Mental health is a prominent concern these days and anything that helps it is preferable! Here are some Ice bath benefits for mental health that you should know.
Many of us usually go through a phase of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Some of us go through transitioning phases of grief or difficulty. During these periods, we look for some home-based stress busters to help us deal with these bouts. Ice baths can prove helpful under such circumstances. Let us look at the Ice bath benefits for mental health.
Mental health involves your psychological, emotional and social well being. It also indicates your ability to deal with the stresses of life, to make informed decisions and taking care of your physical needs and contributing to your community. A sound mind in a sound body is mandatory for successful living. Among the different therapies to deal with stress and other mental issues, ice baths are beneficial, inexpensive and easily doable home therapy.
What is an ice bath?
An ice bath involves immersing the major part of your body in very cold water (10 – 15 degree Celsius or 50 – 59 degree Fahrenheit) for 10 to 15 minutes. Fill a bathtub or a rubber tank with a mixture of ice and water to achieve the ideal temperature. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the water. You can start by immersing your feet first and then slowly sliding your body up to your chest under the water.
An ice bath constricts your blood vessels, reduces blood flow, and helps your body to flush out waste matter. It helps in directing blood away from your extremities and towards your organs, including your brain, so that your brain gets a rush of oxygenated blood which can help you in thinking more clearly and better.
It reduces inflammation and tissue breakdown in your body. The effects of an ice bath are immediate and long-lasting.
Ice Bath Benefits for Mental Health
An ice bath offers a host of benefits to your body. Ice baths shock your body and take your breath away initially but when you learn to tolerate the cold and force yourself to breathe normally, it makes you mentally resilient. It improves blood circulation, strengthens your nervous system, reduces blood pressure, increases energy, enables the release of hormones, increases pain tolerance and positivity.
An ice bath can also help you sleep better and facilitate refreshment in how you feel and think. It can help train your vagus nerve, which is directly linked to your parasympathetic nervous system that triggers the release of noradrenaline. Noradrenaline, commonly known as the fight or flight hormone helps you deal better with life challenges and stressful situations and lifts your mood. Ice baths improve the functioning of your brain, gives you clarity of thought, and helps you focus better.
They help in refreshing the fatigue of your brain and lower stress, anxiety, and depression. They are also helpful in dealing with addiction to alcohol and drugs. You can use an ice bath as a positive stressor to enable the release of feel-good hormones like beta-endorphins in your body. These hormones reduce stress, pain, promote positive feelings and improve mental and behavioral stability. In this way, an ice bath helps you deal with withdrawal symptoms.
Avoid ice baths if you have preexisting cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure. The cold water constricts blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood through your body. This can increase the risk of stroke or cardiac arrest.
Staying too long in the ice bath can lead to hypothermia. If you suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes then your body’s temperature regulation may be impaired. When your body is exposed to extreme cold, your heart redirects your blood towards the core of your body. This response is affected when you suffer from diabetes.