5 Effective Cold Plunge Alternatives

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5 Effective Cold Plunge Alternatives | Cold plunges have taken over the wellness world, consistently trending on social media platforms due to their plethora of health benefits such as reducing inflammation, improving immunity, boosting your mood, increasing your metabolism, reducing stress, and improving sleep. But it's not for everyone! If the thought of climbing into an ice water bath intimidates you but you'd still like the reap the benefits, we're sharing 5 alternatives that work!

Cold plunges have taken over the wellness world, consistently trending on social media platforms due to their plethora of health benefits. Enthusiasts are steadfast in the fact that cold plunges make them feel happier, healthier, and more energized. Although the benefits of cold plunges are well documented, plunging into ice cold water can be a little intimidating. Interested in effective cold plunge alternatives? We’ve rounded up five for you to try.

What Are Cold Plunges?

Cold plunges are a type of cold water therapy that involve submerging yourself in cold water at varying temperatures and durations. This could include a bathtub filled with cold water and ice cubes or jumping into a cold lake. There are also professional cold tubs often found at luxury spas, fitness centres, and recovery centres, or you can buy one for your home. Cold therapy has long been used by athletes to enhance post-workout recovery. However, it’s slowly made its way to the general population as one of the latest wellness trends due to its physical and mental benefits.

If you’re just starting out with cold plunges, it’s recommended to gradually ease into them to build a tolerance to the freezing cold temperatures. 30 seconds is typically a good place to start. From there, three to five minutes is a good target time, but it’s always important to listen to your body. As you build a tolerance to the temperature, you can extend the length of your cold plunge. When it comes to health benefits, the frequency of cold plunges tends to be more important than the duration of the cold plunge itself.

What Are the Benefits of Cold Plunges?

  1. Decreases inflammation
  2. Improves immunity
  3. Increases your circulation
  4. Boosts your mood
  5. Revs up your metabolism
  6. Reduces post-workout muscle soreness
  7. Reduces stress
  8. Elevates your energy levels
  9. Helps you sleep better
  10. May help you focus

What Are the Risks of Cold Plunges?

  1. Cold shock. Sudden cold water immersion in temperatures below 50 to 60 degrees F can cause the body to enter a state of shock. This can lead to involuntary gasping, rapid breathing, and heart rate and blood pressure spikes, as well as impaired cognitive function.
  2. Frostbite. If you’re plunging into an ice or snow covered lake, there’s a risk of frostbite.
  3. Hypothermia. If you’re doing cold plunges outdoors and are exposed to the cold for too long, you could get hypothermia. Make sure to have warm towels and clothing close by.

If you have a known cardiac or pulmonary disease, you should steer clear of cold water immersion. Cold plunges can have negative and potentially dangerous effects on people who have medical conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation. If you’re considering cold plunging, talk to your doctor first to make sure it’s a safe option for you.

5 Effective Cold Plunge Alternatives

1. Cold Shot in the Shower
Picture this. You take a warm, cozy shower and at the end, you crank the knob to cold and get a jolt of adrenaline and energy throughout your body. A cold shot at the end of your shower, for two to three minutes, can work as cold therapy. Cold shots are great because they offer a more gradual introduction to cold temperatures and there’s an element of control over the exposure. It can make you feel invigorated, boost your mood, and relieve pain and inflammation. Do this every time you take a shower and see how amazing you feel.

2. Cool Air Exposure
Cool air exposure provides a milder form of cold therapy than a cold plunge, but still has awesome benefits. This could be taking a walk in cool or cold temperatures or even cooling down your indoor temperature. Cool air exposure can stimulate your body’s thermoregulatory responses, potentially improving circulation and metabolism. It can also aid in improving your respiratory health and is beneficial for exercise recovery. However, it’s important to note that exposure to cold air can trigger respiratory symptoms like bronchitis and asthma in some people.

3. Ice Massage
An ice massage is ideal if you have localized pain or inflammation. Make an ice cup by filling a small paper or foam cup about two thirds full and freeze it until it’s solid. When you want to use it, peel off the top of the cup so about 1.5 cm of ice is showing (hold onto the remaining part of the cup). Gently glide it over any achy areas in circular motions. You may find it more comfortable to put a moisture barrier, such as part of a plastic bag over the area so the ice isn’t directly touching the skin. An ice massage can increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief. You can also use an ice roller. If an ice massage ever causes pain or a burning sensation, be sure to stop immediately.

4. Cold Water Bucket Pour
The cold water bucket pour is a simple and easy way to access the benefits of cold exposure. Simply fill a bucket with ice and cold water and pour the icy mixture over your head and body in a controlled manner. It can be done pretty much anywhere outdoors, and will activate your central nervous system, increase alertness, and tighten your skin. Make sure to start gradually with this one, and adjust the amount of water and ice according to your tolerance levels. It’s important to keep pours frequent and consistent for maximal benefits.

5. Cold Compress
Cold compresses are another localized approach to cold therapy, primarily used for injury relief and pain management. While cold plunges involve immersing your body into cold water for a few minutes, cold compresses can be applied directly to the skin for long time periods (10 to 30 minutes). They’re effective in reducing inflammation, easing pain, and accelerating recovery from injuries. They’re also more accessible and convenient than cold plunges. However, when it comes to broader health benefits, cold plunge therapy is the way to go.

If you’re wowed by the benefits of cold plunges, but want to start off with something a little less intense, try these alternatives to cold plunging!

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5 Effective Cold Plunge Alternatives | Cold plunges have taken over the wellness world, consistently trending on social media platforms due to their plethora of health benefits such as reducing inflammation, improving immunity, boosting your mood, increasing your metabolism, reducing stress, and improving sleep. But it's not for everyone! If the thought of climbing into an ice water bath intimidates you but you'd still like the reap the benefits, we're sharing 5 alternatives that work!

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