Cold Shower v Cold Plunge: 5 Reasons Why Cold Plunges Work Best (2023)

Cold Shower v Cold Plunge: 5 Reasons Why Cold Plunges Work Best (2023)

Cold Shower vs. Cold Plunge, the debate is all over YouTube. Cold Therapy has been around since the ancient Greeks' time and has shown positive physical as well as psychological benefits. But how about cold showers? Are they as effective as cold plunge? If so, which one works best?

In this blog, we’re covering the ultimate debate of cold showers versus cold plunges and why cold plunges work the best.

The Difference Between Cold Shower and Cold Plunge

What is a cold plunge ice bath on scenic background

Taking a cold shower means turning it to the cold side. We often have the cold button in showers; typically, the knob must move toward the blue area to be cold. The main premise of cold showers is to adjust the water to 70 Fahrenheit or less, making it uncomfortable enough to hinder your breathing. This process is also known as hydrotherapy. Cold showers have some benefits, like improved metabolism, the activation of brown fat, and more. It is also linked to improved circulation of blood, which ultimately increases our focus.

On the other hand, we have cold plunge or ice bath. It differs from the regular cold shower as the goal here is to submerge yourself fully in cold water up to the neck. The cold plunge incorporates using an ice bath and putting water and ice to cool it up. Usually, it’s around 10-15 Celsius, which is pretty cold. The cold plunge has shown many benefits, according to a study by the National Library of Medicine. It has been shown to treat chronic autoimmune inflammation, reduce hypercholesterolemia, and decrease stress. That’s why most athletes do cold plunges, which puts them ahead of their competition.

But what if we were to compare cold showers and cold plunges? Which one is better, ultimately? Let’s find out.

Is a Cold Shower as Effective as a Cold Plunge?

While a cold shower will get your blood flowing and provide other benefits, it’s not nearly as beneficial as an ice bath submersion. There are a few reasons for that. For example, a cold shower might wake you up but wouldn’t help you recover like a cold plunge.

That’s because when it comes to a cold plunge, you’re submerging your whole body into a tub filled with ice at 10-15 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes. That will not only provide the human body with a lot of benefits but will also make the overall quality of life better.

The water reaches each body part and muscle group with a cold plunge. However, putting the whole body under that low temperature or the full submersion is impossible with a cold shower. The body is fully submerged in a cold plunge, which gives it all the recovery benefits. There are many options for cold therapy.

Whether it’s a cold shower, cold plunge, or fully body cold plunge, the benefits are relevant to your goals, time, and budget. But regarding the science behind the cold showers and plunges, the ice bath is a better option in every metric.

Below, we’ve mentioned the five reasons cold plunges work the best.

5 Reasons Why Cold Plunges Work Best

The ultimate ice bath showing a portable ice bath with a white van

While putting your body in a freezing-cold bath might seem extreme, researchers have shown that it positively impacts endurance, stress levels, recovery, rate, and much more.

Now, let’s talk about the potential benefits of cold plunges and five reasons why they work the best.

1. Triggers Hormesis and Increases Endurance

Exposing yourself to extreme temperatures makes your body more resilient. Whether hot or cold, our body is adaptable and starts training us to withstand extreme temperatures. But why does it happen? The initial shock of heat and cold exposure triggers a phenomenon called Hormesis. In other words, the body adapts to extreme temperatures and becomes more resilient.

Just like the body adapts to intense workouts, it can adapt to extreme temperatures, making it stronger.

With a cold plunge, doing a 10-15 degree Celsius plunge for 10-15 minutes will make you stronger. There will even come a time when the body will adapt to this temperature, and the sensitivity will decrease.

2. Improves your Mood and Decreases your Stress Levels

Submerging in cold water gives you a sense of achievement. While there’s a placebo effect involved, cold plunging also triggers the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters known as norepinephrine.

One of the studies showed that low levels of norepinephrine lead to depression and stress. In other words, an ice bath can act as an antidepressant by stimulating these neurotransmitters. Moreover, cold plunging also triggers the fight or flight response which forces you to regulate your sympathetic nervous system.

As you become trained to do so, your body and brain will manage stress effectively.

3. Increases Physical Recovery Rate

By now, we know that a cold plunge is one of the best ways to recover faster. From CrossFit athletes, boxing, and MMA fighters to Marathon runners and cyclists, everyone participates in cold exposure to increase the oxygenated blood flow.

By increasing the blood flow, your body will speed up muscle recovery and reduce the onset of muscle soreness. Hence, not only does the body recover faster, but it also protects itself from a reduced risk of injury.

4. Increases your Energy Levels

Research has shown that when you expose your body to cold temperatures for a shorter period, it increases the secretion of a hormone called norepinephrine. And this hormone is responsible for regulating energy, focus, and attention.

In other words, whether you’re an athlete or someone who does a lot of fitness stuff, cold plunges will be ideal for your lifting sessions and endurance training.

5. Offers many Neurocognitive and Cardiovascular Benefits

Cold plunge research has also shown that cold shock proteins are triggered in hibernating animals. It replaces the synapses in the brain that were lost during the hibernation phase. Moreover, another research has shown that the cold shock protein also prevents cell death in mice undergoing neurodegenerative diseases.

And since humans have the same neuro properties as mice, some studies show that it is ideal for treating various diseases like Alzheimer, Dementia. It’s even good for cardiovascular health.

6. Complement with a Hot/Cold Combo


The best way to use cold water therapy is in tandem with hot water solutions. 

Many brands offer this, and while NordicWay is the best solution for your cold water needs, AquaMoss offers one of the best solutions for combining hot and cold to create your perfect wellness set-up. 


Looking to Buy an Ice Bath? Shop NordicWay™

plunge tub for ice baths portable cold therapy showing dimensions

An ice bath or cold plunge is undeniably superior to a cold shower in every single way.

So, to buy an ice bath and start your cold plunging journey, you should check out our new NordicWay™ Ice Bath Tub.

Our Ice Bath improves your recovery cycles, mindset, and more. Here are some of the properties that make it an ideal ice bath:

  • 100% leak-proof shell.
  • Triple layered insulation to keep your ice bath cooler for longer.
  • Made from sustainable material.
  • Compact, portable, and lightweight.
  • Easy assembly.
  • 350L water capacity.
  • Ideal for taller people.

Invest in yourself.

Kickstart your Cold Plunge journey with NORDICWAY’S Ice Bath today!

 Master Your mind nordicway ice bath promises


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