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Friday, July 12, 2024

Is Cold Plunging Really Good for You?

In the wellness world, cold plunging has emerged as the latest craze, captivating the attention of health enthusiasts and A-listers like Justin Bieber, Usher, Drake, Kendall Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and Madonna, to name a few. From athletes to actors, celebrities have been extolling the benefits of cold plunging—the practice of submerging yourself in very cold water—including heightened alertness, improved circulation and resilience against stress. Still, you might be wondering: what even is cold plunging, and is it worth being that freezing? L’OFFICIEL has the lowdown.

What is Cold Plunging?

As the name suggests, cold plunging, also known as cold water immersion therapy, entails immersing oneself in cold water for up to three minutes. However, if you’re new to cold plunging, you should start with a thirty-second plunge and build up a tolerance to it to avoid cold shocks and hypothermia. Oftentimes, it’s followed by a warm shower or sauna session to maximize the contrasting effects. This wellness tradition traces its roots back to ancient civilizations like ancient Rome and ancient Greece, where people used cold water baths for therapeutic purposes. 

What are the benefits of cold plunging? 

Though there have been many debates about whether cold plunges have significant benefits on your mental health, Andrew Jagim, Ph.D. from Mayo Clinic Health System notes that this type of cryotherapy is helpful in recovering from exercise, as it soothes body inflammation. “These benefits may be the result of rapid constriction of the blood vessels due to the cold water,” Jagim noted. “The cold can trigger responses in your body, such as decreased metabolic activity, alterations in hormone production and blood flow, and activation of the immune system,” Jagim added. 

Additionally, according to health.com, cold plunging can also help with stress relief and even anxiety. Based on a study conducted by Ala Yankouskaya, et al. and as referenced by Sherri Gordon from health.com, those who practice cold plunging end up “feeling alert and inspired. They also had less stress and nervousness.” Similarly, in a TikTok post, Hailey Bieber also notes that one of the benefits of cold plunging is that it “has helped me a lot with anxiety and overall mood.” 

Overall, while individual experiences may vary, testimonies and research suggest that cold plunging holds promise as a holistic practice capable of nurturing both body and mind. 

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