home cold plunge

List of Proven Benefits of Ice Bath for Your Mental and Physical Health

home cold plunge

Ice baths or cold water immersion therapy serves several purposes, both physical and mental. A fair bit of research has gone into the physical effects and benefits of plunging in cold water, but research into the mental effects is still very much in the beginning stages.

Nevertheless, there are enough proven benefits to make buying a home cold plunge tub a good investment.

Cold water's many positive effects on your physical body include physiological and mental benefits.

Physical Benefits of Home Cold Plunge

Some of the physical benefits that cold water immersion, including cold water swimming, has on your body includes the following:


When you step into cold water, your body's first reaction is a cold shock response. Your blood vessels narrow, so your muscles receive less blood and consequently hampers inflammation and swelling.

Pain Relief

It's thought that ice bathing mildly affects nerve functioning in that it slows nerve signals, including pain signals, to the nervous system and brain. This has a dampening effect on the perception of pain.

Ice baths don't just lessen muscle pain. Scientists have found that frigid water can also relieve chronic pain, including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia.

Exercise Recovery

When you get into a cold bath, blood vessels constrict. When you get out of a cold bath, blood vessels dilate, sending more blood around your body. The influx of nutrient-rich blood flushes out the metabolic waste generated during your workout.

Furthermore, the drop in body core temperature reduces creatine kinases (the release of enzymes when muscle cells are damaged), which lessens the injury's impact on the body.

Core Body Temperature Drops

High-impact exercise raises your core body temperature, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Cold water immersion helps bring your body temperature back into balance.

Physical activity in hot weather can bring on heat exhaustion or, even worse, heat stroke. Your core body temperature must drop quickly to prevent lasting damage, and the best way to do this is by taking an ice-cold water bath.

Boosts Immune Function

There is evidence that suggests combining cold water baths with deep breathing and meditation can decrease the risk of bacterial infections. More research is needed into whether cold water exposure has the same effect on its own.

Furthermore, the cold shock when you enter the freezing water tells your body's immune response system to generate more white blood cells to give your body the boost it needs to stave off an array of health conditions, from flu to cardiac arrest.

Metabolism and Weight Loss

Energy expenditure increases in cold temperatures. This is because your body has to work harder in cold temperatures to keep warm and maintain satisfactory energy levels than it does in warm or hot water. This increases the rate at which your body burns calories, especially when it has to convert white adipose tissue (fat) into brown fat, the good fat tissue.

Quality of Sleep

Physiologically, regular ice baths stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which facilitates overall rest and peace of mind, which in turn improves the quality of sleep.

Mental Health Benefits of Home Cold Plunge

Some of the mental health benefits that cold water immersion, including cold water swimming, has on your mood and state of mind includes the following:

Anxiety and Depression

It seems counter-intuitive, but cold water triggers the release of endorphins, known as the happiness hormones. The endorphins then promote a positive mood state, effectively creating a sense of optimism and diminishing stress.

Less Stress

The more tolerant of cold water you get, the better your body learns to regulate its internal workings, including the release of dopamine, another mood-elevating hormone that helps you better manage stress.

Put the hormones together with the adrenaline released when your body experiences sudden immersion and goes into initial shock. The net result is a feeling of joy and boosted confidence. Optimism and happiness can even lessen the degree of pain.

Furthermore, a study has shown that cold plunging stimulates the vagus nerve which facilitates de-stressing and relaxation. In fact, regular ice water baths trigger specific cellular mechanisms and neural pathways that actually change the way your body reacts to stress, from overwhelming levels of stress to stress resilience.

Another mental health benefit is the release of norepinephrine and epinephrine, the fight or flight reflex. Cold shock triggers the release of these hormones at a rate that is five times higher than normal. This enables you to stay calm and think clearly in an environment that is full of stressors.

What You Should Know Before Trying Cold Water Therapy

There are a few things that you need to bear in mind when you want to start ice water therapy.

  • Consult a doctor first. This is important because if you have high blood pressure, circulatory problems, and extreme cold sensitivity, icy cold water temperatures aren't for you.
  • Don't try to set new time records every time you enter your cold shower or water tub. Keep your cold exposure to a maximum of 20 - 30 minutes. Beyond that, hypothermia will set in.
  • Accept your body's limits. Staying in the icy water while you shiver doesn't make you strong and powerful, but It could make you dead. Listen to your body. It's therapy, not a race.

Experience the Great Benefits of High-Quality Cold Water Tubs

Your shower or bathtub will suffice when you start with cold water immersion. However, a dedicated cold water tank will enable you to take your icy therapy to another level. Some of the features you could enjoy include temperature control, a timer, and lights so you can enjoy the beneficial effects of cold therapy at night.

RENU Therapy has a range of ice bath tubs for sale, including an inflatable traveling model. We also sell maintenance kits so you can keep your tub in good working order. Contact us via our onsite form or call (714) 617-2007 for more information.