Cold body therapy is gaining serious popularity in recent years among athletes, celebrities, and everyday people based on its link to numerous health benefits.
Perhaps you have seen this practice popping up more and more. People are submerging in ice baths or subjecting themselves to whole body Cryo-therapy to receive the fantastic benefits of cold temperatures.
If the thought of an extreme approach of sitting in an ice bath or standing in a cryo-chamber doesn’t appeal to you just yet, I want to share with you a less intense approach that still has incredible benefits.
Many have discovered that adding cold showers to their daily routine provides similar benefits to the more extreme measures.
Wim Hof, also referred to as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures.
Hof recommends cold showers as a powerful method for receiving the fantastic benefits the cold has to offer.
He suggests taking your usual hot shower first and then at the end turning on the cold water for one to two minutes. This method allows you to receive positive benefits without going too extreme.
Let’s look at the benefits of cold immersion and why you should be adding it to your morning routine.
Cold therapy speeds up metabolism
Studies show that cold exposure boosts metabolism by increasing the amount of brown adipose tissue (brown fat) in the body. Brown fat is a special kind of fat that helps the body produce heat when it gets cold.
In other words, the cold exposure results in more brown fat as the body uses this particular fat to provide heat when exposed to the cold. More brown fat is the fat we want because it burns energy and calories, whereas white fat stores energy and calories.
The cold exposure sends a signal to our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response), causing a release of the hormone norepinephrine into the brown fat cells, which increases energy expenditure (boosts metabolism).
Cold immersion revs up the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that runs throughout the body enabling the body to cleanse itself by clearing out waste, bacteria, and microbes from your cells. Both exercise and cold water therapy help the lymphatic system function properly by causing the lymph vessels to contract.
When the vessels contract, they force the lymph fluids throughout the body and flush waste out of the area. Otherwise, the fluid remains stagnate, resulting in health issues such as joint pain, infection, and possibly disease.
In other words, regular exercise and cold therapy enable the body to function efficiently and prevent illness.
Improves immune function
The benefits of cold therapy on the lymphatic system also results in better immune function. When exposed to cold temperatures, the body produces more white blood cells. White blood cells are vital for immune function and help our bodies fight infection.
When the body is in distress, white blood cells rush to the area under attack to help destroy the harmful substance, making us less susceptible to illness and disease.
Thus an increase in white blood cells results in better immunity against dangerous and infectious diseases.
Coldwater immersion stimulates blood flow. When the body is in cold water, the blood rushes to surround our vital organs.
The heart is then forced to pump more efficiently. Pushing blood through the vessels while supplying every part of your body with oxygen and nutrients.
Increased circulation may also result in improvements in the skin due to the rise in blood flow. Proper circulation is imperative for our overall health and well-being because it contributes to heart health, better immunity, and enhanced mental performance.
Studies show that cold water immersion activates the sympathetic nervous system. This activation increases the synaptic release of noradrenaline, a mood-boosting chemical in the brain.
This increase in mood-boosting neurotransmitters may result in less depressive symptoms after implementing cold showers into your daily routine.
Cold showers are not an alternative to medication for those who suffer from depression. However, they can undoubtedly elevate chemicals in the brain that contribute to happiness.
Frequent exposure to cold is linked to many health benefits and should be implemented as part of your daily routine. This practice only requires a few minutes and can dramatically improve your physical and mental health.