The benefits of a cold plunge bath date back to ancient Greece, when the Greek physician Hippocrates believed that it could relieve fatigue and reduce fever. In the 1700s, doctors began recommending cold plunges as a treatment for fever. Today, many people experience the same health benefits as those who use cold plunges. But should you try one? Here are some things to consider before deciding whether or not this method is right for you.
While many people may not think twice about a cold plunge, experts are still not convinced that it’s worth trying. A cold plunge can be beneficial in a number of ways, including increasing resilience and reducing inflammation. However, you should take note that a cold plunge is not a substitute for regular active recovery. If you want to boost recovery after training, you should consider using more than one method. Listed below are some benefits of cold plunges.
A cold plunge can boost your immune system and increase your glutathione levels. This molecule helps your body’s natural antioxidants function at their peak levels. Cold water also triggers the production of chemicals called cytokines, which help your body fight off harmful bacteria. Furthermore, cold water stimulates the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating involuntary functions. Studies have shown that participants who undergo cold water immersion four to five times a week were 40% less likely to contract respiratory tract infections. Additionally, the swimmers’ blood samples showed higher levels of antioxidant protection.
The best results come when you can endure the pain and discomfort of the cold water. Your body can adjust to the cold, but you must make the sacrifice of comfort in order to get extraordinary results. Cold is a common stressor, and regulating how your body responds to it can help you control the amount of stress you feel in many other areas of your life.
The ideal target time for a cold plunge bath is three minutes, but if you can’t tolerate three minutes, aim for five. After you have mastered the first three minutes, you can increase the length of your cold plunge by increasing the duration of your cold showers. It’s best to build up to five minutes in cold water, starting with a warm shower and building up to that. You can also take shorter dips to increase your tolerance, and you can start slowly with a single cold plunge.