cold plunge tank

Contrast Therapy 101: 6 Cold and Hot Plunge Benefits

What is Contrast Therapy?

You may have heard Wim Hof touting the benefits of cold plunge therapy on podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience before, but what about contrast therapy? Whether you're an athlete or simply want to optimize your health, just about anyone can benefit from contrast therapy.

By starting with hot water and then transitioning to cold, it's possible to get more from your cold plunge routine. And, thanks to products on the market that are small enough in size for the home, a cold plunge tank like RENU Therapy provides easier, more effective options than a sub-par shower or pool. 

You may wonder what combination of hot and cold equipment is best for getting contrast therapy with water. Although many folks get their contrast therapy from a sauna and ice bath combo, it's possible to reap the same health rewards using a hot plunge, too.

So what are the added health benefits that you might enjoy from taking your cold plunging to the next level by adding hot plunging? Let's dive into six of the physical and mental health benefits here.

How Can Contrast Therapy Benefit Your Health?

When you're looking for therapeutic ways to improve your health and wellness beyond nutrition, cold water therapy is a solid option. However, starting with a hot plunge can amplify the benefits of taking ice baths.

It can even add to the already amazing effects of immersion in cold water. Here are six ways contrast hydrotherapy can benefit your health.

1. Minimizes Lactic Acid Accumulation in Muscles 

Hard workouts lead to a lactic acid build-up in muscles. This can cause intense pain and soreness that inhibits performance and recovery. Reducing lactic acid pain demands plenty of rest, drinking water, and supplementing your magnesium intake.

Research has found that contrast therapy is one of the best ways to prevent the accumulation of excess lactic acid in muscles.

2. Faster Muscle Recovery After Workouts

Beyond blocking the buildup of lactic acid, one study in 2017 discovered alternating from hot to cold exposure led to team sports players recovering from fatigue in only 24 hours to 48 hours after competitions.

The study also found that cold therapy alone didn’t get the same results, suggesting that alternating between hot and cold plunging is the most effective recovery method.

3. Reduces Joint Inflammation

For those suffering from painful joint inflammation, spending time in a hot plunge tub before plunging into an ice bath can help bring down inflammation levels, lowering pain levels in turn.

4. Helps Curb the Occurrence of DOMS

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is a common affliction of people who work out or play sports. Days after the exercise, debilitating pain can make it hard to even walk. This can diminish athletic performance along with increasing the risk of injuring yourself.

Thankfully, studies have found that relief is possible through hot and cold plunge contrast therapy when a regular routine is put in place.

5. Delivers a Natural Detox for the Body

Going straight from a hot plunge to an ice bath triggers the body’s lymphatic system to kick into high gear. This system in the body helps flush away toxins all over, helping support the regeneration of cells and carrying away harmful byproducts of hard workouts throughout the body.

6. Helps Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels

When you switch from hot to cold, it releases endorphins that deliver clean, calm energy and an overall sense of well-being. Research has even found that symptoms of depression can be curbed through a consistent routine of contrast therapy.

Things to Remember When Starting Out

When starting out, it's good to remember that hot plunging comes before the cold. Although counter to what feels good, this is the safest way to perform contrast hydrotherapy. Simply put, getting in a tub of hot water immediately after an ice bath is dangerous to your health.

Contrast hydrotherapy should always start with a hot plunge session for approximately 20 minutes. Then you can hop into your tub of ice water for three to ten minutes.

For a person without any experience, the initial shock of cold plunges can take some getting used to. So, how often do you need to perform the routine to get the benefits? Remember, a consistent routine is what's been proven most effective. The current science on contrast therapy indicates that four days per week is the average number of sessions to gain the greatest health benefits.

Finally, some people may have preexisting health conditions that make this therapy risky. Those with heart conditions should use milder temperatures rather than large swings in temperature. Always consult your doctor first.

Experience the Difference Home Contrast Therapy Can Make

When you want superior cold tub technology, quality materials, low maintenance, and efficient heating and cooling power, RENU Therapy can't be beaten. Our class-leading filtration delivers the utmost safety without needing chlorine or other chemicals.

Enjoy refreshing hot or cold water with a pair of our plunge tubs designed specifically for contrast therapy.

Our hot and cold therapy tubs are made 100% in the USA, and we provide the best warranty coverage. We pride ourselves on delivering 100% customer satisfaction with every plunge tank we sell! Browse our selection of beautiful cold plunge tubs and hot plunge tubs that enhance any home's design features.

To learn more about our cold plunge tanks, contact us at 714-617-2007 at RENU Therapy today!