Hey! – Rob here 👋🏼
Your Daily Health Fix today is about …
Ice Baths & Cold Showers
Exposure to bursts of cold can have many benefits from reducing inflammation, increasing metabolic rate (to burn fat more efficiently), bolstering immune function, and for boosting personal productivity. We’ll go into those topics in more depth in a future Daily Health Fix, but today we’re talking about how taking a cold plunge can cure depression, improve mood and upgrade your energy.
Cold water for alleviating depression
A review of many cold water immersion therapy studies found that in as few as 10 sessions cold exposure was effective and safe for relieving or vanishing symptoms and presentations of depression.
Notably, even moderately cold showers were shown to have a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of people for whom their moderate depression fell between the cracks of an official clinical diagnosis.
Cold water for sharpened focus
Whilst exposure to extreme cold temperatures leads to hypothermia and rapid cognitive decline, moderate and short terms stints of ‘non-hypothermic’ cold therapy have been observed to positively impact mental cognition.
Cold water for better sleep
There’s many mechanisms for how cold bursts can improve quality of sleep. Taking a cold dip first thing in the morning boosts catecholamines, including Cortisol, Adrenaline, Norepinephrine, Dopamine, and also β-endorphins. This helps reset and regulate the body’s 24 hour circadian rhythm. Having a boost of cortisol in the early hours, and then reduced cortisol towards the end of the day helps to secure a solid sleep schedule and deeper sleep.
Another study showed that Cryotherapy helped physically active men to sleep better. This is likely due to the anti-inflammatory and pain reducing effects of controlled cold exposure.
Cold water for reduced stress.
For many of the same reasons that cold water immersion aids circadian rhythms and boost sleep, secretion of β-endorphins early in the day along with better regulated cortisol patterns can help with feeling good and in control, and reduces feelings of physical and mental pain (stress).
Cold water for boosted energy
The initial shock from taking a plunge stimulates the fight or flight mechanism and the secretion of Norepinephrine and Noradrenaline. When in this state the mind is more alert, and the body increases blood sugar levels priming you for action. Knowing this, deliberate cold exposure can be manipulated for optimising focus and boosting physical output.
Before launching head first into an ice bath or booking your exploration to the Arctic Circle, dip your toe, or more precisely your whole body, in a cold shower 🚿
This is best done first thing (every day) after waking.
Start with 10 second douses under the water with 20 seconds break.
After a few days increase the exposure time to 20 seconds then 30, 40 and more, until you are able to stay calmly under the water for 2 to 3 minutes. This might take a few weeks to progress towards, depending on your personal cold tolerance, and the temperature of the cold water.
Take this to the next level by doing 4 rounds of 3 minutes cold exposure, 1 minute break in the air, 2 minutes warm (hot) exposure. End on a cold burst before drying off.
. . . That’s it for this dose,
Until the next time – Stay Motivated!💪🏼
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References . . .
A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of whole body cryotherapy on mental health problems
Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression
Evaluation of cognitive performance and neurophysiological function during repeated immersion in cold water Author links open overlay panel
Mental and Cognitive Performance in the Cold
Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions
3-min whole body cryotherapy/cryostimulation after training in the evening improves sleep quality in physically active men
Roles of β-Endorphin in Stress, Behavior, Neuroinflammation, and Brain Energy Metabolism
Plasma norepinephrine responses of man in cold water
THE NORADRENALINE-ADRENALINE-AXIS OF THE FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT EXHIBITS OXYTOCIN AND SEROTONIN ADAPTIVE RESPONSES