25 Sep Cold Plunging: An Energizing Dip into Health & Vitality
As a Reiki Master, Menopause Relief Specialist, and Master Hypnotist, I’m no stranger to practices that may seem unconventional. I often help my clients harness the power of various healing modalities to unlock their inner strength and create balance within their lives. One such practice that has recently captured my attention (and made quite a splash in the wellness community) is cold plunging.
A Historical Plunge into Cold Therapy
Let’s dive into a bit of history first, to understand the roots of this practice. Humans have been using cold water exposure as a health-enhancing method for thousands of years. From the cold river baths of the Ancient Romans to the icy plunge pools of Finnish saunas, the health benefits of cold water have long been recognized. But it’s the last few decades that have seen a surge in its popularity, especially with the rise of figures like Wim Hof, “The Iceman,” advocating for the power of cold.
Why Plunge into the Cold?
Why all this hype around taking a chilly plunge? If you’ve ever submerged yourself in icy, 5 degree water, you know that although it’s a bit of a shock at first, your energy and mood get a super boost.
As a Reiki practitioner, I know all about energy flow, and cold plunging helps to awaken and invigorate the body’s energy systems. That initial shock seems to send a rush of energy through the whole system, shaking off lethargy and firing up your senses. It’s similar to the feeling you get after a refreshing swim on a hot day or a powerful and invigorating yoga class, but condensed into a quick icy dip.
Many people ask me – is a cold shower as effective as an ice bath? Are they equal substitutes, or does one hold an advantage over the other? While both practices incorporate the benefits of cold therapy, they offer distinct experiences. Cold showers can indeed be an excellent introduction to cold therapy. They’re convenient, requiring no special equipment or facilities – your own shower at home is enough to get the job done. However, immersing your entire body in a cold plunge pool can be a more intense and holistic experience. The full-body exposure to cold water arguably provides a stronger stimulus to your circulatory and nervous systems, potentially offering amplified benefits.
The Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Cold Plunging
This is arguably one of the primary benefits of cold plunging. Chronic inflammation, which can persist for months or even years, is usually the result of a prolonged response to an internal issue, like lingering pathogens, autoimmune reactions, or long-term exposure to irritants. If left unchecked, it can lead to various health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. So, when we talk about reducing inflammation, it’s this harmful, chronic variety that we’re aiming to address–and prevent–through cold plunging.
A cold plunge, much like an ice pack on a sprained ankle, is believed to reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels and slowing the metabolic activity. This idea is backed by experts like Dr. Rhonda Patrick, a biomedical scientist who often discusses the benefits of cold therapy on her wellness platform.
Can Everyone Take the Plunge?
There are a few gender differences to be aware of. While the basic effects of cold exposure—like that rush of energy and reduction of inflammation—are generally the same for men and women, individual responses can vary, and are influenced by factors such as body composition and hormones.
For example, recent studies suggest that cold plunging and cold exposure in general can potentially increase testosterone levels, which is good news for all men. In my experience, men seem to tolerate the shocking effect of a cold plunge for longer periods of time than women.
Women tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men, which can provide a bit more insulation against the cold. However, as a woman, I can tell you from experience that women feel the cold more acutely during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle due to hormonal fluctuations. The core body temperature drops and sensitivity increases in the days prior to bleeding, so you may notice that a cold plunge during this time feels more intense. Listening to your body and adapting your cold plunge practice to suit your unique needs is crucial.
Considerations and Cautions
While cold plunging can be invigorating and beneficial, it may not be suitable for everyone.
If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure I strongly recommend consulting with your doctor before trying it. The sudden cold can cause a shock to the system, which could be dangerous for those with underlying health issues.
Preparation, technique, and follow up “warming” exercises are essential to a safe and effective cold plunge. I suggest starting gradually, perhaps with a cold shower, and ensuring you’re in a safe environment—preferably someone around. Never push yourself to the point of discomfort or danger; the goal is to energize and invigorate, not to cause distress.
Plunge into Wellness?
As a woman in the field of energy healing, I’m fascinated by the potential benefits of practices like cold plunging. It’s a powerful example of the dynamic relationship between our bodies and the world around us. It shows us that sometimes, a chill is just what we need to bring warmth and vitality into our lives. But, like any practice, it should be approached responsibly, and integrated into a balanced lifestyle.
Cold plunging might just be the invigorating ritual your self-care routine has been waiting for. As a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, cold plunging is just one of the various energy healing modalities I use to support my own health and wellness.
Wherever you are on your wellness journey, I’d love to help support you too. There’s never a better time to start than the moment you recognize that you want to feel healthy and vital–and that you deserve it!
Contact me to schedule a time that’s convenient for you. I’m located in Durham Region, serving clients in Clarington and surrounding areas. I look forward to hearing from you.