Unlocking The Body's Super Powers W/ Cold Therapy
By: Terry Barga
Cold dips, polar plunges, and cryotherapy, oh my! Not everyone is head over heels for this ever-increasingly popular trend.
But that is likely because they don’t know the proven benefits. Science is still being explored on the wonders of ice bathing. In this article, we will share many benefits so that you can decide for yourself.
An ice bath, also known as cold water immersion therapy, is a therapeutic practice that involves immersing the body in cold water for a short period. Athletes have used ice baths for decades to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and promote recovery after intense physical activity. But beyond its application in the sports arena, ice baths also offer a range of other health benefits.
One of the primary benefits of an ice bath is its ability to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or illness, but excessive inflammation can lead to chronic pain and disease. Cold water immersion helps to constrict blood vessels, reduce swelling, and limit the release of inflammatory chemicals, which can help to reduce pain and promote healing.
Another benefit of an ice bath is its ability to speed up recovery after exercise. Intense physical activity can cause microscopic tears in muscle fibers, leading to soreness and stiffness. Cold water immersion helps to reduce muscle inflammation and promote circulation, which can help to repair damaged tissue more quickly. Additionally, ice baths can help reduce the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles, contributing to fatigue and soreness.
Ice baths can also provide a range of mental health benefits. For example, cold exposure triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. This can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Cold water immersion has also been shown to improve cognitive function, increase mental alertness, and promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.
In addition to its physical and mental health benefits, ice baths can also help to boost the immune system. Cold exposure stimulates the production of white blood cells, which fight infections and diseases. And can help to reduce the risk of illness and improve overall immune function.
Ice baths may also have benefits for those with certain medical conditions. For example, cold water immersion will improve symptoms in individuals with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis. While more research is ongoing, ice baths may offer complementary therapy for individuals with these conditions.
While ice baths offer a range of benefits, it’s essential to approach cold water immersion with caution. Ice baths should be avoided by individuals with certain medical conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease, heart disease, or hypertension. Additionally, ice baths should only be used for short periods, typically between five and fifteen minutes and individuals should gradually build up their tolerance to cold water immersion over time.
The anecdotal evidence supporting the view that cold water immersion boosts the immune system is overwhelming. Studies where we hear “I haven’t been ill for years” are in no short supply. But, because the immune system is one of the most complex functions in the human body, no robust scientific studies can prove it – yet. We know the cold adapt our body in all manner of ways. Along with many others, at Brass Monkey, we believe that our immune system learns, adapts, and hardens the body to disease and infection.
Cold exposure increases our metabolism at a cellular level. For example, a protein called ‘PGC-1alpha’ is stimulated when we immerse ourselves in the cold. It’s another target for pharmaceutical giants in developing treatments for obesity, diabetes, and cardiomyopathy. In muscle tissue, the increased energy released heightens our aerobic capacity, improving endurance and fatigue resistance.
The vast increase in Norepinephrine production is the most significant biological influence of cold exposure on the body. A consistent 200-300% rise that doesn’t diminish over time. And, the colder the temperature, the more robust the body’s response. The same increase can be achieved from 20-30s in near-freezing water, compared to a 6-hour walk in 16°c weather.
In conclusion, ice baths offer a range of benefits for both physical and mental health. Cold water immersion is a powerful tool for overall wellness, from reducing inflammation and promoting muscle recovery to boosting immune function and improving mood. However, it’s essential to approach ice baths cautiously and consult with a healthcare professional before beginning a cold water immersion regimen.
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What Are The Pros and Cons of Massage Therapy. https://drtrust.in/blogs/body-massage/the-pros-and-cons-of-massage
Cold showers: a scientist explains if they are as good for you as Wim …. https://theconversation.com/cold-showers-a-scientist-explains-if-they-are-as-good-for-you-as-wim-hof-the-iceman-suggests-181678
Cold Water Therapy — Optimyze. https://www.optimyze.me/therapies/cold-water-therapy