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What is Cold Plunging?

Dec 22, 2022

What is Cold Plunging?



There is growing health and fitness trend that has been cycling the social media circuit and that is Cold Plunging (aka cold-water therapy).



If you’re not familiar with it, it is a process where an individual purposely submerges themselves, sometimes even their head, into a stock tank that is full of ice-cold water or in ice hole in a lake.


The objective is to keep the majority of your body underwater for a given period with the belief there are positive health benefits.


I was instantly curious about delving into this new trend and here are just a few of the benefits circulating around the internet: improved muscle recovery time, reduced inflammation, immune system boost, increased energy levels, increased in brown fat levels, improved mood, and circulation.


What is Brown Fat? Most of us have both white fat and brown fat in our bodies. Very simply, white fat stores energy and calories while brown fat burns energy and calories. Because brown fat burns calories to generate heat, it is often referred to as the “good” fat.


Those are very enticing! Maybe you are asking what the research-based evidence is? Same here!


Since this is a relatively newer trend, there are more hypotheses available than factual data. The positive benefits of doing a daily cold plunge are still being explored.



Now that doesn’t mean we should totally disregard this as another “health fad” but rather have an approach that we just need to do more research.


My initial thought process after reviewing the benefits were mostly in favor of cold plunging because of my own experiences with another form of cold-water therapy, taking a cold shower. I take cold showers whenever I am feeling sore from a workout or am dealing with overall body or joint inflammation. The immediate relief I get once the cold water has a chance to restrict my blood vessels helps to limit the amount of blood in that area, resulting in less swelling and inflammation and leads to a decrease in pain.


Another reason I like cold water therapy is that I always feel more awake and refreshed afterward, whether that was due to a hormonal response my body produced or strictly a psychological response, the data is still being tested and researched. If you decide to dedicate yourself to this new trend, as always, consult with your primary care provider before jumping right in!