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Ice Baths For Anxiety, How Does It Help?

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

If you suffer from anxiety and have wondered how you can combat it naturally, you may have explored cold therapy (also known as cryotherapy). Although cold water therapy is traditionally associated with post-workout recovery, there are also many mental health benefits of ice baths, such as stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing inflammation, and practicing mindfulness.

Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve

Stimulating your vagus nerve is not only beneficial for conditioning athletes to handle an intense competition but can also assist anyone in being able to handle stressful situations more easily.

You might be wondering, what is a vagus nerve!? Your vagus nerve controls your “rest and digest” system and is one of the main nerves of your parasympathetic nervous system. The primary function is to help you conserve energy for other bodily functions.

If you feel worn out or almost jittery, you may need to stimulate your vagus system. Taking an ice bath can help enhance your mood and help mitigate the effects of those feelings that may come through as anxiety.

Taking a dip in an ice plunge tub on a regular basis can increase your ability to handle stressful situations. If you find you’re stressed quite often, taking a dip when you have those feelings might just be the cure!

Decrease Inflammation

Athletes have been known to use ice baths for post-workout recovery for a long time to decrease inflammation. An icy plunge helps to reduce soreness in muscles by increasing circulation to your inflamed tissues.

If you’re stressed you may tense up your muscles and unknowingly increase inflammation in your body. If this becomes an ongoing issue, it can unfortunately lead to increased anxiety. By regularly using an ice bath at home, you might look forward to it and your body will begin to feel less tense, reducing your anxious feelings.

Decreasing inflammation in your body can help reduce muscle aches and fatigue, help you sleep better and ultimately lead to reduced anxiety.

Take Your Mind Off It!

Finally, taking your mind off things when you tend to have a lot of stress is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness. If you’ve ever been shocked by the cold chill of running through a sprinkler as a child, you might think back to those days and imagine the adrenaline rush it gave you.

This rush might just be exactly what you need to take your mind off things for a while and take a few minutes to focus on something else. Focusing on what feels present in the moment can allow you to realize that what the future holds is out of your control, and help you become more mindful.

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