The Benefits of Cold Water Therapy

Cold Water Therapy has been practiced by athletes for years as a way to reduce muscle soreness after workouts. But it’s now popular for everyday people who want to improve their health and well-being. It can include outdoor swimming in lakes, rivers and the ocean; cold showers; and immersion in ice pools. Some devotees even do daily immersions in chilly lakes or take regular ice baths at home or at recovery studios.

The practice of a cold plunge can help numb pain by constricting the blood vessels, which cuts off circulation, and reduce swelling when you’re injured. And it may boost your mood. During a cold immersion, the body releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in our emotions, per a study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Another benefit of a cold water immersion is that it can help you thermoregulate after hot workouts by reducing your core temperature. This is a crucial process to keep you from overheating, which could lead to hypothermia. In addition, the cold temperatures also stimulate the production of catecholamines, compounds that are natural antidepressants.

For those not comfortable wading into icy lakes or taking cold plunges in public, there are at-home cold water immersion kits that can be used in tubs and showers. These products typically range from steel tanks to inflatable tanks to cedar wood tubs and are chilled to between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

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