Let me ask you this –
Have you ever had a cold shower (and I mean cold), for 3-5 minutes, willingly?
Not many people I know said yes, rather they questioned “why would you?“.
Well, truth be told it’s actually one of the best therapies for you, your state of mind and body (internally and externally). In fact, any cryotherapy is a must.
When we are exposed to ice cold temperatures, our bodies go into a fight-or-flight response, designed to keep us from freezing. When you expose your body to extremely cold temperatures, blood rushes to our vital organs to protect them for as long as possible – as this happens, our blood rushes through our cardiovascular system, where it’s cleansed of toxins and supplied with oxygen, enzymes and nutrients. This process is known as vasoconstriction.
Then when you are out of the cold temperatures and suddenly exposed to warm air, that oxygenated, nutrient rich blood rushes right back out to your toxin-cleansed peripheral tissues. That process is called vasodilation.
Cryotherapy can be done in a few ways, through ice packs, ice massage, coolant sprays, ice baths, cryosaunas, or even your home cold shower (which is FREE).
Benefits of Cryotherapy
To elaborate on a few:
Improves the Lymphatic and Immune Systems
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that run throughout the body, helping take away waste, bacteria, and microbes from your cells, essentially cleansing your body. your lymphatic system relies on muscle contraction to pump the lymph fluid through the vessels. So if you don’t exercise or your lymphatic system it can become slow or inefficient, the fluid stagnates and toxins build up, manifesting in colds, joint pain, infection and even disease.
Cold water immersion causes your lymph vessels to contract, forcing your lymphatic system to pump lymph fluids throughout your body, flushing the waste out of the area. This then triggers the immune system’s white blood cells to attack and destroy any unwanted substance in the fluid. The cold water effects the lymphatic system, which in turn affects the immune system, which ultimately keeps you feeling happy and healthy.
Improves Your Circulation
Cardiovascular circulation happens to be one of the most critical components of our overall health and well-being. With poor cardiovascular circulation, not only is the blood flow compromised, the heart becomes stressed. And this can ultimately lead to fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, muscle cramping, or even heart attack and stroke. With improved circulation, on the other hand, we can improve heart health, enhance mental performance, boost the immune system and the metabolism, and simply give ourselves more strength and energy to live our lives.
Exercise and diet are two well-known ways to improve circulation. But cold water immersion can also stimulate blood flow. When you immerse your body in the cold, the blood rushes to surround your vital organs. Your heart then is forced to pump more efficiently, pushing blood through all your vessels and supplying every part of your body with the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Do this on a routine basis and you can help promote healthy blood circulation, and, ultimately, a healthy body.
It Reduce Muscle Inflammation
Have you ever participated in a high-intensity workout and felt sore for days after? This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and, for many, it can be so painful that anti-inflammatory medication is used.
Any activity that pushes your muscles beyond the limits they are accustomed to can lead to microscopic tears in the fibres and inflammation of the tissue. But cold-water immersion proven to help counteract these side effects.
Cold water lowers the damaged tissue’s temperature and constricts the blood vessels. This helps reduce the swelling and inflammation and even numbs the nerve endings to bring immediate relief to any pain.
It Can Create a Sense of Wellbeing
Feeling down? Try taking that cold shower, or jump into a cryosauna. It may seem like a superficial fix, but the benefits of cold water immersion actually run deeper than you think when it comes to boosting your mood.
Things like cold showers can also help treat depression symptoms, and if used on a routine basis. This is because cold water triggers a flood of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, which makes you feel happy.
It Can Increase Mental Toughness
Forcing yourself to do something you really do not want to do will make you a stronger person.
There is no better way to get out of your comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone on a regular basis can have a knock-on effect into all areas of your life, and we only truly grow and learn as human beings on the edge of what you are comfortable with. Staying in the comfort zone will lead you to a life of being unfulfilled, never reaching your potential.
It Can Reset your Temperature Regulating System
If you are someone that always feels cold, exposure to the cold can be a great way of resetting your bodies temperature control.
In the modern western world, many of us have lost the ability to keep ourselves warm. We are kept a constant temperate by central heating or warm clothing.
Over time your body can become dependant on external sources of heat, rather than relying on its own heat producing mechanisms.
The cold can reset your body to heat itself up. One of the many positive benefits of taking regular cold showers is feeling warm all the time! This can be incredibly beneficial for someone who battles with feeling cold all the time.
So into your daily routine, first things first – have a 3-5min cold shower. I would definitely start off under warm water then gradually lower the temp. Overtime gradually lower the temperature even more until your maximum. I would suggest timing the length of time you are under the cold water too to keep track.
You should not undergo whole body cryotherapy if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have a cold, fever, or seasonal infection (flu, sinusitis, etc.)
- Have a cold-induced asthma
- Have an open wound or sore (including teeth abscesses)
- Have severe hypertension
- Have a heart or cardiovascular and respiratory disease (which may include heart disease, hyper- or hypotension, angina, heart failure ischemic heart disease or other rhythmic conditions)
- Have acute respiratory disease
- Have a pacemaker
- Have seizures
- Have bacterial and viral skin infections
- Have acute kidney and urinary tract disease
- Are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Heart attack which dates less then 6 months
- Have severe anaemia