This is one of our most asked questions, and Daniel gives us a great top-level summary of the most well-known benefits of cold water immersion. But let’s have a quick overview of the full range.
The ice-cold benefits
When we step into cold water, changes are triggered in our nervous, immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. Using breathwork can advance this influence even further, adding the respiratory system to the list and temporarily altering our biochemistry.
A stronger Immune system
Our immune system is influenced by multiple factors and is highly complex. In isolation, the benefits of cold water immersion are hard to measure. But several studies now link cold water immersion to immune boosting benefits such as increased production of ‘killer T cells’ and lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell key to immune function.
We each have 70,000 miles of veins, arteries and capillaries moving blood around our bodies. For most, this great vascular tree is de-conditioned through lack of exposure to the big temperature changes it was designed to deal with. When we move between hot and cold, it gives those tiny muscles, governing blood flow, a serious workout.
Mental Alertness & Focus
Regular cold water immersion drives wakefulness, alertness, learning and attention, enhanced memory formation and retrieval. It also supports top-down regulation of pain. It also increases dopamine by 250%, a natural ‘feel-good’ hit.
Supports weight management
The cold triggers our metabolism, our internal furnace, by releasing free-form fatty acids (FFAs) and glucose. It also protects against insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes and atherosclerosis by inhibiting glucose production. The collaborative effects of vasodilation and vasoconstriction work together to switch our metabolism to fat-burning mode.
Inflammation is associated with many age-related diseases, including arthritis . Research indicates that cold exposure decreases inflammation in people with inflammatory conditions as well as aiding recovery after sport and exercise.
If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the science behind these benefits, why not download our free Deliberate Cold Exposure Guide