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Take the Plunge

 

Water has an amazing effect on the body. It is very good for our skin and muscles. Heat has a tendency to quiet and sooth the body, while cold will stimulate and invigorate. The calming effect of soaking can relax and work to reduce the effects of stress on the body. If you have a hectic and stressful lifestyle, soaking may be the perfect solution to a better life.

A cold bath is highly invigorating! Cold water applied to any part of the body causes an initial chilling effect, followed by dilation of the small blood vessels in the skin. The increased blood flow suffuses the whole area with a reddish, warming, and healthy glow.

Hot/Cold Plunge is another form of hydrotherapy. This method calls for the immersion in a hot tub for a few minutes, then immediately transferring it into a cold plunge tub for 30 seconds, repeating the process for 5-10 transfers.  Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any form of hydrotherapy.

Cold plunge pools were invented by Romans who probably figured out that immersing the body in 50- to 60-degree water stimulates circulation, relieves inflammation and detoxifies pores. The managers of today's most luxurious spas know this too, which is why Laguna Beach's Spa Montage has a 57-degree cold plunge, Carlsbad's Spa at La Costa has a cold plunge and an outdoor Roman waterfall, and Rancho Santa Fe's Spa at Rancho Valencia has three plunge pools, one of which is invigoratingly frigid. Use of the plunges and pools is included in the cost of spa treatments; at Spa La Costa, nonguests can pay $60 for day use, $30 for half-day.

 

Cold Water Therapy

When practiced for at least four weeks, cold-water therapy is reported to:

 

Stabilizes blood pressure:

Cold water triggers the autonomic nervous system which controls involuntary functions, such as heartbeat and breathing, raising blood pressure, increasing heart rate and constricting blood vessels.

The autonomic responses strengthen with each exposure. This stabilizes blood pressure, improves circulation and balances other bodily functions, such as the sleep/wake cycle.

 

Enhances immunity:

Cold water stimulates the release of cytokines and other hormone-like substances that are vital to immune function.

Recent finding: Breast cancer patients who underwent cold-water therapy for four weeks experienced significant gains in their levels of disease-fighting white blood cells, according to a German study.

 

Reduces pain:

Cold causes the body to release endorphins, hormones with proven pain-fighting properties.

 

Improves moods:

Cold water activates sensory nerves that lead to the brain. A cold, exhilarating shower can be emotionally uplifting and prime a person for new experiences.

For years the practice of the ice bath has been touted as an effective way to reduce pain and inflammation after a hard workout, motivating athletes to sit, teeth chattering, while the cold does its work. The basic theory is that the low temperature constricts the blood vessels in your legs, reducing the swelling. When you break free from the frigid waters and begin to warm your body up again, the blood delivers fresh oxygen to the muscle cells to help them repair the damage

Ice baths do sound incredible to bear and in most cases we can say that it is quite hard to take one, especially the first one. The problem is that the ice bath is very good if taken long and cold enough. It will aid in removing a lot of muscle soreness and even potential injuries. This is why some people do put them in their workout regime. Ice baths have become popular in contact sports like football or with endurance sports that predominantly stress the legs, such as field hockey and running.  For contact sports whole body ice baths can be considered or immersion of the lower limbs only can be considered. Initially start with one minute sessions and progressing to a maximum of 10 minutes over a period of 10 weeks

Health20: Tap into the Healing Powers of Water to Fight Disease, Look Younger, and Feel Your Best

To properly take an ice bath

Right after a workout just fill the bathtub with cold water. Next add 2 or more ice cube trays so that the water gets to 54 to 60 degrees F. After that you have to eat a post workout snack.  Now you can wrap a towel around your shoulders or put on a sweater and hat so that your upper body stays warm. Get in the icy water and stay there at least 10 minutes. Then you need to quickly get out, dry off and eat the post workout meal of your choice. A warm shower needs to be taken 30 to 60 minutes later. If you take it sooner the benefits obtained from taken an ice bath will be lost.

Keep in mind that filling the tub all the way to the top is not necessary. You just have to make sure that your lower body is completely submerged. Sticking with taking ice baths is essential and the truth is that the worst ice bath is the first one you take. After that you will see that all is a lot easier. Pay attention to not make the water too cold as this can easily happen and translate in frostbite, this being the biggest problem that can appear with ice baths.

 

 

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Disclaimer: Information on this web site was gathered from many sources in public domain such as published books, articles, studies and web sites. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss your health conditions and treatments with your personal physician.

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