Cold Therapy and Mental Health
We are lucky to be living in an age where both mental and physical dimensions of health are acknowledged and given importance to. In the modern era, everyone is busy making money, doing multiple jobs, and maintaining a lifestyle. All these activities are highly stressful and as a result, mental health issues have significantly increased and a lot of people around the world are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health problems.
The good news is that the help is available and these conditions are completely treatable in 80-90 per cent of cases. There are medicinal and non-medicinal ways of improving the situation and even curing them.
Today we will explore a non-medicinal way: cold therapy or CryoShowers in particular. The process of using cold water on your skin and how it can help improve mental health. Water is a force of nature, it is what has made life possible on this planet and it continues to help us in more ways than we can count. Research conducted over many years has proven that contact with natural water helps reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and how this natural water temperature isn’t heated, as we generally now experience it.
What is the Science Behind Cold Showers Helping with Anxiety and Depression?
Hydrotherapy is the application of water to the body’s surface to help it heal. Back in the day, when man used to spend most of his time outdoors, he used to come across water all the time, and contact with nature kept him healthy and alert. These days, using the same principle, taking showers, bathing, swimming, etc. is recommended by doctors to help people manage their symptoms of anxiety and depression. (3)
There are many ways of getting in touch with water. There are different pressures at which water can be applied to the body. You can take a regular bath, or you can shower or swim. Research has proven that cold exposure therapies are a great way to improve the symptoms of depression (1,3) and the easiest way to expose is to take a cold shower.
Let’s see in more detail how water helps you relax. The benefits of a cold shower for depression cannot be overstated.
Cold Showers Reduce Anxiety and Depression
When a person takes a shower with water that is cold, initially, they feel a slight shock but then they adjust well to it. This happens because when there is something cold in our surroundings that touches our skin, our blood vessels constrict. Blood moves from the surface of the body to the core. This helps richly nourish all the vital organs with blood. Wherever the blood circulates in the body, it takes oxygen along and brings nutrients with it too. This has an overall calming effect on the body. Studies back this claim that cold showers tend to improve depressive symptoms. (3)
The mental health benefits of an ice bath have been studied and acknowledged. You have to try it for yourself to experience the effects. If you want to learn more about cold therapy and how it benefits overall well-being, you can check out our blog on our website here.
Medical Science Explains How Cold Showers Help with Mental Health
The following points have been proven medically that explain how cold Therapy helps with treating mental illnesses. Not only do cold showers help depression but cold showers also reduce anxiety to a significant extent.
- There are receptors for sensing heat and cold in the body. The density of cold receptors is 3-10 times greater than that of warm receptors. So, stimulating all these receptors at once by swimming in a pool or taking a cold bath can result in a therapeutic effect. (1)
- Since blood moves to the core of the body, the temperature of the brain gets lowered, lowering the temperature results in reduced inflammation. (1)
- The sympathetic nervous system gets activated, this leads to increased levels of a hormone called norepinephrine in both the brain and the blood. This hormone is produced by the adrenal glands located above the kidneys and it has the effect of alleviating depressive mood. (2) Cold therapy also helps better adapt to sympathetic nervous system response.
- “Beta – endorphins” are feel-good molecules produced in the body that give a person a sense of happiness. (2) Cold showers help release endorphins.
- Cold showers help deep breathing which comes with a number of benefits of its own.
- Muscle soreness is reduced as the blood moves from the periphery to the core of the body which relieves tension and has an overall calming effect on the body. (1,2)
There are many forms of exposing the body to cold but there is nothing as convenient and simple as a cold shower. CryoShower’s patented technology can reduce the temperature of the cold water to the most beneficial range and enhance the befits of cold therapy exposure.
And the best way to assess the effect of cold therapy on your body and to keep motivated is to keep a track of your progress. The CryoShower app allows you to track the benefits. performance, recovery and mental well-being. You can download it on your Apple gadgets by clicking here or on android devices from the Google Play store.
- Drew, B. J., King, M. L., & Callahan, L. (2005). Cryotherapy for Treatment of ECT-Induced In Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services (Vol. 43, Issue
4, pp. 33–39). https://doi.org/10.3928/02793695-20050401-05
- Szczepańska-Gieracha, J., Borsuk, P., Pawik, M., & Rymaszewska, J. (2014). Mental state and quality of life after 10 session whole-body cryotherapy. In Psychology, Health &
(Vol. 19, Issue 1, pp. 40–46). https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2013.780130
- Shevchuk, N. A. (2008). Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. Medical
hypotheses, 70(5), 995-1001.