Cold Water Therapy is a hot trend among athletes and others seeking better health. It can take the form of outdoor swimming in lakes and rivers, or a cold shower or even an ice bath. It’s been embraced by celebrities and athletes – from anecdotal hangover doctors who appear on TikTok to the Wim Hof Method popularized in his book What Doesn’t Kill Us.

Taking a cold plunge increases energy levels through a process called cold thermogenesis, which stimulates nerve endings. It also triggers the release of catecholamines, which boost the body’s immune system. This makes cold water immersion a great way to combat fatigue and refuel after a workout.

In addition to increasing energy, it reduces pain from inflammation and chronic ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and foot and ankle sprains. Cold water immersion may cause the blood vessels to constrict, numbing the pain and reducing swelling. It’s also used to increase flexibility and decrease back pain.

While you can practice cold water immersion at home (as long as you’re careful) or in a specialty recovery studio, such as Remedy Place, it’s important to consult with your doctor before attempting this technique. Extreme temperature changes are stressful for the circulatory system and can be dangerous, especially for people with heart or blood pressure issues, per Rochester Regional Health. It’s recommended to start slow, and gradually introduce cold temperatures, such as a cold shower or a dip in the ocean, before stepping into a freezing lake.

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