10 Reasons to try Cold Water Therapy

August 10, 2023
5 min read

What is cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy, a practice that involves deliberate exposure to cold water, has been gaining significant popularity over recent years and boasts a whole host of health benefits. From improved circulation and immune response, to boosting your mood, there are a number of reasons to take the plunge and try cold water exposure. 

Interested in trying cold water therapy, but not sure which method is best for you? If you’re not quite ready to switch your daily shower to a water or take a dip in an ice bath, you might find that open water swimming in a safe, local venue such as Divers Cove, Surrey is a better option. Plus, combining your cold water exposure with wild swimming is a great way to get a full body workout without putting pressure on your joints.

The effectiveness of cold water therapy has been tried, tested, and endorsed by a vast array of athletes, celebrities and influencers. But the person who promotes this practice the most is Dutch motivational speaker Wim Hof, who has not only championed the benefits of cold water therapy but also demonstrated its potential through his own remarkable physical feats.

Despite the initial discomfort that can accompany this practice, the potential benefits make it a great option for those seeking a natural way to improve their health and well-being. So, let’s dive into some of the reasons to try cold water therapy.

1. Boost your immune system

First up, regular cold water exposure can help to boost your immune system. None of us like those pesky coughs and colds that have a tendency to linger - so it makes sense that wild swimming and Wim Hof Fundamentals Courses have become more and more popular since the pandemic. 

Wondering how cold water therapy can benefit your immune system? Taking a dip in colder temperatures than you’re used to causes epinephrine release - also known as the fight or flight response. Putting your body through the temporary stress of being in cold water can boost your immune system and help you fight off infection through the production of more white blood cells.

2. Wave goodbye to poor circulation

For those who struggle with poor circulation, you may find that cold water therapy helps. This is because, by plunging yourself into cold water, you’re pushing your body to its limits and triggering survival mode and the vagus nerve - a very important part of the body’s nervous system. 

As your body works hard to help you acclimatise to the cold water, your blood flow will increase.

3. Reduce feelings of stress

You might remember that we mentioned the all-important vagus nerve earlier. As a major part of our body’s nervous system, the vagus nerve is responsible for primary bodily functions such as your heart rate, digestive system and your immune system. 

By stimulating the vagus nerve with cold water, you then activate your relaxation response, which can help you to feel more chilled out and promote feelings of well-being. This physiological shift provides a calming effect and fosters a more relaxed state. One practical way to incorporate this into your routine is through cold water swimming at a venue such as our sandy-bottomed lake here in Surrey. 

Cold water swimming not only benefits your physical health, but also offers a therapeutic effect that can help mitigate stress. So, cold water swimming serves as a valuable tool for promoting mental health and overall wellbeing, as well as being a great way to get fit. 

4. Get a better night’s sleep

Everybody values a good snooze - after all, it’s pretty irritating when your beauty sleep is interrupted, or you struggle to drift off after a tiring day. But because cold water therapy helps you to feel more relaxed, it goes hand in hand with a more restful night’s sleep. This is due to the rapid production of melatonin that occurs in your body when you expose yourself to cold water.

5. Feel more energetic

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, it’s likely that you’re also suffering with fatigue throughout the day. Whilst it can be tempting to reach for the caffeine, finding a long term, healthy way to improve your energy levels (such as cold water swimming) is the best way to boost your well-being. As we know, exposing your body to the cold waters of our lake increases your heart rate and causes a rush of blood through your body. This process can result in a natural energy boost. Furthermore, the cold stimulus promotes the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers that can induce feelings of euphoria and energy. Therefore, immersing yourself in cold water can not only be an invigorating experience but also a natural way to boost your energy levels.

6. Get a mood boost

Exposure to cold water, especially through activities such as cold water swimming, has shown significant potential in improving mood and managing symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

This is due to the endorphins that are produced through both exercise and cold water exposure. Endorphins, often termed 'feel-good' hormones, are known to alleviate stress and induce positive feelings. Additionally, the physiological response to cold water can lead to a surge of adrenaline, further boosting mood and energy levels. 

Also, the exercise involved in wild swimming further enhances endorphin production, amplifying the benefits of cold water exposure. 

7. Improve your metabolism

Another fantastic benefit of trying open water swimming is that it can provide a significant boost to your metabolism. This metabolic enhancement is further amplified when you combine cold water therapy with time in saunas. This Finnish tradition, also known as contrast therapy, is something that we offer here at Divers Cove, with our handcrafted wooden sauna pods conveniently located on the lake’s shore.

This process of heating and cooling not only aids in muscle recovery but also stimulates the metabolic rate, enhancing overall health and well-being. The combined effects of cold water swimming and sauna therapy create an optimal environment for metabolic improvement.

8. Reduce inflammation

Looking to aid your post-exercise recovery? Cold water exposure can significantly alleviate joint aches and pains by reducing inflammation, providing a natural and non-invasive remedy. Wild swimming in picturesque locations such as our Divers Cove offers an excellent opportunity for members to embrace this therapy in a natural environment. The tranquil waters of our lake provide not just therapeutic benefits but also an enriching experience that contributes to overall health and well-being.

9. Promote good cardiovascular health

Cold water therapy has been shown to have considerable benefits on the cardiovascular system, acting as a stressor that triggers physiological adaptations. These include an increase in heart rate variability and a decrease in resting heart rate, mirroring the effects of regular aerobic exercise. 

It’s important to note that anyone with cardiovascular illnesses or other health issues should first consult their doctor before trying open water swimming or cold water therapy. 

10. Trying something new

The final reason we think that you should try cold water therapy is nice and simple - you’d be trying something new! Experimenting with cold water exposure and open water swimming in a designated venue with trained lifeguards, such as our reservoir in the heart of Surrey, is much safer than going it alone. Plus, it can also be a great way to socialise and meet new people!

Searching for a wild swimming venue near you? Join us here at Divers Cove for crystal clear waters, handcrafted sauna pods, artisan pizzas and a friendly membership community!

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