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Cold Water Therapy - Myth or Magic?

Updated: Apr 9, 2023



Introduction

Cold water exposure has been gaining popularity in recent years as a method for improving physical and mental health. While the thought of submerging oneself in icy water may seem daunting, the benefits of cold water exposure are numerous and can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.



1. Boosts the Immune System


Exposure to cold water has been shown to activate the body’s immune system. When the body is exposed to cold water, it increases the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections and diseases. A study found that regular cold water immersion can increase the level of circulating white blood cells in the body, leading to a stronger immune system.



2. Improves Circulation


Cold water immersion causes blood vessels to constrict, which can help improve circulation. When the body is submerged in cold water, blood rushes to the vital organs to protect them, increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery. This can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the body.


3. Reduces Muscle Soreness

Cold water immersion has been found to be effective in reducing muscle soreness after exercise. After a strenuous workout, the muscles may become inflamed and sore, but immersing the body in cold water can help reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process.



4. Increases Energy and Alertness


Cold water exposure has been shown to increase energy levels and alertness. When the body is submerged in cold water, the shock of the cold water causes the body to release adrenaline and other hormones, leading to increased alertness and energy.




5. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Cold water exposure has been found to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety. The shock of the cold water can help increase the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood enhancers. Additionally, cold water immersion can also help lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.


6. Improves Skin and Hair Health

Cold water immersion can help improve skin and hair health. Cold water can help tighten pores and reduce puffiness, leading to a healthier-looking complexion. Additionally, cold water can help stimulate hair growth and improve hair texture and shine.





How to get started:

  • Begin small! Ease your way into cold water therapy. Example: at the end of each shower, turn the tap to full cold for 10 seconds. Practice this for 1 week. The next week, try 20 seconds! Then increase this each week until you get to 1 minute cold water at the end of each shower!

  • Focus on controlling your breathing. Your body's reaction is the gasp reflect. But you can control this with practice! Try and lower your breathing and heart rate as you get used to the water.

  • Notice how you feel after the cold water! You should feel energised, refreshed and full of zest!


How to do it:

  • Switch your shower to FULL cold for the last minute

  • Run a cold bath, use ice if available

  • Go to a local pool, beach or lake



Conclusion

The benefits of cold therapy have been explored for years, and the science behind them is finally starting to be understood. In this article, we'll explore some of these incredible benefits and how you can incorporate an ice bath into your wellness routine.



Good luck!



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Mr D, your online PE Buddy

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