As a rising number of health influencers, celebrities, athletes, and trainers would gladly attest, immersing yourself in cold water has some distinct health benefits.
But what exactly is the science of cold water therapy? What exactly are the advantages? And how should you submerge yourself in cold water in the best and safest way?
In this essay, we’ll look into the studies on cold water immersion to address these issues.
What is the definition of cold water therapy?
Coldwater therapy uses water that is around 59°F (15°C) to treat or stimulate health benefits. Cold hydrotherapy is another name for it.
The practice has been practiced for millennia. New adaptations include ice baths, quick daily showers, outdoor swims, and cold water immersion therapy sessions.
What are the advantages?
Coldwater therapy proponents think it can enhance circulation, deepen sleep, boost energy levels, and reduce inflammation in the body.
While anecdotal evidence supports such benefits, little study has been conducted to back up these assertions.
Coldwater therapy, on the other hand, has some scientifically confirmed benefits. Let’s take a closer look at these advantages.
Muscle soreness is reduced.
Although the intricacies are still being debated, studies show that athletes who soak in cold water for short periods after exercise experience reduced muscle discomfort later on.
A small investigation
A study published in 2011 by Trusted Source discovered that cyclists who finished rigorous training sessions experienced minor soreness after immersing themselves in cold water for 10 minutes.
The same phenomenon was discovered in a 2016 study trusted Source with 20 individuals. Athletes who bathed in a pool of cold water (12°C to 15°C) after exercising reported more minor muscle discomfort than those who did not.
Coldwater relieves pain by constricting blood vessels, according to medical specialists. This lowers blood flow to the area — for example, an injury to which you’re putting ice — which aids in the reduction of swelling and inflammation.
One thing to keep in mind: If you’re utilizing cold water to help with muscle recovery, you might want to pair it with other tactics like stretching or active recovery.
If you’re overheated, you’ll cool off faster.
The evidence is clear: immersion in cold water can help reduce your body temperature far faster than simply resting in a relaxed atmosphere.
A meta-analysis published in 2015
A review of 19 research indicated that contact with cold water (about 50°F or ten °C) cooled overheated patients twice as quickly as recovery without hydrotherapy.
The important thing is to soak as much of your skin as possible. This entails immersing your entire body in cold water rather than just running your wrists under a cold faucet.
Depression symptoms may be alleviated.
Coldwater is not a panacea for any mental health issue. However, specific case studies indicate that cold open water swimming can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in some people.
One such case study includes a woman who had suffered from anxiety and depression since she was 17 years old. She began a trial program of weekly open water swimming when she was 24 years old.
Her symptoms improved so much over time that she was able to quit taking medication to alleviate them. Her doctors discovered that daily swimming still kept her depression symptoms at bay a year later.
Researchers discovered that a schedule of short, twice-daily cold showers reduced depressive symptoms in another study trusted Source. However, it should be noted that none of the individuals in this study had previously been diagnosed with depression.
It is possible that it will strengthen your immune system.
There is some evidence that cold water therapy can boost the immune system. In theory, this would increase your ability to battle sickness.
Researchers explored whether people might consciously affect their immune response by practicing meditation, deep breathing, and cold water immersion techniques in one Dutch study trusted Source. The outcomes were favorable.
When participants in the study were exposed to a bacterial illness, the group that applied these approaches experienced fewer symptoms. In reaction to the disease, their systems produced more anti-inflammatory substances and fewer pro-inflammatory cytokines.
It’s worth noting that the researchers found the breathing techniques were more influential than the cold water immersion in this case. They did, however, attribute cold water to the development of a type of stress tolerance over time.
According to a reliable source, everyday exposure to cold water could improve antitumor immunity over a period of weeks or months.