The rising focus on mental health in America

Mental health has become a huge conversation in the last decade due to rising rates of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, and as awareness of the ongoing mental health crisis increases, more and more people are acknowledging the importance of mental health and taking action to improve their own. 

While we still have a lot to learn about mental health and what goes on inside the brain to cause mental health to decline, one thing we do know is that there is a very strong connection between mental and physical health. For example, depression can cause an array of physical symptoms, like headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. And, on the flip side, people with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing poor mental health.

With how connected physical and mental health are, it only makes sense that prioritizing your physical health can help improve your mental health, and cold water therapy is just one of the many ways you can treat mental health conditions (and experience a variety of other benefits, too!). 

What is cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy – a type of hydrotherapy – is a health and wellness treatment that involves submerging the body in water less than 59 degrees Fahrenheit through a shower, plunge, bath, or other immersion method. The use of water for healing is foundational to the history of human health, and recent research has helped us explain exactly why cold water therapy is such an effective way to improve our health.

Exposure to cold water does a variety of things inside the body, like increasing blood pressure, constricting blood vessels, and releasing endorphins, which all play a unique role in the benefits we see from cold water therapy. 

For example, the contraction and dilation of blood vessels lead to improved circulation, which can increase metabolism, aid in quicker muscle recovery, and reduce inflammation throughout the body. 

When it comes to mental health, however, we’re most interested in cold water’s impact on the brain, and the release of neurochemicals is the source of cold water therapy’s power to improve mental health. 

Cold water therapy for mental health

As your body is exposed to cold water, you enter a period of cold shock, which triggers a response in the body and brain to help your body adapt to the change in temperature and conserve heat. Most notably, your brain becomes more sensitive to endorphins and begins to produce two specific neurotransmitters, Plasma noradrenaline and dopamine, which both have a profound effect on your mental health. 

These key chemicals are responsible for regulating sleep (leading to improved sleep quality and quantity), promoting alertness (which may reduce symptoms of fatigue and lack of motivation), and normalizing blood pressure (decreasing stress and anxiety). 

In addition to the psychological effects themselves, cold water therapy has also been shown to improve energy levels, mood, and overall brain function while at the same time decreasing anxiety and stress. 

Even the physical benefits of cold water therapy can indirectly improve mental health. For example, if your muscles are able to more effectively recover after a strenuous workout, you’ll be more likely to work out consistently, which has been proven to have positive effects on your mental health. 

Overall, it’s clear that cold water therapy has a multitude of benefits that can help you improve your physical and mental health together, and – the best part – just a few minutes a day can leave you feeling healthier and happier in your body. 

Improve your physical and mental health with 10X Health today

10X Health was created with the vision to empower people to take control of their health and live an optimal life, and we’ve carefully selected and designed our services with that vision in mind. If you’re ready to take care of your mental health by prioritizing your physical health, cold water therapy might be just the thing for you! Contact 10X Health to learn more and get started on your cold plunge journey.

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