Cold Water Immersion Therapy (Cold Plunge)
Enhance Your Well-being and Maintain Optimal Performance in All Aspects of Your Life.
Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve muscle recovery, a wellness enthusiast looking to boost your immune system, or a professional looking to level up your productivity, you can benefit from Cold Water Immersion (CWI) or cold plunge therapy.
CWI is a form of cold water therapy that involves a person immersing their body in cold water to reap a series of health benefits. Benefits include an improved physical condition, optimized blood circulation, a mental health boost, and quicker fat burn — all from the comfort of our controlled temperature cold plunge.
What Is Cold Water Immersion?
CWI is a process involving the immersion of the body into cold water (≤15˚C/59˚F).
There are many benefits one can get from cold water immersion therapy, especially if we regularly immerse our bodies in cold temperatures for short periods of time. In the last decade, studies have been coming out with more and more benefits of CWI.
Consequently, CWI is gaining more popularity and advocates from athletes and people with physical ailments to entrepreneurs and professionals alike.
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How does cold immersion work?
The main idea is that by willingly exposing our bodies to the stress of cold water, we can regulate our nervous system and learn how to better manage stress.
The human body’s response to the cold is similar to how we respond to other stressors in life. This includes reactions such as an elevated heart rate, feelings of panic, body contractions, and shallow breathing. Intentionally subjecting ourselves to distress helps us cope with stress better, and that’s precisely what makes cold immersion so impactful.
Holos MD practices The Wim Hof’s Method which is built on three important pillars. These pillars, which are breathing, controlled exposure to cold, and commitment, allow us to deal with the cold. Over time, our bodies have become accustomed to modern-day comforts and are therefore no longer used to cold conditions. Getting your body ready to cope with the cold can lead to some real health improvements.
“IF WE ALWAYS CHOOSE COMFORT, WE NEVER LEARN THE DEEPEST CAPABILITIES OF OUR MIND AND BODY.”
WIM “THE ICEMAN” HOFF
Benefits of Cold-Water Immersion
Cold water immersion helps activate your body’s natural healing ability, which relieves the symptoms of various medical conditions, like inflammation and muscle soreness, providing fast recovery. While the thought of deliberately exposing your entire body to freezing-cold temperatures might sound counterintuitive, CWI has several scientifically-validated health benefits.
- Improves blood circulation
- Reduces inflammation
- Boosts the immune system
- Improves lymphatic movement
- Increases energy levels
- Triggers hormesis and improves resilience
- Speeds up physical recovery
- Boosts your mood
- Helps burn fat
- Offers neurocognitive benefits
Frequently Asked Questions
Cold plunges are an immersive experience, encouraging the body to reset on a deep level, boost immunity, and increase endorphins. Evidence also suggests that it is extremely effective in using muscle contractions to work the lymphatic system, moving the built-up toxins and fluids through and out of your body. You’re looking at fewer colds and infections, less joint pain, and a stronger immune system.
The plunge is typically set between 45–50 degrees. If this is your first time using the plunge, we recommend 50–55 degrees to start.
Yes, it is 100% safe. Will it be uncomfortable? Most likely, yes. Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise or recovery therapy. Cold therapy at Holos MD takes the guesswork out of learning what works best for you because your protocol is customized and can evolve over time as your needs change.
In an intimate and super relaxed environment, we walk you through a step-by-step process of using your breath to regulate your stress response in increasingly colder temperatures so that you see the greatest benefits.
You will learn to control your breath and maintain focus until a calm mind is achieved. Imagine how that skill will translate into the rest of your life.
Yes, bathing suits are required. If you forget yours at home, don’t worry, we have your back. A disposable bathing suit will be provided.
Our bodies know what to do and one of the first reactions to the cold is a change in circulation as low temperatures pull blood from the extremities to the bodies core. This movement of blood is one of the core benefits to help exercise circulatory pathways.
Cold water immersion transfers heat away from the body more effectively than air, which increases noradrenaline in your body 6x faster than cryotherapy. Cold water-produced noradrenaline increases mood, alertness, reaction time, thermogenesis, fat loss, pain relief, and anti-inflammatory activity.
Cryotherapy has a time limit of approx. 3 minutes per use using air, so it is hard to gain any benefits.
The most common cryotherapy tends to be full-body cryotherapy, which involves sitting in a cryotherapy booth for a short amount of time. A cryotherapy booth will expose your body to freezing or nearly freezing temperatures in order to address a particular physical condition. There are localized types of cryotherapy, though these tend to be more medical and used for either specific joint pain or freezing off warts.
One of the primary concerns for CWI practitioners is remaining ever-aware of the 4 stages of cold water immersion to ensure safe cold-plunging.
The 4 stages of cold water immersion include the following:
Stage 1 – Cold shock responses such as shivering and shortness of breath
Stage 2 – Swimming failure due to incapacitation of limb function
Stage 3 – Hypothermia
Stage 4 – Bodily system failure
The physiology behind cold water immersion is relatively simple. Plunging into cold water causes certain responses in the body that are undeniable. More and more research has been peering into the long-term benefits of this therapy, finding that regular practice over time can produce tremendous benefits.
When you immerse your entire body in cold water, the sudden temperature change causes blood vessels to constrict upon entry. When you get back out of the cold water immersion tub, your blood vessels then dilate, opening up to allow blood to flow back to the skin and muscles.