Several people have joined in on the trend, posting on social media about how cold showers
and ice baths help them start their day.
While a cold shower or ice bath may seem like the last thing anyone wants to do after a
workout, being immersed in cold water has numerous alleged health benefits.
What Is Cold Water Therapy?
Cold water therapy simply refers to the therapeutic effects of cold water, but cold water
immersion (CWI), which involves immersing the body in cold water, is a type of cold water
treatment that is thought to aid the human body’s natural recovery process.
An ice bath is a training programme used in sports rehabilitation that usually follows a period of
intensive exercise. During a brief length of time, a significant portion of the human body is
immersed in an ice bath (or ice water) that is roughly 59 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees
Aside from ice baths, additional forms of cold water immersion include taking brisk daily
showers, swimming outside, and participating in cold water immersion treatment sessions.
What Is Cold Water Therapy?
Cold water therapy, also known as cold hydrotherapy or cold immersion, involves exposing the
body to cold water or ice for therapeutic benefits. This practice is believed to enhance physical
recovery, reduce inflammation, and improve overall well-being. It can include ice baths, cold
showers, or cryotherapy, aiming to trigger the body’s natural responses to cold. The cold
exposure is thought to constrict blood vessels, reduce swelling, alleviate muscle soreness, and
boost circulation. Athletes often use it for faster recovery after intense workouts, while some
embrace it for its potential immune-boosting effects. However, individuals should consider their
health conditions before adopting cold water therapy.
What Are the Most Common Cold Treatment Theories?
There will be some microtrauma and rips in the afflicted muscle fibers as a result of intensive
exercise. This muscular damage stimulates cell activity (hypertrophy in the long run) and aids in
muscle healing and strengthening. This is also suggested to explain the delayed onset
discomfort and soreness (delayed onset muscle soreness) that occurs 12-72 hours after
The cold bath will induce blood vessels to tighten. This has been proposed as a mechanism that
aids in the removal of waste products such as lactic acid from afflicted tissue.
Cold temperatures create a decrease in metabolism, which can result in a slowing down of
Swelling and tissue breakdown will be reduced by the chilly temperature.
Immersion in ice water is also thought to help move lactic acid.
Cold Water Treatment Has Scientific Support
Some scientifically confirmed benefits of cold water treatment include decreased muscle
soreness, less pain, improved physical recovery, the capacity to boost the body’s immune
system, increased alertness, and a faster cooldown for persons who are overheated.
Muscle Soreness is reduced
According to research, athletes who soak in cold water for a short length of time after exercise
experience reduced muscular discomfort later on.One study discovered that cyclists who
completed intense training sessions had less muscle soreness after being immersed in cold
water for 10 minutes, while another study discovered that athletes who were immersed in cold
water reported less muscle soreness than athletes who did not have any hydrotherapy (the use
of water, ice, or steam to relieve pain and promote health) after exercising.
According to one review, hydrotherapy has been frequently used for pain relief. Cold water (or
ice) can relieve discomfort by constricting blood vessels. This decreases blood flow to the area,
which aids in the reduction of swelling and inflammation.
Whenever an athlete sustains an injury, icing is usually a smart initial option.To relieve
discomfort, the wounded athlete can use an ice pack (or a bag of frozen vegetables) or immerse
the affected area in ice water.
Physical Recovery Has Improved
According to one study, cold water immersion and contrast water therapy (CWT) – using hot
water first, then cold water – can aid improve recovery and reduce fatigue. “CWT is most likely to
increase performance recovery when equal time is spent in hot and cold water, individual
durations are short (under a minute), and overall immersion duration is up to around 15
minutes,” according to the review.
Boosting the Immune System of the Body
There is evidence that cold water therapy can boost the immune system.According to one
study, those who had a cold shower were less likely to miss work due to illness than those who
took a warm shower. And because the researchers found no difference between persons who
took a cold shower for 30, 60, or 90 seconds, they concluded that cold water activates the
body’s immune system regardless of the amount of time spent in the shower.
Another study found that immersing young athletes in cold water three times a week for six
weeks offered their immune systems a small boost.
According to one study, cold showers have a variety of physiological impacts on the body,
including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. As a result of the effects on
the body, taking a cold shower may provide a sense of invigoration and make people feel more
According to one study, the most generally stated advantage of cold showers was a
‘improvement in perceived energy levels,’ with some respondents equating the impact to that of
Overheated Individuals Can Cool Off More Quickly
Cold water immersion has been found in studies to help reduce body temperature faster than
simply resting in a cool atmosphere.A study concluded that contact with cold water, roughly 50
degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius, cooled off overheated patients twice as quickly as
recovery without hydrotherapy.
Possible Cold Water Treatment Advantages That Need Further Investigation
Cold water immersion may also increase circulation, alleviate depression symptoms, and
reduce inflammation in the body, according to proponents of the technique. However, more
research is required to back up these assertions.
It is believed that when humans are exposed to cold water, blood flow to the skin is reduced. As
the cold water stops, the body has to warm up, which causes an increase in blood flow to the
skin’s surface.As a result, some specialists believe that this may increase circulation.
A study on cold water immersion after exercise discovered that blood flow to and from muscles
improved after four weeks.
Depression Symptoms Might Be Reduced
Cold open water swimming has been shown in studies to help relieve symptoms of depression
and anxiety in certain persons. According to several studies, cold water swimmers are naturally
calmer and more relaxed.
Another study discovered that taking cold showers on a regular basis, coupled with other
lifestyle changes, can help relieve depressive symptoms.
Inflammation in the body may be reduced
Some experts feel that cryotherapy, or immersion in cold water, aids in the reduction of
muscular inflammation and pain.
The Hazards of Cold Water Treatment
The medical and scientific community concur that ice baths can be hazardous to one’s health.
Hypothermia, shock, and the chance of sudden cardiac death are some of the potential hazards
of cold water therapy because cold water immersion alters a person’s blood pressure, heart
rate, and circulation, which can induce substantial cardiac stress.