Science > Why does Cold Plunging feel so good?

Why does Cold Plunging feel so good?

Last Updated Jan 13, 2024

Why does it feel so good when you immediately get out of a cold plunge? We refer to this feeling as “electric – pure euphoria. In this post, we will jump into the science of what’s going on in the body to create these feel-good chemicals.

Endorphins

One of the primary reasons cold plunging feels so good is the release of endorphins – the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, it produces endorphins to counteract the discomfort. These chemicals not only help to relieve pain but also promote feelings of euphoria and well-being. Endorphins are often associated with the “runner’s high” experienced by athletes, and cold plunging can provide a similar mood boost.

Norepinephrine

Cold water immersion also leads to an increase in norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in our mood and stress response. Norepinephrine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce pain and improve mood. It is also associated with increased alertness, focus, and attention, contributing to the energized feeling many people experience after cold plunging.

Dopamine

Exposure to cold temperatures can also trigger the release of dopamine, another neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Dopamine is closely linked to our brain’s reward system, and its release during cold plunging can reinforce the positive sensations experienced, making us more inclined to repeat the activity.

The Feel-Good Synergy (Combining Endorphins, Norepinephrine, and Dopamine)

The combined release of endorphins, norepinephrine, and dopamine during cold plunging creates a powerful feel-good synergy. These mood-enhancing chemicals work together to elevate our emotional state, leaving us feeling refreshed, invigorated, and even euphoric. This unique blend of feel-good chemicals helps explain the irresistible allure of cold plunging for many people.

Helping with Depression

One study published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health found that regular cold water immersion was able to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in a group of people living in northern Finland.

Final Thoughts: Cold plunging offers an effective way to stimulate the release of mood-enhancing chemicals in our bodies – and best of all, it’s 100% natural! So skip the anti-depressants and jump in an ice bath if you’re looking for a way to boost your mood and increase your resilience to stress.

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