The weather is definitely getting colder since it is already autumn season. Now one might think, taking a bath in cold water would be dangerous but that is not the case. Taking an ice bath from time to time is very beneficial to your body. Just like any other thing, taking an ice bath should be done moderately and not always. If you do an ice bath all the time, then that is where it will be dangerous for your body. Believe it or not, ice baths — also referred to as cold water immersion (CWI) by medical pros — have been around for hundreds of years, and have long been used for holistic wellness, not just sprained joints or fatigued muscles. Ice bathing is usually done by athletes after a day of training but regular people can do it too! A traditional ice bath calls for someone to be submerged in icy water anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, ranging with experience; the water isn't actually freezing, however. A journal review establishes that the best temperature for ice baths is between 50℉ and 59℉, which will certainly feel like ice... without actually causing further damage to your body. Individuals often become more accustomed to the chill of an ice bath over time, and factoring one into your regular routine can provide benefits.
If you are curious what all the buzz is about, here are some potential benefits and drawbacks to help you decide if it’s worth taking the ice bath plunge.
Reduces swelling and inflammation. When you sit in cold water, your blood vessels constrict. It is thought that this constriction improves post-exercise swelling and inflammation which may cause pain and muscle destruction after activity. Rapid cooling has been used in postoperative patients to improve outcomes after surgeries; often, there are improvements in pain management, the overall range of motion, and bodily function in those who have undergone a knee replacement.
Soothes sore muscles. There is some initial evidence that, compared to typical rest, cold water immersion can be effective at reducing delayed muscle soreness after intense physical activity. This is thought to be due to the pain-relieving effect of cold water. Ice bath submersion helps repair damage associated with intense physical training. When you immerse yourself in ice cold water, your blood vessels constrict; when you get out, they dilate. This process helps flush away metabolic waste post-workout, especially in the lymph nodes, the clear fluid made up of white blood cells and fluid from your intestines. Increasing your blood flow floods your cells with nutrients and oxygen to help your body recover faster.
It boosts your metabolism & immune system. It’s a no-brainer that a healthy diet combined with regular exercise helps yield results for your physique. But by also exposing your body to colder temperatures, you can alter the behavior of your fat cells. The body contains two types of fat—unhealthy white fat and beneficial brown fat. Unlike the tissue in white fat cells, the tissue in brown fat cells converts energy into heat. This process called thermogenesis has been shown to help with metabolic function and the prevention of weight gain. Cold water immersions have been shown to trigger this process and therefore help to boost your immune system and maintain weight.
It trains you to stressful situations Cold water immersion (CWI) can trigger a floodgate of mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain by awaking a natural ‘fight-or-flight’ response. This response to ‘environmental stress’ works by conditioning the brain to cope better with the stressors of everyday life. It also decreases the production of inflammatory cytokines which are linked to anxiety and depression. After the initial temperature shock, our bodies are able to calm down and become more resilient to changes in our environment.
It helps you sleep better. Based on studies that advocated CWI therapy, regulation of cortisol levels was shown to improve symptoms of depression and reduce the instance of sleep-related disorders. Ice bath can also help your central nervous system by aiding in sleep, and consequently, making you feel better from having less fatigue. It’s not uncommon to hear “I slept like a baby that night” after cold water immersion. It makes you enjoy a good night’s sleep thanks to the body natural tranquilliser – the nervous system. It’s especially important for athletes to ensure they’re getting the appropriate quality and quantity of sleep for optimal performance. The reason the iCool water therapy set up holds promise as a technique for better sleep is because rest habits are triggered and regulated by the brain and the nervous system.