Benefits of Ice Baths | Xtreme Ice Baths
Popularised by fitness enthusiast and health influence Wim Hof, peoples’ fascination with cold exposure therapies have always had their place in the world of physical treatment, but have since exploded into the mainstream in Covid’s wake, as people looked to keep their sanity intact in their time away from the world.
This interest in the benefits of ice baths becomes twofold, the more we hear that people take their ice baths for reasons that span both physical and mental planes.
Physical and Mental Cold Bath Benefits
Psychologically, taking a dip in an ice bath is an inductor for high stress, forcing your body to produce stress hormones – like cortisol and norepinephrine – as a means of coping with the extreme burden the cold has on your body.
Think fight or flight – as your body experiences a threat to its wellbeing, these hormones are released in order to prioritise survival. They foster functions like high blood pressure, the release of glucose in the bloodstream, and other energy-promoting processes that’d normally be necessary when we face predators, or other life-or-death situations.
These responses in the body are key to what happens to your mindstate. The production of these hormones is essentially part of your body’s ability to regulate stress, prompting transmitters to signal our mental processing into states of calm, relaxation and satisfaction, following the eventual acclimation of the stress as something we can recognisably manage.
And while all these interactions take place across our synapses, more is happening physiologically to our bodies – processes of pain relief, reduction of inflammation and a facilitated rate of recovery in muscle damage are all potential avenues here, historically making the cold dip a regular intervention for athletes at the top level.
For a more in-depth take, read on for using an ice bath for recovery!
Want to Know How Ice Baths Work?
Pushing through with the physical act of taking a cold plunge, you might stop and wonder from time to time – ‘what are ice baths good for?’
It’s a valid question, and the sight doesn’t exactly help – you sit in a container filled with ice water, and all the nuance of the practice escapes the moment as we grapple with its pressing chill.
How do ice baths actually work, though? What goes into the process that makes taking an ice bath a valuable experience in the first place? Read on to discover more!