Cold water therapy is gaining in popularity, but what’s all the hype about? While this wellness trend seems new on the scene, hydrotherapy of all kinds is a mainstay of natural medicine. NOW there is research to back it up, with mounting evidence to suggest that a cold shower, ice bath, or chilly swim may have a multitude of benefits. Need a reason to take the plunge and try cold water therapy? Some benefits may include:
Mood Boosting: One of the most exciting areas of cold water therapy research suggests it has an effect on anxiety and depression. What we know NOW is that cold water triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) to the brain, has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain, and activates the vagus nerve which connects the brain to the rest of the body and shifts the nervous system into a parasympathetic (relaxed) state. All of these elements contribute to decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression!
Immune Boosting & Detoxifying: The lymphatic system is a detox super-highway.. Cold water causes the lymphatic vessels to contract, and thus flushes lymphatic fluid into the bloodstream where it is processed and flushed through the liver and kidneys. This process alerts the body to unwanted viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens caught in lymphatic fluid so that white blood cells are deployed to attack and remove them. The result is immune system activation and a more effective white blood cell response process.
Increased Circulation: When cold water hits your skin, it constricts blood vessels and triggers the body to send blood to the deeper vital organs to keep them safe. This also means that the blood deeper in the body is circulating faster to maintain a healthy body temperature. After getting out of the cold, the heart will work to pump blood to the extremities and surface of the skin, and in doing so flood the body with an oxygen rich supply of fresh blood. This process reduces inflammation throughout the body and benefits the cardiovascular system.
Reduced Pain & Muscle Soreness: Because of the increased circulatory effects, a cold water treatment after exercise may help flush post-workout lactic acid from the muscles and reduce soreness. In addition, injuries will benefit from the constriction of blood vessels to help balance blood flow and reduce swelling, potentially speeding up recovery times.
Try it NOW, here’s how: This ritual takes a bit of courage! So start slowly by ending your shower with quick alternating hot/cold blasts of water, until you work up to longer stretches of cold (aiming for at least 3-minutes). Want to go to the next level? Consider an ice bath. Consult with your Doctor and research the process ahead of time to make sure it is medically appropriate for you. Then, fill your tub with cold water and ice before you hop in! Deep breathing exercises are an important part of the process, it helps you tolerate the initial discomfort as well as flood your body with oxygen.
We like to end a cold water ritual by massaging our Nourish by The NOW Hemp Calm Balm into any focus areas (such as injuries, a tight neck, or post-workout sore muscles). The warming effect from capsicum extract is a nice effect after the cold plunge! Shop online, in boutiques, or via our app NOW.