8 Surprising Health Benefits of Ice Cold Water Therapy

Some people enjoy bathing in warm water while drifting off in their thoughts. Others prefer a good old fashioned refresher to start the day. For those who prefer hot showers and baths, it’s time to consider switching the dial over to cold. Besides its refreshing quality, cold showers can be instrumental for your overall health and have a long list of benefits.

If you’re more of a daredevil and want to go a bit extreme, you could also try taking an ice-bath. It might be tricky to get a decent amount of ice using your freezer. Just use an ice-maker and you’ll be ready to bathe in a matter of minutes.

Regardless if you’re in a rush and want to freshen up really quick or you want to really experience a Siberian chill-out, you will experience the same benefits, more or less. Let’s go into detail a bit.

1.    Cold Water Can Wake You up Faster

Cold showers can wake you up faster and strengthen your alertness throughout the day. By activating sensors under your skin, it increases heart rate and gives a sudden shot of adrenaline. The feeling of renewed energy thus received can keep you going all morning and well into the afternoon.

2.    It Greatly Improves Cardiovascular Circulation

Cardiovascular circulation tends to be overlooked when health is discussed but it is vital to our overall well-being. With the weaker blood flow entailed by poor cardiovascular circulation, the risk of a heart attack and other serious health-related conditions increases. However, with an increased circulation, the heart can pump at a normal rate and can help boost other internal organs. Mental health is not forgotten either, as it can be positively affected by the increased flow as well.

The importance of cardiovascular health thus underlined, the question of how to improve it arises. A proper diet and regular exercising can go a long way. It’s not solely about drinking cold water, but applying it to your body also. Receptors from under the skin can jumpstart the heart’s circulation and help get more blood flowing across the entire organism. This, in turn, can help improve other vital internal organs and get the body the nutrients and oxygen it needs.

3.    Cold Water Can Help Ease Pain

Adrenaline is an efficient pain killer. Although most adrenaline rushes to the body last only a few moments, they can be altered to last longer with the aid of ice baths and cold showers. In addition, studies have shown that ice baths can help speed up injuries associated with muscle soreness. In fact, many professional athletes use them to recover from hard workouts or matches.

4.    Cold Water Can Stimulate Substantial Weight Loss

Cold water has been proven to help burn two types of body fat in humans – white and brown fat. While white fat is necessary for the proper functioning of the body, any excess of it can build up in your thighs, neck and lower back, causing health-related issues.

Brown fat has uses of its own, helping our bodies generate heat in colder temperatures. However, by taking colder showers you can help put your brown fat to work and boost its overall activity. A later study in 2009 even showed that by taking colder showers and therefore activating the brown fat, you can lose up to 9 pounds in a single year.

5.    It Boosts Lymphatic Circulation

The purpose of the lymphatic system is to cleanse the body. It is the network of vessels that operates through the body, removing bacteria, microbes, and waste from the cells. Lymph fluid is pumped through the body by muscle contractions. Without exercising, the lymphatic system becomes slow and inefficient. The fluid does not move throughout the body and toxins start to build. This can lead to joint pain, infections, colds, and disease.

Cold water forces the lymph vessels to contract and push fluid through the network of vessels. This triggers the immune system to attack any unnecessary substance in the lymph fluid, ridding the body of unwanted elements such as bacteria and microbes.

6.    Cold Water Improves The Function Of Your Immune System

A German research study asked its participants to shower for two minutes in cold water. The results have shown that, statistically, people who shower with cold water caught fewer colds than those who did not.

The mild stress caused by contact with cold water alerts your immune system, boosting its functionality. During another study, participants were immersed in cold water three times a week. At the end, their bodies had increased levels of white blood cells than the people who did not bathe in cold water.

7.    Cold Water Gives You Healthy Skin And Hair

When you shower in hot water, you are stripping your derma of its essential oils and drying it out. Cold water has the opposite effect on the hair and skin. It tightens the pores and cuticles, making it harder for them to become clogged with dirt and oil. The water also creates a “seal” over the pores which keeps dirt out in the future.

Cold water can also give the skin a natural glow as it encourages blood to rush to the surface. Hair is also positively impacted by cold water showers. The water causes the hair follicles to flatten and increases their grip on the scalp, giving the hair a cleaner, stronger, and healthier look overall.

8.    It Relieves Stress

Cold showers can be a great source of stress release. A study completed in 1994 asked participants to swim regularly in ice cold water during the winter time. Researchers found a decrease in uric acid levels after the repeated exposure to the cold water. The study also discovered an increased amount of antioxidant glutathione, which keeps all other antioxidants in the body functioning at their most optimal levels.


As show in this article, ice cold therapy can bring a series of health benefits to your body. Between causing weight loss, relieving stress and the improvements brought to the functioning of other internal organs, cold water can have a positive effect on your life. Especially after long and enduring workouts, cold showers and ice baths can help prevent muscle aches and pains, not to mention reducing the risk of serious injuries.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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