Cold Plunging Benefits 


Numerous studies have reported that cold water immersion can enhance recovery of performance in a variety of sports.

● Immersion in cold water temperatures has also been found to improve heart rate recovery and heart rate variability indices, indicating a more efficient return to baseline neural activity of the heart This may be due to increased venous return and cardiac output. 
● Additionally, cold water immersion has been found to accelerate parasympathetic reactivation following exercise, which may contribute to faster recovery from exercise-induced decrements in performance.
● Furthermore, cold water immersion has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and perceptions of fatigue. It may also enhance the recovery of muscle strength.The duration of cold plunging may depend on the water temperature, and the timing between cold water immersion and the subsequent exercise may also influence its effectiveness.

Overall cold water immersion promotes recovery by reducing inflammation and cellular stress, improving cardiovascular measures of recovery, accelerating parasympathetic reactivation, reducing muscle soreness and perceptions of fatigue, and enhancing the recovery of muscle strength. 

Energy & Focus

Cold water immersion has been shown to improve energy and focus through various mechanisms. 

● One way is by increasing mitochondrial proton conductance and expression of uncoupling proteins (UCPs) in muscle cells. Medical Research Council, Darren A. Talbot found that cold water immersion can induce oxidative stress, which activates avUCP and increases mitochondrial proton conductance. This thermogenic challenge of cold water immersion, along with repeated oxidative stress, may trigger the transcription and synthesis of avUCP, leading to improved energy production and focus. 
● Cold water immersion as a method of pre-cooling before exercise can improve performance in hot and humid conditions. Cold water immersion helps lower core temperature and reduce thermoregulatory fatigue, allowing individuals to maintain their energy levels and focus during subsequent activities.
● Cold water immersion has been shown to mitigate working memory decrements during cold exposure. Dr. Caroline R. Mahoney conducted a study where participants were immersed in cold water to induce substantial cold stress. They found that tyrosine supplementation during cold-water immersion can help improve working memory performance. Cold stress itself can affect cognitive performance, and tyrosine supplementation can counteract the negative effects, leading to improved energy and focus. 
● Dr. Simon S. Yeung investigated the effects of cold water immersion on muscle oxygenation and performance. They found that cold water immersion attenuated a reduction in tissue oxygenation, indicating improved oxygen delivery to the muscles. This enhanced oxygenation can contribute to improved energy production and focus during exercise. 

Overall, cold water immersion improves energy and focus by increasing mitochondrial proton conductance, enhancing recovery and reducing thermoregulatory fatigue, improving working memory performance, enhancing muscle oxygenation, and improving mood.

Mental Health

Reduces Depression & Anxiety

● Cold-water immersion has been found to facilitate positive affect and increase interaction between large-scale brain networks, which may have therapeutic effects on mood states. The stimulation of cold receptors in the skin during cold-water immersion may result in an anti-depressive effect concluded Didrik Esperland,  Institute of Health Sciences. 

● Additionally, the mammalian diving response, which is stimulated by facial immersion in cold water, may reduce inflammation through the stimulation of the vagus nerve. This combination of lowered core temperature and the mammalian dive response may make cold-water immersion, a potent method for disrupting chronic inflammation and potentially mitigating mental health decline found researcher Sam G. Moreton.

Reduces Stress 

● Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce stress through the activation of the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axes, leading to the release of cortisol and increased secretion of catecholamines. This stress response triggered by cold water immersion can have a beneficial effect on stress reduction 

● Think of it as it building your stress tolerence, where dealing with the stress of the cold water will make normally stressful tasks much easier. If that sounds like nonsense to you, then try it out! 

● Overall the evidence suggests that cold water immersion can have a positive impact on stress reduction through its effects on the stress response, pain sensitivity, inflammation, and recovery from exercise.

Improves Brain Function

● Cold water immersion has been found to have positive effects on brain function. One study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) found that short-term immersion in cold water facilitated positive affect and increased interaction between large-scale brain networks. The increase in positive affect was associated with changes in specific brain networks, including the medial prefrontal node of the default mode network, a posterior parietal node of the frontoparietal network, and parts of the salience network and visual lateral network. 

● These findings suggest that cold water immersion can have integrative effects on brain functioning and contribute to positive mood states.


● Although the research in this area is little to none, I can certainly speak from personal expierence. An icebath is not easy or something we might want to do all the time, but comparing it to the gym is a perfect example. By going even when I don't want to and doing it because I said you would, it stacks that undeniable proof that I'm a person of my word. Unlike repeating, "I am confident" 10 times in the mirror every morning, sticking to your word is evidence for yourself and the best way to become confident. 

● Another thing for me is the feeling after. During my cold plunges I focus on my breathing in the moment with the distant thought of how good it's going to feel after. This allows me to get through it and again similar to a workout, you feel like you did something. Actually you know you did something beneficial because it was something you didn't want to do, but by sticking to those 10 minutes or however long you subcounciously know you challenged yourself and won. You got that internal W which builds momentm to stack more and more W's. 


Cold water immersion has been found to promote better sleep through various mechanisms. 

● One of the main mechanisms is the reduction in body temperature that occurs during and after cold water immersion. The decrease in body temperature promotes sleepiness and the rapid onset of sleep. This thermophysiological cascade, with body heat loss promoting sleepiness, can facilitate the initiation of sleep.

● Although these results are not well established, there is some evidence to suggest that cold water immersion may indirectly influence melatonin release. Cold exposure has been found to increase sympathetic nervous system activity and stimulate the release of norepinephrine, which can affect melatonin synthesis and release. Additionally, the fluctuations in body temperature can influence melatonin production.

Weight Loss

Cold water immersion can contribute to weight loss through several mechanisms

● Activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT): Cold water immersion can activate brown adipose tissue, which is a type of fat that burns calories to generate heat. BAT activation can increase energy expenditure and contribute to weight loss. However, it is important to note that the effects of cold water immersion on BAT activity may be blunted in obesity.

● Increased energy expenditure: Cold water immersion has been shown to increase metabolic rate and energy expenditure. Exposure to cold temperatures stimulates the body to generate heat, which requires the burning of calories and can contribute to weight loss. Cold water immersion can increase metabolic rate and energy expenditure, potentially leading to greater calorie burn and weight loss.

● Appetite suppression: Cold water immersion has been associated with a decrease in appetite and food intake. This may be due to the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the release of hormones such as dopamine, which can suppress appetite. By reducing calorie intake, cold water immersion may support weight loss efforts.

● Increased fat utilization: Cold water immersion has been found to enhance fat utilization during exercise. This can be beneficial for weight loss, as it promotes the use of stored fat as a fuel source.

It is important to note that while cold water immersion may have potential benefits for weight loss, it should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise for optimal results. Additionally, individual responses to cold water immersion may vary, and it is important to consider personal comfort and safety when engaging in cold water immersion practices.

Immune Support

● Cold exposure has been shown to activate immune system markers. A study on cold acclimation found that it affected mRNA expression of immune cell markers in skeletal muscle. These changes suggest that cold exposure can modulate immune composition and potentially enhance immune function.

● Cold water immersion can cause vasoconstriction and subsequent vasodilation, leading to improved circulation. Improved circulation can facilitate the transport of immune cells and nutrients to various parts of the body, supporting immune system function.

● Cold water immersion may stimulate the lymphatic system, which plays a crucial role in immune function. The lymphatic system helps to remove waste products and toxins from the body and transports immune cells to areas of infection or inflammation.