Benefits of cold water therapy

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Benefits of cold water therapy

Bathing is something that many people do on a daily basis and is usually done with cold water. Well, switching up the warm water from your shower hose to some ice-cold water may seem like a bad idea but this kind of cold-water exposure has its benefits. There are many names for being exposed to cold water and one of them is cold water therapy, in this article we are going to be sharing exactly what this is and how this kind of therapy can be beneficial for you. The idea of being exposed to cold water isn’t anything new as we have been bathing in cold water for thousands of years before we could heat it.


What is cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy is when you immerse your body in cold water. This could include things like going for a swim in cold waters or bathing or showering in cold water. As long as the water is below 15 degrees Celsius it is classed as cold-water therapy and you should experience all the benefits of this kind of therapy. The idea of sitting in a bath full of cold water may not seem like the best idea, however this is practiced by many people around the word to improve their health and is also regularly done by athletes to improve their performance.

There are many different names for this kind of therapy and two commonly used names are cold water exposure and cold hydrotherapy. As well as being good for your body this kind of living can also be good for the environment. This is because we don’t need to burn fossil fuels to heat the water we are going to bathe with, and this may not seem like a lot, but it can build up over time. When we bather we use around 50 litres of water and over time not heating this water is going to make an effect to your heating bills and also the environment.


Boost immune system

Your immune system is your body’s defence against infections and diseases. Its important you keep your immune system healthy to improve its effectiveness in fighting disease. One way that cold water therapy can help you is that it has been studied to help your immune system and can keep it working effectively. At a workplace a study has shown that when employees had cold showers or bathed in cold water, there was around a 25% decrease in employees calling in sick with an illness. This is due to the cold water improving your body’s response to infections and radicals in your body.

Exposing your body to cold water can also increase the anti-inflammatory chemicals in your body which can reduce pain and inflammation. One chemical that is increases is adrenaline and this works as an anti-inflammatory in the body. This can also help with muscle pain from either an injury or a workout. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is the soreness your muscles feel after a workout. Exposing your muscles to cold water can help to relieve this pain and it can also reduce the swelling if you have any injuries.


Mental health

Your mental health is very important and is recently getting the recognition it deserves. Your mental health is just as important as your physical and you need to be doing things to keep your mind healthy. Exposing yourself to cold water can improve your mental health and one way it can do this is by relieving the side affects of depression. For example, one way it can help is by making you feel more energetic and willing to do things which counteract the laziness and unwillingness that comes with depression.

Cold water therapy can also help to increase the endorphins released in your body. These are chemicals in your body that control things like your mood and how you feel. Examples of these chemicals are things lie dopamine which is a chemical in the body that can make us feel good. This release of endorphins can help with other mental conditions like anxiety. Also, things like an increased heart rate which is an effect of anxiety can be reduced when exposed to the cold water. This can also be good for conditions like high blood pressure that opposes a risk to health.


Better heart health

Your heart is an important organ in your body, and this is something we need to look after throughout our lives. Cold water therapy can be beneficial for your heart health and one way it helps is by improving the circulation of blood around your body. This means that the blood flow around your body improves, and this makes it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. Your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to give nutrients to your organs and muscles which can improve its health. A strained heart can also lead to conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

There are also many other benefits to improved circulation. This can also include a better immune system as immune cells can travel quicker around your body. Also, you will feel like you have more energy as your muscles and brain gets the nutrients it needs through the blood stream. Although cold showers can be good for a healthy heart if you have any underlying health conditions then consult a doctor or medical professional before exposing yourself to cold water as there is a chance it could do more damage then good.


Better hair and skin

Your hair and skin are things that people look at first and are key to making a first impression. Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and like we look after our other organs its good to take care of your skin. As you may have guessed, cold water therapy can also be used to improve the health of your skin. One way it helps is because cold water doesn’t cause your pores to open like warm water does. The open pores then release oils stored in your skin, this oil can make your skin and hair greasy, and it can also lead to spots.

Taking cold showers or baths can also improve the skins response to injuries. For example, if you damage your skin or cut yourself then its will likely heal quicker and this is also down to the boosted immune function caused by cold water therapy. If you have itchy skin or conditions like eczema, then this can also be helps with cold water.  Also, the cold water can stimulate hair follicles. When you start using cold water this can cause your hair to appear thicker and longer as it has been stimulated to grow.


Weight loss

Shedding a few pounds and losing some fat is many peoples goals. Having cold water therapy has been seen to aid in weight loss and can make it easier to shed a few pounds. One-way cold-water therapy helps is by activating brown fat which is found in your muscles. This is a certain type of fat in your body that is activated when you get cold. This brown fat then goes to burn the white fat to keep you warm. This means that you are burning off calories and therefore losing weight. This fat is burned to try and keep you warm and raise your body temperature.

Also, as ice baths can relieve your muscles of their pain and reduce inflammation, this is also beneficial for weight loss as it means you will be able to train more frequently, resulting in more muscle growth and fat burned.  They can also counteract some of the harmful effects of being obese. This includes things like glucose intolerance and poor circulation.


In conclusion, cold water therapy has many different benefits and is something everyone should think about doing some time in their life. If you’re an athlete or sports person then there are many performance related benefits that can be gained by implementing cold water therapy into your life. If you believe the cold water may have a negative affect if you have any underlying health conditions, then seek medical advice before diving into some cold water therapy.