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What Are Cold Plunges Good For? The Science Behind Icy Dips

cold water immersion

Cold plunges have risen in popularity ever since Wim Hof began getting more press. But this type of therapy isn't something new — it's been around for centuries now.

Although eons of experience have helped continue the tradition of taking the polar plunge in some cultures, many of the real benefits are now being uncovered by science. In this article, we'll do a deep dive into the science behind cold water immersion so you can decide if they're right for you.

Common Misconceptions About Cold Water Plunges

To begin, let's take a look at some of the common misconceptions surrounding cold water plunging. By understanding these misconceptions, you'll be sure to enjoy a safer, more beneficial cold exposure experience.

Trying To Last As Long As You Can

While Wim Hof is certainly an inspiration to start cold plunging, he's also an exception to most health rules. It can be tempting to try and mimic the Iceman's legendary length of time spent in ice-cold water, but the dangers just aren't worth it.

To remain safe, cold water plunges should be practiced for no more than a few minutes at a time to avoid the risk of hypothermia, a potentially deadly state.

Taking A Hot Shower After A Cold Plunge

It might seem like common sense to get into a nice hot shower to warm back up post-ice plunge. However, this creates a massive shock to the body's systems, potentially causing dangerous side effects. That's why, after a cold water plunge, it's important to warm up slowly by putting on some warm, dry clothing.

Attempting To Endure The Coldest Water Possible

The coldest water isn't necessarily better when it comes to taking cold water plunges. There is a limit to how cold the water should be to remain safe while cold plunging, which is one reason why RENU cold plunge tanks have preset temperature controls that prevent the water from becoming dangerously cold. The following people may benefit the most from cold water plunges:

  • Athletes of all fitness levels, age, and ability
  • Health and wellness-focused people, both physiological and mental
  • People with chronic joint pain and other types of chronic aches and pains
  • Those seeking ways to boost mental performance

    Science-Backed Benefits of Cold Water Plunges

    The benefits of cold water plunges are numerous, which makes it one of the best ways to improve your overall health and wellness, both physically and mentally. Here are the science-backed health benefits of taking an ice bath regularly.

    Get Better Sleep

    By improving your heart rate variability and reducing painful inflammation, ice baths can deliver the wonderful ancillary benefit of better sleep each night. The sense of calm and well-being that's produced by releasing endorphins also plays a role in providing a higher quality of sleep.

    Improve Your Mental State

    In a study conducted in 2008, researchers found that cold showers can help curb depression symptoms. In the study, cold water immersion was found to help trigger the production of mood-boosting neurotransmitters that ease tension and stress, producing an overall feeling of peace and tranquility. 

    Faster Recovery Post-Exercise

    Frequent exercise is great for cardio health, but it can also lead to fatigue, soreness, and aching joints. Another key benefit of cold water exposure is improved recovery times post-exercise. This can make a massive difference when training for major events that demand daily training regimes.

    Prevent DOMS After Lifting Weights

    Lifting weights is another incredible way to improve mobility and extend healthy life. However, one of the biggest downsides to weightlifting regularly is the soreness that comes afterwards. This effect, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), can be downright debilitating for many days after lifting sessions.

    Science has proven cold water plunges to be one of the best ways to limit the severity of DOMS, making it an invaluable resource for those always seeking more gains.

    Reduce Sports Injury

    Preventing injuries on the golf course, tennis court, or on the bike comes down to mobility and muscles that are ready for action. Cold plunges have been proven by scientific studies to increase mobility and clear away lactic acid buildup that can inhibit peak performance.

    This is why physical therapists and pro athletes have been utilizing cold water therapy as a primary way to reduce the risk of injury. And when small issues do arise, cold immersion can shorten the time for injury recovery.

    Benefit From Cold Water Therapy At Home

    At RENU Therapy, our cold water therapy tubs are made 100% in the USA. That's how we can provide our industry-leading warranty and 100% customer satisfaction!

    Choose from multiple colors and finishes to match the aesthetic of your home or office perfectly. Our cold water therapy tubs boast world-class designs that bring beauty to whatever space they're installed in.

    Contact RENU Therapy today to get cold water therapy at home when you need it most!