life and living in a fog? Taking a cold plunge gives your nervous system a serious kick by releasing fight or flight hormones, waking up your body and boosting your overall energy levels.
- Gain mental and emotional resilience. Have you ever heard of “mind over matter”? Doing hard things makes you more adaptable. In Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s report “Cold Shocking the Body: Exploring Cryotherapy, Cold Water Immersion, and Cold Stress” plunging into cold water triggers the production of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, a critical chemical in the body that helps regulate attention, focus, and energy!
- Tame your fight or flight responses. Deeper roots can withstand stronger storms. By exposing your body to stress in a controlled environment, you can be better equipped to respond to the inevitable stress of daily life.
- Help You Lose Weight and Burn Calories– In order to achieve long-term weight loss, it’s important to look at what you’re eating and how you’re moving. Cryotherapy, however, can certainly aid in your weight loss journey. Ray Cronise, a former NASA scientist, is a believer that exposing a human body to the cold can help with weight loss. There have also been studies that show that exposure to cold temperatures can boost your metabolism anywhere from 8 to 80 percent. Cronise himself added cold to his weight loss plan, and he shed a whopping 27 pounds in a matter of weeks.
- Promotes vasoconstriction and vasodilation– leading to increased levels of oxygenated blood, soothing migraines and helping with skin conditions.
What will happen when you step in the Cold Plunge?
The cold will actually trigger the body’s responses to a drop in the temperature. The body will immediately recognize there’s no way we can maintain our internal core temperature. There are receptors below our skin’s surface that instruct the nervous system into “vasoconstriction” which is the shrinking of arteries and blood vessels. “The process leads to a reduction in the flow of blood to tired or damaged tissue, effectively shutting down the inflammation process and the development of swelling or bruising around an injury. At the same time, blood is retained in the body’s core and is flushed through the normal cycle and becomes enriched with oxygen, enzymes and nutrients as well as receiving an influx of hormones via the body’s endocrine system,” sports scientist and recovery specialist Lee-Ann Diab says about the process.
Once you leave the cold bath, your nutrient and mineral-filled blood is returned from your core to the peripheral tissues. You leave feeling great.
The amount of times in which you have cryotherapy sessions is dependent on the type of cryotherapy you’re using and what exactly you’re using it for. Most people who do cryotherapy for overall wellness and health typically do sessions 1-2 times per week. If you’re using cryotherapy for an injury, muscle aches and pains, or inflammation, then consider 2-4 times a week. It’s useful to consult with your doctor or health professional to find out what is best for you.
What to wear: swimsuit best, shorts & sports bra second option
What to bring: towels, clothes to change into, and bag to take wet clothes home.
Is it Safe?
It’s not surprising that stepping into freezing water for several minutes can feel intimidating. While it’s extremely important to consult with your doctor before trying cryotherapy, or any new procedure, cryotherapy is generally safe for most people, excluding those listed below.
- Open wounds / broken skin.
- Abnormal / altered skin sensation or hypersensitivity to cold, such as Raynaud’s phenomenon, cold urticaria, cryoglobulinemia, and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
- Peripheral vascular disease or impaired circulation, where tissue damage may result from vasoconstriction.
- Under influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Epilepsy / seizures
- Angina pectoris or other Cardiovascular weaknesses, including uncontrolled blood pressure
- Children under 12
- Elderly- The ability to maintain core body temperature decreases with age. This is primarily due to circulatory conditions. The body must be able to activate its natural warming processes in order to maintain core body temperature.
The first cryotherapy session may be unpleasant, but will likely get better with each session.
Ask us about our Fire + Ice package that pair cold plunge with our infrared sauna services to achieve exhilarating results.