Would you take a dip in freezing arctic waters? What about sitting for a few minutes daily in a tub filled with ice water? Although at first blush, this may sound like torture, ice bathing is an ancient therapy that has been practiced through the ages and is touted for its potent healing benefits.
From the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans through the Renaissance period until today, the use of spas and hydrology for relief from various physical ailments has been widespread. In the mid-1700s, two physicians Floyer and Currie, employed cold water therapy to treat physical and mental conditions. The fascination with and use of cold water therapy has continued down through time.
From ice packs to ice baths
When you injure yourself, you may reach for an ice pack to reduce swelling and pain, which is a good thing. The ice pack will likely bring great relief to the injured area. In the same manner, ice bath therapy minimizes pain and can also accelerate recovery between workouts. Professional athletes have long been known to incorporate cold bathing in their recovery routines. However, it has been found that the benefits of cold water bathing are even more expansive than easing muscle soreness and pain.
Benefits of cold water bathing
When you take a dip in an ice bath, a few things happen. The skin is cooled, which makes the body work harder to keep the internal temperature constant, and at the same time, this increases blood flow to all areas of the body.
Here are just some of the documented benefits of taking a dip in a nice cold tub of water.
Immune system boost, infection and disease protection
We all could use an immune system boost, right? In addition to eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, good sleep, and managing stress, you might want to consider adding cold water bathing to your immune-boosting regime.
A clinical trial in the Netherlands discovered that people who routinely took cold showers called out of work 29% less often than those who did not engage in this chilly practice. Exposure to cold also increases leukocytes in the body, which helps protect from disease. Daily exposure to cold in shower or bath form increases the numbers and activity of cytotoxic t-cell and NK cells which prevent and attack tumor cells. Furthermore, a quick immersion in ice-cold water increases the blood-brain barrier permeability, which is thought to hle[ keep some infections at bay.
Boosts energy, metabolism, and weight loss
At a plateau with your weight loss? Jumping in ice-cold water sends adrenaline and noradrenaline – also known as catecholamines – along with endorphins, skyrocketing. This makes you feel energized and really good. Research shows that even dipping in 57-degree water increases catecholamines by 530 percent. Additionally, ice baths may improve metabolism and help you shed unwanted fat. One study on human metabolism found that exposure to cold helps white fat act more like brown fat – known as the “good fat.” Brown fat helps with insulin sensitivity which can help with metabolism and weight loss. Cold therapy has also been found to reduce blood glucose in persons with Type 2 diabetes.
Speedy recovery from exercise
As mentioned above, cold therapy is popular amongst professional athletes who use it to help speed up recovery between workouts, games, or events, but this can benefit anyone who engages in everyday physical activity. It is swelling and lactic acid that causes muscles to become sore after a workout. Dipping in a cold bath constricts blood vessels which ease this soreness. One study found that submerging in an ice bath after a hard run helped increase tissue oxygenation and promote muscle repair. It appears that cold therapy also provides pain relief due to injury – just like an ice pack. A meta-analysis done in 2014 found that cold therapy’s effect on pain even lasts once the body has warmed up.
Improved brain function and mood
Need a brain boost? Dipping your body in some icy water may help you focus. Cold therapy causes the feel-good neurotransmitters known as endorphins to increase while increasing noradrenaline in the brain. This gets the body ready for action and helps to sharpen focus. The skin contains a large number of cold receptors that, when exposed to cold, send impulses to the brain. This may result in an antidepressant impact.
Additional therapeutic benefits of ice bathing may include:
- Healthier, more vibrant skin and hair
- Reduced risk of premature birth for pregnant women
- Improved athletic performance
- Reduction in symptoms associated with psoriasis and other skin conditions
- Reduced risk of injury
- Reduction in anxiety
Take an ice bath at home
Now you don’t have to travel to the far northern hemisphere to enjoy all the benefits of an ice-cold bath. No, you don’t have to fill your tub up with ice cubes either. Morozko Forge had made it easy to enjoy all of the benefits of cold water therapy in the comforts of your own home. Morozko Forge makes the only ice bath in the entire world capable of maintaining cold temperatures. Their baths come highly recommended by health professionals, athletes, and those who know the benefits of cold therapy. Find testimonials from satisfied customers and various ways to incorporate a Morozko Forge cold bath into your wellness routine and studies to support the use of cold therapy here.
Don’t worry; once you get over the initial shock, your body will soon crave regular ice baths. Happy plunging!!
-The Backyard Vitality Team
Note: Seek medical advice from your medical practitioner before exposing your body to cold therapy.