5 Benefits of Cold Water Therapy and its Impact on Health

5 Benefits of Cold Water Therapy and its Impact on Health

Athletes often take ice baths after a game for a reason – the cold water reduces inflammation and accelerates healing. But what about non-athletes? Can cold water therapy offer relief from daily soreness and other health benefits?

Yes, it can! In this article, we will discuss five reasons why you should consider incorporating cold water plunges into your daily routine.

What is Cold Water Therapy?

Cold water therapy, also known as cold plunge therapy, is a natural technique that involves exposing the body to cold water. You can do this by taking a cold shower or bath, swimming in cold water, or visiting a cold plunge spa.

Wim Hof, known as the Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete famous for his tolerance to cold temperatures. He has set several world records, including the longest ice bath (nearly two hours). Although most people wouldn't want to spend that long in cold water, there are many benefits to cold water therapy.

Here are 5 of the benefits of cold water therapy:

  1. Improved Focus: Cold temperatures trigger the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that improves focus and attention. This can be helpful if you need laser-like concentration for a project.

  2. Reduced Stress: Everyone experiences stress, but did you know that cold water immersion can help lower it? Cold water releases endorphins, hormones that have mood-enhancing and pain-relieving effects. It also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. The Wim Hof Method (WHM), which includes cold water therapy, breathing techniques, and meditation, is being studied by the University of California San Fransisco for its effect on mental health and stress resilience.

  3. Increased Weight Loss: Approximately 1 in 3 US adults are overweight, and many are searching for ways to lose weight. Cold water therapy may help boost weight loss efforts. The body must work hard to maintain its core temperature in cold water, burning calories and boosting metabolism, resulting in fat burning. Cold therapy also increases the amount of brown fat, which helps burn calories and generate heat.

  4. Enhanced Immune Response: White blood cells in the body fight infections. Cold water therapy can boost the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and creating an adaptive antioxidant response that combats oxidative stress. A study published in the journal PLoS One found that people who take cold showers are less likely to miss work or school due to illness, although more research is needed.

  5. Relief from Pain and Soreness: Professional athletes use ice baths to relieve muscle soreness after a game. While non-athletes may experience increased hormone levels from cold showers, exercise enthusiasts may have the opposite effect. For example, research found that cyclists who took a cold shower after exercising felt more comfortable and their heart rates returned to normal faster than those who skipped the cold shower.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to cold water therapy. If you're looking to improve your overall mental and physical health, consider adding it to your routine and see how it makes you feel.



  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/911386/
  • https://www.science.org/content/article/fat-cells-feel-cold-burn-calories-heat
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6698197/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10751106/
  • https://virtualce.ucsf.edu/returntocare-making-stress-work-you-restoration-through-hormetic-stressors-and-wim-hof-breathing
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5025014/
  • https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225749
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688585/
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