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Taking a Cold Plunge May Heal What Ails You

A refreshing dip in the pool sounds so relaxing but make that a freezing pool and the word refreshing doesn’t fit anymore — more like shocking. But that’s not stopping millions of people all over the world.

Cold plunge started as a postgame recovery ritual for athletes. They commonly use cold therapy to help muscle recovery since research supports improvements in muscle power, reduced serum creatine kinase, muscle soreness and perceived recovery through cold plunges.

But it’s now become mainstream thanks to celebrities and athletes sharing their cold-plunge experience including David Beckham, Madonna, Lizzo and Lady Gaga.

A cold plunge is exactly what it sounds like.

You submerge into very cold water. This can be done in a bathtub, open body of water or pool. To get the best benefits, you need to fully submerge yourself in water at 59 degrees or less, usually as low as 39 degrees.

Once you’re in, begin with the Wim Hof breathing technique. Find a comfortable position and take between 30 to 40 quick, deep breaths. Breathe in deeply through the nose or mouth and through the belly to the chest. Exhale through the mouth, then immediately breathe in again.

Take one final, deep inhalation then let the air out and stop inhaling. Hold the breath until you feel the urge to breathe again. Then inhale deeply and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat the process three to four times.

The benefits of cold plunge, depending on who you talk to, are numerous. Some studies have shown it reduces inflammation, chronic pain and redness while improving circulation and performance.

Additional benefits reported include improvements in mood, sleep, stress, mental health and immune function.

If you’re interested in a cold plunge, you can find locations in northern Arizona, or buy one for home use. Costs range from $5,000 and up, keeping water at a continuous cold temperature and filtered.

If you’re new to cold plunging, be sure to start slow. You can start with a slightly warmer temperature and work your way down. Don’t go from doing nothing to attempting a long cold plunge. Ease into it.

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