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What is cold water therapy and what are the benefits?

Finding ways to rejuvenate mind and body has become increasingly essential with our fast-paced lifestyles. One ancient practice that has been gaining renewed popularity in recent years is cold water therapy, which harnesses the power of icy temperatures to promote overall wellbeing. But what does embracing cold water therapy in everyday life look like and how can you reap the benefits for yourself?

What is a Cold Water Plunge?

A cold water plunge involves immersing the body for a period of time in cold water, usually by way of a plunge pool. This is a specially designed smaller pool which is set to a lower temperature, ideally between 7 and 12oC which stimulates the body without becoming a hazard to our health. Cold water therapy is often combined with hotter temperatures, such as a with a sauna or steam bath, as a form of hydrotherapy.

What are the Benefits of Cold Water Therapy?

Cold therapy dates back to ancient times when residents of Rome and Greece would incorporate cold rooms into their wellness routines. Today, it’s still used as a recovery solution for intense workouts and as a way to revitalise the body in spas and gyms around the world. Physical therapists often use cold water immersion to reduce pain and soothe painful muscles for their clients, and personal trainers also use exposure to cold water as part of their treatments. It’s a versatile and effective way to enhance your wellness routine.

Here are just a few of the potential benefits of cold water therapy:

  • As a way to “wake up” the body and mind
  • Endorphin release to boost our mood
  • Potential improvement in muscle recovery and reduced soreness after exercise
  • Increased blood circulation, which may support a stronger immune system and reduce inflammation
  • Aids muscle recovery and eases chronic pain
  • Could have a metabolism-boosting effect
  • Long-term use may also enhance our resistance to the cold

Cold water therapy is a great way to bring the spa experience home and bolster your wellbeing with an invigorating dip into cooler waters.

How to Design a Cold Plunge Pool

When designing and installing a cold plunge pool, there are no fixed dimensions that need to be adhered to. The primary requirement is that the water is sufficiently cold to achieve the intended effect. Additionally, having a depth of around 1 metre is beneficial to allow full immersion of the body.

Cold plunge pools don’t need to be large since they’re typically not used by multiple people simultaneously and aren’t meant for swimming. This makes them versatile and ideal for smaller spaces, as well as being relatively easy to maintain compared to a traditional pool. While rectangular shapes are common, plunge pools can also be designed in various shapes to suit the available space and the surrounding environment. You also have the option of an outdoor pool or opting for an indoor plunge pool for year-round use.

Aesthetically, the flexibility of cold plunge pools is a significant advantage. They’re often sleek and minimalist and are suitable for both in-ground and above-ground installations. Our fibreglass, single-piece structures complement modern homes, particularly in sharp-edged square forms, and offer other advantages such as being more durable, offering better insulation and being impervious to discolouration over time.

How to Start Using a Cold Plunge Pool

Cold water pools can take a bit of getting used to, but they offer many benefits so they’re certainly worth it. You may start with cold showers at home to get your body used to the colder water – even just a few minutes at the end of your regular shower can help.

It’s also a good idea to practice breathwork techniques to help your body adapt to chillier temperatures – learn how to breathe deeply and slowly, and keep your breathing to an even pace. To start with, limit yourself to 2-5 minutes in the pool to build up your tolerance to the cold, and then you can start to increase the time you spend in your plunge pool as you get used to it.

While cold water therapy is safe, since it impacts the circulatory system, it’s a good idea to check with your GP before you start using a cold water pool regularly to ensure it’s safe for you to do so.

Get in Touch

From the famous Wim Hof method to posts on social media of people taking ice baths, it seems cold water therapy is becoming a popular way for us to boost our mood, reduce stress and improve our wellbeing. Cold water plunge pools are one way to re-energise the body and mind, and enjoy a refreshing dip, especially in the warmer months.

At Compass Pools, we have the expertise to help you design the perfect cold water plunge pool so you can incorporate cold water therapy into your routine at any time. Why not get in touch with us to start the design process?


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