It’s no surprise that so many spa-goers pass on the optional cold plunge before their treatment. It’s easy to assume the chilly soak would be uncomfortable – especially compared to the popular steam, sauna or jacuzzi alternatives. What the cold plunge naysayers may not know is the quick cool down has an extremely long history and provides many wellness benefits that work in conjunction with the warm-temperature processes, too.
Serving different purposes to different cultures – the Ancient Romans incorporated the cold plunges as a key step in their elaborate bathing rituals, while early Chinese medicine was quick to identify the many health advantages spending time in lower temperatures had on the body.
Fast-forwarding to present time, we see professional athletes dunk themselves in pools of ice cubes to aid their fatigued muscles and joints after intense training sessions, but the benefits of a cold plunge can be for us regular folks, too! Here are a few reasons we recommend adding a cold plunge to your pre-spa ritual.
Increases Circulation. When the body temperature drops quickly, our heart rate quickens involuntarily. Getting our heart rate up is good exercise for our vital organ and increases its strength! This practice teaches our bodies to maintain a healthy blood pressure, which increases circulation. Healthy circulation can also help nurture our natural circadian rhythm (aka improve sleep!).
Reduce Inflammation. Similar to the practice used by sports therapists, cold plunges can help to soothe joint nerves and reduce soreness caused by inflamed or irritated muscles. The cold helps to revitalize those overused body parts to keep them healthy.
Mood Lifter. Because being dunked in cold water is typically an unfamiliar situation for the body to encounter, the body reacts by triggering sensory nerves to the brain, which can result in an elevated mindset and spike in energy.
Boost Immune System. Another physical reaction the body has to cold plunges is to naturally flush waste through the lymphatic system. As a result, this activates the body’s immune system to defeat undesired materials with our white blood cells. The practice helps strengthen the body’s response when it encounters this scenario and therefore keeps the immune system in fighting shape!