Here’s a proposed routine and instructions for cold water therapy that includes suggestions and advice:
- Schedule: Select 2-3 days a week and preferred time of day (morning, midday, or evening) where you can set aside 30-45 minutes.
- Preparation: Mentally and physically prepare by taking a cold shower prior to the cold plunge.
- Temperature Setting: If you’re new to cold-water therapy or extremely sensitive to the cold temperature then set the water temperature to approximately to 50-55 degrees and try to work your way down from there slowly.
- Entering the Tub: Before you climb in take a few deep breaths to get yourself prepared mentally.
- Acclimate: Try to remain in the cold water for at least a few minutes at a time and slowly increase the amount of time you remain in the tub. Try to submerge your whole body and head quickly for faster adjustment. Then bring your head out while keeping your body submerged to acclimate.
- Breathing: Focus on your breathing while in the tub. Take 5-6 breaths per minute to induce relaxation through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Keep Moving: Try and move around adjusting your legs, hands, and feet regularly to improve blood flow.
- Exit and Dry Off: After getting out, consider engaging in light movements like stretches or jumping jacks to warm up post plunge.
Before engaging in cold plunges, especially if you have underlying health conditions, consult with your doctor or physician. Adhere to safety measures during cold plunges, such as staying hydrated, having a companion, and avoiding prolonged exposure to the cold water.
If you enjoy the benefits of cold plunges and want to take it a step further then try contrast therapy. Contrast therapy is alternating back and forth from hot water to cold water to promote various physiological and health benefits.
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