Backed by Science
Reduced Inflammation: Cold water immersion may have anti-inflammatory effects due to the constriction and dilation of blood vessels, helping to reduce inflammation in muscles and tissues. This is particularly beneficial for athletes after intense workouts or competitions.
Boosted Endorphins: Immersing in cold water induces the release of endorphins in the brain, promoting feelings of well-being and relaxation. This release can reduce stress and improve mood, potentially helping manage anxiety and depression.
Increased Alertness and Focus: The mammalian dive reflex triggered by cold water immersion causes peripheral blood vessels to constrict, redirecting blood flow to vital organs and increasing blood pressure and heart rate. This process also triggers the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline, leading to increased alertness and focus.
Improved Immunity and Antioxidant Activity: Research supports benefits like boosts in immunity and antioxidant activity. A study found increased norepinephrine and dopamine levels after winter swimming in cold water for six weeks, and another study reported that people who showered in cold water daily were 29% less likely to self-report an illness
Mental Health Benefits: Cold water swimming has been linked to improved tolerance for stress and reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, it’s important to note that many of these studies are small or rely on self-reported data
These benefits highlight the potential positive impacts of cold plunge therapy on both physical and mental health.