Beyond the numerous long-term health benefits of taking cold tub therapy, one of the top reasons to endure the cold is pain relief. Also known as cold water immersion therapy, cold plunging is a type of cryotherapy in which people submerge themselves in ice water.
Pro athletes and trainers have known this for decades now, and with ice baths built for home use, pretty much anyone can get the same relief.
Let’s take a closer look at how cold plunging might help you quickly alleviate all sorts of aches and pains.
How Does Cold Plunge Therapy Work?
Essentially, ice baths reduce inflammation and pain levels by increasing the flow rates of blood and other fluids throughout the body. Cold water immersion triggers blood vessels to constrict, which then dilate once you warm back up. This works as a sort of pumping process that improves both muscle recovery and joint injury recovery.
This process improves the function of the circulatory system, along with clearing muscles of metabolic wastes produced by hard exercise.
As an added bonus, the same effects are triggered within the lymphatic system, increasing white blood cells and other fluids that clean the body of toxins, helping carry damaged cells in joints away for improved restoration after an injury.
Using Cold Tub Therapy for Muscle Soreness
Research studies have found that taking regular cold plunge baths can help reduce muscle soreness, especially after hard workouts.
In a 2018 meta-analysis of 99 studies on the effectiveness of different muscle soreness recovery methods, it was found that ice baths and massages were the most effective methods for reducing muscle inflammation after working out.
While massages were the most effective means of reducing muscle soreness and fatigue, they’re prohibitively costly to consider as a treatment after every workout. Simply put, nothing beats a home cold plunge tub for fast, effective, and affordable muscle soreness relief.
Cold Water Immersion Therapy Helps Reduce Joint Pain
Because of the way cold plunging completely covers all areas of a joint, there’s no better way to relieve this type of pain. And when you have more than one body part that’s aching, being able to submerge your entire body makes this type of cold therapy ideal.
Basic methods like cold showers and cold compresses only provide minor or localized relief, not to mention they don’t provide additional health benefits like improved mood and blood flow like cold water immersion can.
Quick Tips for Cold Water Therapy Beginners
In a 2016 meta-analysis of ice bath studies, data scientists revealed that the average water temperatures that delivered the best results for athletes ranged from 50°F to 59°F for 10 minutes to 15 minutes. To stay safe, RENU Therapy recommends limiting sessions to 10 minutes or less, especially when you opt for lower temperatures.
Getting the same results at home is simple with RENU Therapy tubs. By providing total control over the water temperature without dealing with ice cubes, there’s no safer or more beneficial way to cold plunge. Rather than constantly struggling to regulate the water temperature using bags of ice in a bathtub, all you’ll have to do is set the temperature and forget it.
This is just one reason that a purpose-built cold water therapy tank like those from RENU Therapy is worth the investment. Our tanks maintain consistent, always ready, and accurate water temperatures right in the comfort of your own home or office.
Just remember to check with your doctor before trying cold water immersion therapy for the first time. And if you’re tempted to test your limits, don’t forget that hypothermia is a potential risk if you stay in too long, regardless of a doctor’s approval.
Does Contrast Therapy Improve Cold Plunging Benefits?
Interestingly, using a cold plunge tub after a hot sauna, known as contrast water therapy, can amplify its benefits. By hopping into an ice bath after a 20-minute hot sauna session, research indicates that people can enjoy more pronounced benefits than cold therapy alone.
A common practice in Nordic cultures for centuries, contrast therapy is the ultimate way to relieve sore muscles and joints.