The Benefits of Cold Plunges and Cryotherapy

Brian Tunney
Brian Tunney
10 minute read
April 20, 2023
Image of a Hyper Wellness rep helping cold plungers get ready for their first Cryotherapy service.
Video thumbnail.Play video.

This past winter, cold plunges took over my feed on TikTok. From all corners of the U.S., it seemed as though people were taking to the outside and jumping in freezing water, including Eric Hinman’s community cold stream plunges in Colorado and thousands of individuals purchasing stock tanks, breaking the ice and jumping in the freezing water. I know we all have our own TikTok rabbit holes to disappear down, but for the past few months, it’s been all cold water plunges for me.

Actually, it’s not just me. To date, #coldplunge on TikTok has more than 900 million views.

Benefits of Cold Therapy

“Traditionally, cold therapy has been performed by athletes in an effort to enhance post-workout recovery,” Craig Van Dien, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Hackensack Meridian Health’s JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, New Jersey told Forbes. “There has been growing interest amongst the general population, possibly as a consequence of the purported health benefits and wellness trends,” he adds.

And while jumping into freezing cold water for a few minutes during the winter is not very fun, research has suggested that exposure to smaller doses of cold therapy could prove beneficial for a number of reasons. A 2014 study found that routine exposure to cold water therapy could be widely used to improve immunity and for the management of pain, as well as boost metabolism and improve energy and mood.

Dr. Rich Joseph of Restore Hyper Wellness adds that “Cold exposure is commonly used as a therapeutic tool for musculoskeletal healing and management of chronic pain. Noradrenaline and beta-endorphins are endogenous pain suppressors, which likely explains why cold exposure can act as an analgesic.”

Additionally, Dr. Rich adds, “The known increases in noradrenaline, beta-endorphin and dopamine due to a cold stimulus may have a positive effect on mental health and brain development. To date, however, there is no clinical evidence (other than case reports) that cold exposure can improve brain health or treat mental health conditions. The positive mental health aspect of regular winter swimmers is mostly based on questionnaires and anecdotal evidence.”

Most TikTok users say they simply “feel good” after a cold plunge, and yes, that’s hard to refute. You get a jolt of energy from the shock of the cold water, your circulation increases and you can potentially reduce muscle soreness. But now that winter has passed, what’s everyone to do?

Cryotherapy is An Easier Way To Cold Plunge

You don’t need to buy an expensive cold plunge tank to get through the summer. There is another way, and it might even be better for you: Whole Body Cryotherapy. In comparison to cold water immersion, Cryotherapy uses very dry, cold air for a much shorter time so subjects do not report much discomfort at all. 

Have you ever tried getting into a really cold body of water? No matter how long you take to adjust, it’s still shocking to the system, and takes some commitment. And regardless of what body of water you’re entering, chances are it’s not going to be as controlled (or cold) as Whole Body Cryotherapy. But that’s not all.  

Whole Body Cryotherapy at Restore exposes the entire body (including your head) to sub-zero temperatures inside of a chamber for up to 3 minutes. As the body is exposed to these freezing temperatures, it enacts a natural fight or flight response that constricts blood vessels to restrict blood away from extremities. This redirection causes your body to move blood toward the core, protecting your organs. During this process, the body increases its levels of oxygen and certain proteins that can decrease swelling. When you exit the Cryotherapy chamber and return to normal room temperature, this oxygen-rich blood moves back through the body. This service is one of many ways that Restore utilizes controlled, natural stressors to increase your body’s resilience and thereby shape human health.

You’re not trying to climb out of an ice bucket while shivering. It’s controlled, it’s quick, and you can still make a TikTok video about it. In fact, our Hyper Wellness reps might even be able to lend a hand with filming! 

Curious About Whole Body Cryotherapy?

Our Whole Body Cryotherapy (a 2-3 minute session) may help optimize sleep and defy signs of aging while boosting overall energy. Book now!

Photo by Jenna Kahn.

Close Video