Cold plunging, also known as cold water immersion or ice bathing, has become an increasingly popular practice for its potential health and recovery benefits. But what exactly is a cold plunge, and how can you get the most out of the experience? Here is a beginner's guide to cold plunging and how to do it safely and effectively!
What is Cold Plunging?
Cold plunging typically refers to immersing your body in very cold water for a short time as a form of therapy, exercise, or recreational activity. Many people use specifically designed plunge pools, tubs, or even chest freezers filled with cold water. The recommended water temperature for cold therapy is between 50-60°F (10-15°C). This cold exposure triggers the body's cold shock response, causing immediate physiological changes.
Plunges typically last just 1-3 minutes, but even short amounts of time in cold water temperatures can provide benefits.
The most common durations recommended are:
1 minute for beginners
2-3 minutes as you become accustomed
5 minutes maximum for advanced cold plungers
Unlike an ice bath where you sit in a tub of ice, cold plunging requires full body immersion in the cold water. Many people find the brisk shock of a plunge invigorating. It's an intense experience, but with proper precautions, it is generally safe for most people.
The Benefits of Cold Plunging
Why subject yourself to cold water? Proponents claim cold plunging provides both physical and mental benefits.
Here are a few of the most commonly touted advantages:
Post-Workout Muscle Recovery
Cold water immersion therapy can help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness after strenuous resistance exercise. Cold temperatures cause constriction of blood vessels, reducing swelling and inflammation that contributes to soreness. Athletes have long used ice baths for active recovery. Even brief cold plunges can assist muscle recovery.
Immunity and Inflammation
Cold shock is believed to stimulate white blood cell production and activity, boosting your immune system response. Cold exposure is also thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body to provide wide-ranging health benefits, as systemic inflammation is linked to many diseases.
The cold water causes blood vessels near the surface of the skin to constrict, driving blood from the extremities back toward the body's core to its vital organs. As you warm back up, your heart will work to supply every part of the body with the oxygen it needs, resulting in greater blood flow. Over time, regular cold plunges will improve circulation.
Safety Tips for Cold Plunging
While proponents point to many possible benefits, it's important to keep safety in mind when cold plunging:
Always check with your doctor before undergoing cold water therapy, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions. This includes heart conditions, high or low blood pressure, and asthma. Pregnant women should avoid cold plunges.
Never plunge into cold water when overheated. Allow your body temperature and breathing to return to normal before entering cold water.
Limit your first cold plunges to 1 minute or less. Gradually increase the duration as your body adapts.
Have someone with you or nearby in case you need help. Do not cold plunge when alone.
Get in slowly and focus on your breathing. Try not to panic or gasp uncontrollably when you feel the cold shock. Calm, deep breaths can help you maintain control.
Warm up gradually after exiting the cold water. It's best to let your body warm on its own, but you can take a lukewarm shower if needed. Avoid hot temperatures right away.
Cold plunging is generally safe for most people, but be smart about managing risk. Don't push the duration or temperature too far, too fast. Build up gradually as your body adapts to lower water temperatures and longer exposures. Consult a doctor if you have specific health concerns.
Getting Started with Cold Plunging
If you want to learn how to cold plunge, here are some tips for beginners:
Find the Right Vendor
Purchasing cold plunge tubs designed specifically for cold water immersion for home use can be a massive benefit versus continuously traveling and paying fees each time you'd like to use the tub. Finding the right vendor who offers free shipping (like us) can be extremely beneficial in the short and long term.
Begin with a very short session, about 1 minute or less. Give your body time to adapt to the cold shock before progressing to longer exposures. Limit your first few sessions to once or twice a week.
Gradually increase the duration by 30 seconds to 1 minute each week. Most people can work up to 10-minute plunges within 4-6 weeks. Listen to your body, and don't increase the length or frequency too rapidly.
Warm Up Afterwards
Gently dry off after exiting the cold water to allow blood flow to return to normal. Take a lukewarm shower (only if needed), but avoid anything hot right away. The key is to let the body warm gradually.
Some light activities like walking can assist the warming process. Then put on warm, dry clothing and continue warming up for 10-15 minutes. Sipping a warm drink can also help your body rebound.
Make it a Routine
To get the most benefits, develop a cold plunge routine - even shorter plunges 2-3 times per week can provide benefits. Over time, you can increase the frequency to 4-5 sessions per week. Be patient in allowing your body to adapt at its own pace.
With the right precautions, cold plunging can be an invigorating part of an overall healthy lifestyle. It provides unique physical and mental challenges and a host of health benefits. Just be sure to start gradually and focus on consistency when beginning.
Cold Plunge Tubs With Free Shipping
For those who are ready to take the plunge with Airpuria, we've curated a special selection of the best cold plunge tubs around. Airpuria is a proud authorized distributor of the Medical Frozen™ cold tubs you are about to see:
Upgrade Your Cold Plunging with Frozen 6™
For those seeking the ultimate cold plunging experience, the Medical Frozen 6™ cold plunge adds an integrated essential oil steam generator to provide aromatherapy benefits. The steam infuser allows you to add 100% pure essential oils like lemongrass, orange, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus to enhance your cold plunge session. This model also includes an accessory kit for convenience features like the water-resistant counter space and step. With patented energy-efficient cooling, this premium cold plunge offers the most advanced experience.
True Commercial Grade with Frozen 7™
For commercial settings like gyms, spas, and studios, the Frozen 7™ cold plunge provides rugged performance. This plunge offers the same medical-grade 37°F temperature capabilities and safety of the Frozen series in a heavier-duty package made to withstand high-traffic use. The commercial model features sturdy construction, straightforward controls, and simple operation. Since technicians are available to assist with any issues upon request from the manufacturer, Frozen 7™ allows businesses to provide cold plunge benefits with confidence.
Accessorize Your Commercial Plunge with Frozen 8™
Designed for commercial use, the Frozen 8™ cold plunge adds convenience accessories to enhance the experience for clients and customers. This model includes the counter space to hold belongings, along with the easy entry step. The Medical Frozen 8™ offers rugged performance plus amenities to maximize comfort and enjoyment.
The Ultimate Luxury Cold Plunge with the Frozen 9™
For a fully-loaded cold plunging experience, the Medical Frozen 9™ cold plunge bundles all the best features into one package. This premium model is our largest and includes aromatherapy via the integrated essential oil steam generator to add relaxing or invigorating scents. The accessory kit provides secure storage and safe entry. With the most advanced chilling system for precise temperature control, Frozen 9™ is the zenith of luxury cold plunge designs perfect for high-end settings.
Additional Tips for Effective Cold Plunging
Here are some extra pointers to help you maximize the benefits and safety of your cold plunging practice.
Use Contrast Temperatures
Some find benefits in alternating between hot and cold water exposure. After a cold plunge, you could take a warm shower. This contrast water therapy challenges your cardiovascular system and is thought to improve circulation over time. Do not go straight from cold water to hot water without an adjustment period in between.
Drink plenty of water before and after your cold plunges to support your body's recovery. Dehydration negatively impacts your body's ability to regulate temperature and adapt effectively. Proper hydration assists the circulation and immunity benefits cold plunging provides.
Relax and Breathe
Focus on slow deep breathing to retain calmness while immersed in the cold water. Soft belly breathing engages the parasympathetic nervous system and limits hyperventilation. Staying relaxed helps your body gradually acclimate to the cold exposure.
It takes time for the cumulative benefits of cold plunging to develop. Don't expect overnight changes from a single session. With consistent practice, you'll progressively adapt and potentially notice improvements in mood, immunity, inflammation, and recovery capacity. Just stick with it!
Cold Plunge FAQ
What is the proper way to cold plunge?
Start by slowly immersing yourself up to your shoulders. Breathe deeply and focus on relaxing muscles to limit shivering and gasped breathing. Remain calm and move as little as possible. For your first cold plunge, stay in the cold water for 1 minute or less and increase the plunge time gradually. Avoid hot showers or baths immediately afterward. Warm up passively at first with rest and then with light activity.
Are cold plunges actually good for you?
Research shows potential health benefits like reducing muscle soreness and inflammation, boosting immunity, increasing alertness, and improving circulation. But always consult a doctor before starting, especially if you have any health conditions. Build up exposure time gradually. Cold plunging is generally safe if precautions are taken but listen to your body's signals.
How cold does a cold plunge need to be?
For benefit, experts recommend water between 50-60°F (10-15°C). This triggers the cold shock response but is not dangerously cold. You can use a thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
Is a cold shower as good as a cold plunge?
While a cold shower provides brief cold exposure, it's not as effective as full-body immersion in a cold plunge. The greater exposure to the plunge triggers more systemic changes related to circulation, inflammation, immunity, etc. But for beginners, cold showers can be a less intense starting point to grow accustomed to colder temperatures.
Ready to add cold plunging to your health, fitness, or recovery routines? Airpuria is proud to offer a range of cold plunge pools designed specifically for convenient at-home use. Browse the selection of cold plunges on our site and contact us today to learn more! Our team is always available to help find the perfect cold plunge option for your needs.
Want to Cold Plunge at Home?
If you're ready to add a cold plunge to your home health routine, reach out to us. We have experts on standby waiting to answer your questions and help you today:
Making Your Cold Plunge Investment More Affordable
Purchasing a cold plunge tub is a significant investment, but Airpuria offers financing options to help make this advanced recovery tool more accessible:
For individuals: Airpuria has partnered with lending institutions to provide financing for those who qualify. Rates start as low as 0% for up to 18 months. Check your pre-qualified rate in just minutes without impacting your credit score by visiting https://www.7figures.app/Airpuria.
For gyms, spas, and medical centers: Airpuria offers flexible business financing terms to acquire cold plunge equipment. With competitive rates and financing agreements tailored to your budget, investing in commercial cold plunges for your facility can be easy and affordable. Learn more about business financing options at https://reliantcapitalgrp.com/airpuria.
Don't let cost deter you from experiencing the benefits of cold water immersion. Investing in your health, recovery, and well-being has never been more accessible.