1. Reduced Pain & Inflammation
Cold water therapy has long been a popular option for recovering from a long workout. Indeed, a group of researchers in Hong Kong found that cold water immersion after frequent exercise led to decreased pain and inflammation for up to 24 hours after the workout.
However, cold therapy isn’t just for professional athletes.
While the researchers from Hong Kong didn’t directly address whether cold therapy also has the same effects for people with chronic pain, other studies have found that cold exposure can sometimes help with pain caused by rheumatism, fibromyalgia, and other similar conditions.
2. Increased Metabolic Output
Although many people use cold water therapy as a post-exercise recovery tool, there’s some research that suggests that cold exposure can actually increase your metabolic output.
A 2014 study from the Netherlands found that frequent exposure to extreme cold caused something called cold-induced thermogenesis in humans. This means that exposing yourself to extreme cold could potentially kick-start your metabolism.
For many folks, this increase in metabolism could lead to some weight loss. However, more research is needed to fully understand the links between cold water therapy and weight loss.
3. Heightened Immune Response
Making cold water therapy part of your regular routine could help your body deal with physiological stress. In fact, in a 2019 proof of concept trial, a group of researchers from the Netherlands found that combining cold exposure and breathing exercises elicited an enhanced immune response from study participants.
This might sound like a lot of technical jargon, but the idea is that spending time in the cold can help prepare your body to better manage tough situations. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, the initial study suggests that cold therapy could help us become more resilient in times of physiological stress.
4. Enhanced Mindfulness
While proponents of cold water immersion often focus a lot on the physical benefits of the practice, regular cold water therapy’s advantages extend well beyond your muscles and joints.
In fact, many folks use cold water therapy as a way to become more mindful and in tune with their bodies. Some people even use regular ice baths to help them sleep better or to lower their stress levels. Meanwhile, others use cold plunges to help them reconnect with themselves and find their inner peace.
Although everyone’s response to cold water immersion is slightly different, most people find that it helps them relax and recover from the bustle of day-to-day life.
5. Improved Mental Fortitude
Finally, cold water therapy can also help you build the mental fortitude you need to tackle the challenges of everyday life.
Building up the courage to willingly submerge yourself in cold water on a regular basis isn’t easy. Making ice baths a regular part of your routine can help you build resilience and enhance your mental strength so that you can handle anything that comes your way.