Fitness influencers and celebrities love cold plunging, but more research is needed to determine its long-term and short-term effects on muscle recovery. Before trying it, see a doctor.
Cold plunging is a form of cold water therapy where you’re submerged up to the neck in a pool or tub of ice-cold water as a means to reduce inflammation and ease sore muscles. The trend has gained popularity recently as fitness influencers, celebrities, and athletes have shared their own experiences with it. Cold plunging is different from cryotherapy, which involves walking into a chamber that has liquid nitrogen vapor to create sub-zero temperatures. Cold plunging may provide benefits to your immune system, ease pain and inflammation for people with rheumatoid arthritis, and even provide benefits to your mental health. However, more research needs to be done to confirm the long-term and short-term effects of cold plunging for muscle recovery. Before trying cold plunging, it’s important to get clearance from your doctor, especially if you have blood pressure or heart-related conditions, sensitivity to cold, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re hesitant to try cold plunging, there are other recovery modalities that you can experiment with, such as soft tissue manipulation or percussive therapy like massage guns. Additionally, besides investing in expensive recovery tools, it’s important to practice healthy habits daily, including drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and eating balanced meals.