Do ice baths improve mental health
Chad Walkaden, Director & Primary Practitioner
05 March 2019
Are ice baths and cold showers a health fad or is there something deeper in this emerging movement that we need to look at more seriously when thinking about integrating this as a treatment for mental illnesses?
Before we explore this, we firstly need to define what treatment actually means. Often, when talking about treatment for depression, anxiety or any other mental illness, there is standard belief around the treatment involving the use of medication that is overseen by a Psychiatrist. Is there a need for this? Of course. However, there is enough evidence to show this model is clearly outdated and needs to be replaced by a model that gives each individual personalised treatment plans that are based primarily around the use of integrative medicine. Part of this solution involves the use of cold therapy.
To put it simply, the use of cold therapy as a treatment for mental illnesses is a way to support a natural chemical change in the body. However, unlike medication, the changes associated with cold therapy to counter the chemical imbalance are not possible through taking a tablet. Instead, the proven benefits that include releasing feel good hormones like dopamine are only released through the individual having the discipline, will, commitment and daily structure to be able to push through the barriers that are involved with having a cold shower or ice bath.
To summarise, any treatment that forces a positive chemical change in the body while also creating improved daily habits is going to have a significant difference to someone’s mental health. Therefore, the question is not about whether cold therapy works but how you can more people with mental illnesses in a daily cold shower or weekly ice bath.
However, there is enough evidence to show this model is clearly outdated and needs to be replaced by a model that gives each individual personalised treatment plans that are based primarily around the use of integrative medicine