Cold water plunges with sauna - What are the health benefits of regular cold exposure?
May 31, 2023
Cold water immersion, also known as cold water therapy, cryotherapy or cold water plunging, remains a topic of interest due to its well-documented and perceived advantages to physical and mental health. When combined with sauna bathing, the positive effects can be maximised to reap even greater benefits.
A shower right next to the sauna is a great alternative to a cold plunge pool, offering a way to cool off in between the steams.
Why take the plunge?
Cold water plunges can have great benefits for anyone without underlying medical conditions. Cold can effectively enhance overall health, boost energy levels and improve mood. Cold is a popular recovery method for athletes and individuals with active lifestyles. The application of cold stimulates local blood circulation, which in turn can help alleviate inflammation of the muscles and joints. Regular cold plungers and ice swimmers have reported higher energy levels and lesser flu symptoms.
We have compiled a list of 6 health benefits associated with cold water immersion.
Ice swimming is a popular winter hobby and often combined with sauna. Image from Unsplash.
6 ways cold plunging can boost your well-being
1. Reduce inflammation
Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body . Cold is used to alleviate pain from conditions such as arthritis.
2. Boost immune system
Ice-swimming or plunging into cold water can help boost the immune system . Individuals who practice cold immersion on a regular basis have reported less flu symptoms.
3. Improve circulation
Cold water has been shown to stimulate blood flow, enhancing circulation in the body .
4. Reduce muscle soreness
Many athletes incorporate a cold plunge into their recovery routine. Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery time after intense exercise . This is why cold plunging remains a popular recovery method amongst athletes and is a great combination with sauna.
5. Improve mental clarity and alertness
Dipping into icy water can improve mental clarity and alertness by increasing blood flow to the brain .
6. Reduce stress and anxiety
Exposure to cold water has been shown to decrease stress levels and enhance mood. The body begins to secrete stress hormone adrenalin, noradrenaline and cortisol when subjected to cold. The increased levels of the “feel good” hormones serotonin and endorphins released activate a relaxation response, reducing stress and anxiety .
It is best to start cold-water plunging or ice swimming gradually. Cold is an excellent addition to sauna bathing, and can further enhance muscle recovery and improve sleep amongst other health benefits. Image provided by Avantopool.
The benefits of regular cold exposure aren’t limited to the above list of six. Cold plunging together with sauna bathing is a combination that can have even greater benefits, especially for muscle recovery and sleep, than either practice alone. It is recommended to seek advise from a medical professional especially for individuals with underlying heart conditions. It is best to start gradually and listen to your body.
Accessing Cold Water at Home with Avantopool
Finns are experts when it comes to cold. The health benefits of ice swimming and dipping into snow or a lake to cool off during the sauna were realized long ago. Unsurprisingly, the world’s most advanced cold pools come form Finland.
Avantopool cold water plunge pools brings the benefits of ice swimming to your home. "Avanto" translates into "the hole in the ice."
Avantopool enables you to access the health benefits of a cold water plunge in your own home. The cold water plunge pools have two different styled cold water plunges that are designed for the recovery of professional athletes as well as improving overall health benefits for anyone. You can browse our Avantopool selection by clicking on the link below:
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 Lateef, F. (2010) ‘Post-exercise ice water immersion: Is it a form of active recovery?’ Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock (3)3 Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2938508/
 Laukkanen, T., Laukkanen, J., Kunutsor, S. (2018) ‘Cardiovascular and other health benefits of sauna bathing: a review of the evidence’ Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 93(8) pp. 1111-1121. Available at: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(18)30275-1/fulltext
 Van Tulleken C., Tipton M., Massey H., Harper C.M (2018) ‘Open water swimming as a treatment for major depressive disorder.’ BMJ Case Rep. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2018-225007.