One ancient practice that's been used for both mind and body benefits is taking an ice bath. Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts routinely cite taking cold water immersion (CWI) as one of their top wellness tips for improved recovery times and energy levels.
When you plunge into cold water that's between 39ºF to 55ºF after a hard workout, the benefits of CWI will start to kick in. Your sympathetic nervous system senses the initial shock and tries to kick your body into flight mode.
The result is increased blood flow, a drop in core temperature, and the release of endorphins that can lift moods.
Not heeding certain steps can make ice baths dangerous, but when done correctly ice bathing delivers far greater benefits than cold showers can. Submerging your entire body into an ice bath produces a pronounced response throughout many bodily systems, including the central nervous system and cardiovascular system.
All this adds up to holistic health benefits that stretch beyond the world of workout recovery. To help you decide whether ice bath therapy is right for you, we've assembled this brief overview of the benefits of regularly taking ice baths.
What are the Health Benefits of Ice Baths?
Ice baths provide measurable benefits for both body and mind. For starters, reducing pain and swelling is one of the most common reasons athletes take an icy dip. But there are also benefits to consider when it comes to immunity, cardiovascular disease, and mental health.
Cold water immersion has been used to help reduce stress and promote better sleep. The potential benefits are numerous when it comes to taking cold baths.
Let's briefly touch on the benefits that are worth taking your first ice bath.
Increases Blood Flow and Decreases Blood Pressure
One of the primary effects of ice baths is that they stimulate the cardiovascular system. Vasodilation and vasoconstriction occur, which helps the body pump more blood more efficiently.
The blood vessels open up wider after being rapidly constricted, which helps improve their pliability and reduce the tendency for high blood pressure.
Flushes Away Toxins and Lactic Acid
There are always toxins and cellular wastes being generated throughout the body. Lactic acid also builds up from working out, creating sore muscles that reduce muscle recovery.
This and other wastes need to be flushed away to promote a healthy immune system and hasten the muscle and tissue damage repair process.
Rapid Recovery to Get Back in the Game
Exposure to icy cold water reduces joint swelling and muscle soreness after an intense workout. Taking an ice bath also helps prevent muscle cramps, making ice baths good for post-workout recovery routines.
When cold exposure is used, athletes enjoy a faster recovery, less muscle soreness, and increased energy levels, allowing them to train harder rather than being forced into low-intensity exercise.
Reduce Inflammation Faster
Beyond reducing muscle soreness, cold water immersion can help with other types of inflammation as well. Ice baths work for reducing inflammation of vital organs and joints that may have suffered injuries or other painful health complications.
The extreme cold helps numb pain throughout the body, which is why it's common to treat injuries and aches with ice pack applications. Dunking your whole body into ice water delivers the same benefits, but for more than just one area.
Recover from Surgery Sooner
For folks that have recently had surgery, pain and swelling are common problems. The extreme temperatures of cold water therapy produce an innate immune response that helps draw vital nutrients to injured areas. It then pulls away old damaged cells from injured tissues so they can heal faster and with less pain.
Cold hydrotherapy lowers your body temperature, which can sometimes be elevated post-surgery due to the intense work of healing. A few degrees is all it takes to feel much better, making cold water immersion one of the best ways to recover from surgery.
When Should You Take an Ice Bath?
Athletes of all levels of performance love hopping into ice baths after intense exercise. This is one of the best times for your body to reap the benefits of cold exposure therapy.
A cold bath provides the maximum benefits if you jump in quickly after your workout session. It's also great for cooling down just after doing things outside in the heat like lawn work or playing a round of golf.
Customize Your Ice Bath Tub for Your Cold Water Immersion
When you're ready to enjoy ice bath benefits, you'll want to find a tub that can provide you with cold water therapy anytime.
RENU Therapy builds customized premium quality cold therapy tubs by hand—giving you fresh, ice cold water when you need it most. Featuring beautifully finished aesthetics, our tubs can complement the most luxurious of homes and offices.
Enjoy cold water immersion that's always available. To customize your ice bathtub, fill out our online form or contact us at 714-617-2007 at RENU Therapy today!