Posted on September 26 2020
We’re sure you’ve all heard the saying ‘take a cold shower’, but exactly does Cold Water Therapy (CWT) or Cold Water Immersion (CWI) do to the mind and body? We’ve done a bit of research and there are actually some legit health benefits.
Cold water helps to wake you up and can increase productivity by decreasing time dawdling around in the mornings. But what else can it do to improve mood? Scientists have found that dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter) was increased by 250% after sitting in cold water for up to an hour! We don’t expect you to hop in an ice bath for an hour, but it goes to show that even a quick cold shower can improve your mental health.
IMMUNE SYSTEM & METABOLISM
It has been shown that people who took consistent cold showers have significantly more white blood cells compared to people who didn’t. White blood cells are immune cells, which are involved in protecting your body against illness and infection. These cells flow through your blood stream fighting off viruses, bacteria and other bad guys. Daily cold showers has been contributed to a 29% reduction in sickness absence from work compared to regular ole warm showers! Lastly, it was found that metabolic rate during and after cold showers is also significantly increased to keep the body warm. BOOM healthy body!
The shock of cold water motivates faster breathing rate, higher heart rate and increased circulation. Big deep breaths allow more Oxygen to enter your body, which ramps up blood flow and increases oxygenation. Noradrenaline also plays a part in this. Noradrenaline (or Norepinephrine) is increased by the cold temperature and stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System to increase energy. Essentially, cold water wakes up your body and puts a bit of pep in your step!
Exposure to cold stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System which in turn increases anti-inflammatory markers in the body. To put it simply, cold showers or cold water immersion eg. Swimming in the ocean, can reduce PRO-inflammatory markers, and increase ANTI-inflammatory markers.
We’ve all seen professional athletes and super-fit influencers cringing in ice baths or wading around in the freezing cold ocean, and they’re actually onto something here. Cold-water immersion is super effective for muscle recovery. It does this by reducing muscle soreness and inflammation, and stimulating peripheral vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels in limbs and skin to maintain core temperature). Peripheral Vasodilation (widening of blood vessels in limbs and skin) occurs immediately after exiting the cold water, which helps to improve muscle reoxygenation and recovery. Basically, cold water reduces inflammation, which reduces soreness and muscle recovery/repair time.
SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?
1. Start small. We don’t expect you to go jumping into an ice-bath straight away. Have your regular lovely warm shower, and finish off with 15-30seconds straight cold water. Gradually increase the cold water time each week.
2. Breathe! Breathing is super important, and it actually helps. Try taking deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth.
3. Focus. Focus on your breathing, and how your body feels. Even focusing on the count-down helps!
You’ll feel amazing after, we promise! Let us know how you go