Submerging oneself in cold water has become a mainstream way for people to ward off stress, recover from muscle soreness or fatigue after a workout, boost their immune systems, and reduce inflammation. Although the first couple of seconds may not feel like it, sitting in 50-59 degree Fahrenheit water up to your neck could provide some solid health benefits.
What Exactly is a Cold Plunge Pool?
A cold plunge pool is a small tub or pool filled with water that is between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold plunge pools are also known as cold water therapy, or cryotherapy, which means using cold water as a treatment for a number of ailments.
Cryotherapy has been around for centuries but has seen a definite resurgence with professional athletes and those in the health and wellness field touting the benefits of cold water plunges. Cold plunges have been embraced by this population because they reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and speed up recovery time after workouts.
Some Health Benefits of Cold Plunge Pools
Cold plunge pools can be beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. Here are some major health benefits that may occur with making a cold plunge part of your routine. Cold plunge pools can:
- Improve Blood Circulation: When you first enter the cold water, all of your blood is pumped to your vital organs. Once you are out of the cold water, your body begins to regulate, and blood is pumped to your extremities. This movement of blood enhances your cardiovascular system.
- Reduce Inflammation: Just as an ice pack can help alleviate pain after an injury, a cold plunge pool can alleviate pain in the entire body. Not only can a cold plunge reduce pain, but it can reduce inflammation by making blood vessels constrict causing less swelling. Athletes can benefit from this process, but so can people with inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
- Reduce Stress: Stress is a common denominator in our lives, and cold water plunges can help lessen it. Cold water immersion stimulates the Vagus nerve, which lowers the heart rate and reduces stress hormones in the body. Research also shows that cold plunging increases your dopamine levels by 250 percent! Dopamine is the “feel good” chemical in our bodies and plays a role in regulating our moods.
- Boost Your Immune System: Researchers have found that taking a cold plunge may heighten your immune system and make you more resilient to sickness and disease. A clinical trial in the Netherlands found that cold showers led to a 29% reduction in people calling off sick from work.
- Increase Energy: Cold water immersion can increase energy levels in the human body. Cold water stimulates nerve endings through a process called cold thermogenesis. An increase in heart rate, oxygen levels, and respiration rate are all a result of cold thermogenesis which all lead to increased energy levels and alertness in the body.
- Improve Lymphatic System: The lymphatic system helps the body clean itself from the inside by getting rid of cellular waste, maintaining bodily fluid levels, absorbing digestive tract fats, and protecting the body from illness-causing bacteria. Cold exposure has a positive effect on the lymphatic system by causing the lymph vessels to contract and move lymph fluid through your system which flushes out the waste.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Cold Plunge Pools?
Taking the cold plunge your first couple of times takes some getting used to, but if done smartly and safely, taking a dip should be completely safe. Some things to remember when starting out:
- Ease Into It: Take the first couple of plunges slowly. Ease into the water and don’t stay in for too long. You can increase the time spent in the water as you increase the number of plunges. Start with 1-3 minutes.
- Buddy System: Let someone know that you are about to take a cold plunge.
- Temperature: Don’t start at a very low temperature. Begin your plunge in 60-degree water and lower the temperature as you get used to cold plunging.
For questions about the benefits of cold plunge pools, reach out to 10X Health today!