5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Plunge Ice Baths
It's the perfect way to start a day...
Brew a little coffee... read your morning emails... and dip your entire body into a tub of freezing cold water...
Okay... maybe it's not everyone's idea of a nice morning...
Nonetheless, cold plunging is becoming a vital part of many biohackers' routines.
That's because this increasingly-popular trend could have many health benefits — both physical and mental.
To find out more about what it is, the potential benefits, and how to do it... keep scrolling below 👇
What Is Cold Plunging?
The cold plunge is a type of cold therapy.
Throughout history, humans have been using cold temperatures to recover & improve their health...
In fact, the ancient stoic philosopher, Seneca, recommended the cold plunge... and even used it as a way to inaugurate his students.
These types of treatments are collectively known as cold therapy — which can also include icing an injury, taking cold showers, or cryotherapy.
Cold plunges — or ice baths — simply involve immersing yourself in icy cold water.
Recently, this method has gained traction in the biohacking community as a result of influencers like Tony Robbins, Joe Rogan, Laird Hamilton, and Wim Hof — who once set a Guinness World Record at a Finnish lake for the longest swim under ice.
It's most commonly used by elite athletes to reduce pain and inflammation...
But anyone who has medical approval can use it to experience the benefits.
Unlike cryotherapy — which requires commercial-grade equipment & trained professionals — cold plunging is simpler and you can do it at-home.
Cold Plunge Benefits
There's much more to cold water therapy than meets the eye...
What may seem like a fun challenge could actually deliver a wide variety of health benefits.
Here's 5 big ones:
1. Cold Plunge for Improved Mental Health
A chilly dip could help decrease symptoms of stress, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression...
Cold water gives your body a rush of norepinephrine — which is a neurotransmitter and hormone that can help regulate anxiety, mood, and other psychological functions.
It can also make you more alert and give your body an energy boost.
The cold also triggers your nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system in response to the stress.
Over time, your body may use these reactions to more easily control your sleep, reactions to stress, and your ability to rest.
As a result, these events can affect mental health in a positive way.
2. The Cold and Immune System Support
Some research suggests that cold water exposure could help the body produce more white blood cells.
White blood cells are an essential part of our immune system and keeping us healthy.
With consistent cold therapy, the body becomes better at activating the immune system, and even triggering antioxidant protection.
This could all help to fight off illness and disease...
And ultimately improve both our healthspan and lifespan.
3. Cold Water For Pain Relief & Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Athletes everywhere especially use cold plunges to treat injuries, get pain relief, and reduce joint & muscle inflammation.
When in the bath... the body's natural reaction is to constrict the blood vessels — which could fight inflammation + swelling by reducing excess blood flow to the problem areas.
Cold water can counteract the effects of muscle overuse, such as tightness, pain, or soreness.
It can also help to numb the nerve endings, acting as a pain reliever.
This is all good news if you want better recovery.
4. Ice Baths for Increased Energy, Boosted Metabolism, and Weight Loss
Your body converts its resources (i.e. fat, food, etc.) into energy...
And as your metabolism gets faster, you will also burn more energy.
Immersing yourself in cold water can boost your metabolism and burn extra calories (to stay warm).
Cold therapy can also promote "healthy" brown fat cells, instead of white fat cells, in the effort toward fat loss.
As a result, these treatments could help give you a boost of energy & trim your waistline.
5. Improved Blood Circulation
As mentioned above, a cold plunge causes the blood vessels to constrict.
Also, the heart starts pumping faster.
These things happen because the body is trying to fight the cold as much as possible.
As a result, circulation improves and each part of the body has a chance to replenish oxygen and nutrients much faster.
How To Take An Ice Bath
So, maybe you're thinking about jumping into a tub to experience the benefits...
And while you should definitely consult your healthcare professional before trying cold therapy...
Here's a few tips on how to take your first "polar" plunge:
Feel free to use your own bathtub at home and simply fill it with ice & water...
Or if you want something more advanced that circulates and cools water quickly...
You can go out and get your own at-home cold-plunge system — which have become more popular recently.
The average suggested water temperature for this method is usually about 50° Fahrenheit (or 10° Celsius)...
How Long To Stay In
There are different opinions about the length of time to stay in the water...
You can stay for as little as 10 seconds...
But it's generally advised to hang out for about 3 minutes to maximize your chances for the health benefits.
There are risks for staying in too long — like hypothermia & unconsciousness — so be careful.
While in the water, you can also use breathing techniques that involve taking rapid, deep breaths to further improve blood circulation... and get the full benefits of a cold plunge.
If you want to take things even further, you can try the Scandinavian technique of cycling between hot saunas/tubs and cold exposure.
Then, Just Do It!
Getting into cold water isn't exactly something our instincts tell us to do...
That's why it's good practice for discipline and courage.
So, when the time comes... there's nothing left to do but to jump in!
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