Benefits of Cold Water Therapy

Immersing in cold water can be good for the mind, body and soul.


Wellness, Heatlh

(Michele Ursi /

If you’ve scrolled through social media lately, chances are you have seen people, men, women and sometimes even children, immersing themselves in cold, sometimes freezing water - by choice! It might seem a bit out there and extreme, but cold water therapy, also known as cryotherapy, has been around for years and years. In fact, according to  Everyday Health, the practice dates as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. 

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How cold water therapy works
Cold water therapy works by exposing your body to very cold water and then your blood vessels in the submerged area become more narrow and pressured. When that happens, blood flow is directed into your organs, such as the heart, brain and lungs. More blood equals more oxygen and nutrients, which is great for those major organs. Then, when you get out of the water and the blood vessels expand, blood flows into your tissues and waste-products, which are some things your body doesn’t need, are removed.

Cold water therapy, according to Healthline, can be done in several ways. Some jump right into it, literally, by going into an ice bath. Ice baths have a temperature of between 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s pretty cold! Other ways include cold showers with no hot water added at all, a short swim in cold water and warm-to-cold showers where you start off with warm water and gradually make the temperature cooler and cooler.

Icy does it: the benefits
If you are thinking of trying out this popular therapy, it is recommended to check with your physician first. Your doctor knows your medical background and what is best for you, and if cold water therapy would be beneficial to you. They can also recommend, if relevant, when the best time to do the cold water therapy would be for you. The Mayo Clinic explains that some prefer to do it right after a workout, while others do it first thing in the morning. The amount of time spent in the water and how often you do it are also important considerations. 

If you get the green light, the benefits can be pretty cool. Literally. From helping with regulating the nervous system to decreasing stress and improving your mood, from metabolism boosting to decreased muscle pain, cold water therapy may be pretty life-changing, reports Forbes. These benefits promote overall wellness, not just physical health. So if you are ready to try something new and it is safe for you to do so, go ahead and break the ice and give cold water therapy a try. Your mind, body and soul will thank you for it.

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