TAKE THE PLUNGE!
We’re in the depths of winter with a few more weeks to go, and many of us might be so over the cold by now. So what if we were to tell you that taking cold plunges / baths during this time of year is actually a GOOD thing? We probably sound crazy, but this form of therapy is gaining some traction with celebrities and athletes alike and is proving to offer amazing benefits. We wanted to look into it, because let’s face it: we love finding comfort in the discomfort! Let’s dive in.
DISCLAIMER: We aren’t doctors, but you should speak with one if you are considering experimenting with cold plunges or other forms of cold therapy, as there could be risks. Listen to your body and do what’s right for YOU.
Have you ever heard of Wim Hof? He’s like the grandfather of cold water immersion. Nicknamed “The Iceman,” this Dutch daredevil has defied all odds, from running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle, wearing ONLY shorts (that’s right, not even sneakers or socks!), swimming 66 meters underneath ice, and climbing some of the highest mountains in the world with minimal clothing. In fact, his craziness has earned him 21 Guinness World Records. He’s made scientists’ heads spin with the level of authority he has over his body. By controlling his breathing and exposing himself to harsh conditions, he’s been able to sustain ultimate health as it relates to weight, immunity, sleep, and more.
Cold plunges are a daily occurrence for him (the same way snacking is for us). He says that “breathing and using cold, through cold showers and experiences, provides a boost of performance compared to anything that would be possible if the person had not done that.” His full devotion to cold plunges is reasonable considering the many benefits it provides to the mind and body. Some of the benefits include:
- Stress Management
- Better Sleep
- Improved Mood
- Boost in Energy
Cold plunges have a deep history, with humans as far back as 3500 BC using this type of healing for therapeutic purposes, relaxation, and even socialization. Hippocrates was a huge advocate for cold therapy, dedicating a sufficient section to thermal water in his work “De is, a quiz at loci”, saying that changes of habits and environment including bathing, perspiration, walking, and massages help to lower inflammation in the body.
So how does it work exactly? The idea is that a cold plunge allows blood vessels to expand, directing blood to your vital organs and tissues to help remove waste products, such as lactic acid, and lower inflammation. Furthermore, “proper blood flow leads to a healthy heart, strong immune system, solid mental health, and high levels of energy.”
But maybe cold plunging just seems too much of a jump. If that’s the case, you could also try cryotherapy. It only lasts 2-4 minutes and just as much, if not more, effectiveness than the cold plunge in a short amount of time. Beginning with bundling up your extremities with gloves, socks, and a face covering in order to avoid frostbite, cryotherapy involves sitting or standing in an enclosed chamber that’s been cooled (we’re talking between −100° C and −140° C cool) with liquid nitrogen. Your body will create a defensive response to the frigid cold, even though the body isn’t in danger, and will in turn produce phenomenal benefits like reduced inflammation and pain and increased collagen production.
At LesserEvil, we’re always looking for ways to help build our bodies to their greatest potential. We’re embracing new and innovative methods to make us stronger than we were yesterday from the inside out. We understand that not every extreme concept is fit for everybody, and we celebrate the small wins just as much as the big ones!
Question is: are you ready to take the plunge?