Cold water therapy seems to be popular recently and people get curious about the practices when they see their favorite athletes, celebrities, influencers, and sports person performing it. It is because they believe and follow these celebrities blindly. But today we can confirm that cold water therapy can actually be beneficial.
Thus, we are here to talk about the therapy, what is it, its benefits and much more.
Cold water therapy is the practice of immersing yourself in water that’s around 59°F (15°C) that has proved to help manage several health conditions and stimulate health benefits. It’s also known as cold hydrotherapy.
The practice has been around for a couple of millennia but recent adaptations include ice baths, brisk daily showers, outdoor swims, and cold water immersion therapy sessions.
Benefits of Cold Water Bath
Research indicates that soaking yourself in cold water for short periods after exercise can prevent muscle soreness. Even cyclists tried the method after intense training sessions and experienced reduced soreness after immersing themselves in cold water for 10 minutes. According to Healthline, athletes who soak themselves in a pool of cold water (12°C to 15°C) experience less muscle soreness than those who do not participate in hydrotherapy. It is because cold water helps reduce pain by letting the blood vessels to constrict thus reducing the blood flow to the area which helps with swelling and inflammation.
Immersing yourself in cold water can help lower the body temperature much faster than just resting in a cool environment. Research proves that contact with cold water helps cool off overheated people twice as fast as recovery without hydrotherapy. You must try to immerse as much of your skin as possible. You will have to dunk your whole body in cold water rather than just your wrists under a cold tap.
According to Healthline, cold water is not a cure for any mental health condition but it can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in some people. Cold water immersion affects the cold receptors in the skin and the brain when suddenly exposed to cold water, gets bombarded with electrical impulses, resulting in release of beta-endorphins and noradrenaline that affect your sense of well being positively.
Research also has evidence that cold water therapy can stimulate the body’s immune system which thus can improve your ability to fight illness. It affects the immune response positively, the same way meditation, deep breathing does.
How to Start Cold Water Therapy?
You can take warm-to-cold showers. Firstly, begin with warm water and a few minutes later, switch to a lower temperature.
You can also skip the warmup after a workout and go straight to a cold shower.
Immerse yourself in an ice bath. Keep adding ice to water until the temperature is between 50°F and 59°F (10°C and 15°C). Immerse yourself for only 10 to 15 minutes.
You can also go for a short swim in colder waters
Make sure to consult your doctor, have someone around you to observe and help if need be. Do not take a warm shower immediately and let your body come to its normal temperature by walking around.