Shock & Awe(some): The Benefits of a Cold Plunge
The Active Life | The Great Outdoors

Shock & Awe(some): The Benefits of a Cold Plunge

by Jeffery Racheff

Have you ever stood in the shower and thought to yourself, “If I jumped off an iceberg, would I instantly turn into a meat popsicle? Is that what a cold plunge is? And do polar bears really drink Coke?”

The answers are no, sort of, and actually they prefer Pepsi.

These are the kinds of questions that have plagued warm-blooded humans for ages. We are pre-wired to seek out shelter and comfort and hot showers, where the chance of running into a polar bear is low (but not zero).

But what if we told you that cold plunges (also known as ice baths) are actually … kinda cool? And that your addiction to heat may be holding you back from the surprising benefits of dipping into the icy deep?



The Science of Shivering

Alec Merlino is a madman in all the best ways. The “Survivor” star (and Every Man Jack ambassador) is such a cold water enthusiast that he built his own DIY cold plunge tub. Because in his own words, “All sufferings have their rewards.”

@alec.merlino What 30 days of ice baths taught me #icebath #fyp #coldplunge #coldplunging ♬ original sound - alec


So what are the cold plunge benefits?

Improved Circulation

Cold water causes blood vessels to constrict, which can help flush out toxins as the body then warms up and the vessels dilate. Improved circulation can contribute to better heart health and skin appearance.

Enhanced Immune System

Regular exposure to cold water has been linked to an increase in white blood cells and other immune system functions, potentially boosting the body's defense against infections.

Increased Endorphin Levels

Cold water immersion can trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, which can help reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being.

Reduced Inflammation

Athletes often use cold water immersion to reduce muscle inflammation and soreness after intense workouts, as the cold can help limit inflammation and accelerate muscle recovery.

Improved Mental Health

Regular cold plunging may help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. The shock of cold water stimulates the part of the brain responsible for mood regulation, potentially improving mental health.

Enhanced Metabolic Rate

Exposure to cold can increase the metabolic rate by forcing the body to work harder to stay warm, potentially aiding in weight loss efforts by increasing calorie burn.

Better Sleep Quality

Some people report improved sleep quality after cold plunging, possibly due to its effects on the body's natural sleep cycles and reduction in stress levels.

Increased Willpower and Discipline

The practice of regularly immersing oneself in cold water requires mental strength and discipline, which can improve an individual's willpower and resilience in other areas of life.



Safety First

Before you throw yourself into the deep end of the cold plunge lifestyle, make sure to take proper safety precautions to have the most rewarding (and danger-free) experience.

  • Consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have heart conditions, high blood pressure, or other health issues.

  • Start slowly, then gradually increase your exposure time. Starting with lukewarm water and slowly decreasing the temperature over time can help your body adjust to the shock of cold water.

  • Never plunge alone. Always have a buddy or someone nearby when you're cold plunging, especially in natural bodies of water.

  • Know your limits. If you feel too uncomfortable or start experiencing symptoms like excessive shivering, numbness, or difficulty breathing, it's time to get out and warm up.

  • Don’t stick your head under too long. Avoid submerging your head under cold water, as this can increase the shock to your system.

  • Warm up gradually afterwards. Once you get out, avoid extreme heat sources like hot showers or saunas immediately after, as the rapid temperature change can be shocking to the system.

  • Be mindful of environmental conditions. ALWAYS be aware of conditions including water currents, wildlife, and weather. Ensure the plunge site is safe and free from hazards.


Ice Barrel

Want a sweet cold plunge tub that’s guaranteed to be free of polar bears and other arctic dangers? We recommend our friends over at Ice Barrel, who also have some great tips on warming up after an ice bath. Want an Ice Barrel of your own? Use code  EMJ15 for 15% OFF at (discount does not apply to the Chiller or any sale items).

Embrace the Chill

Cold plunging is more than a wellness trend; it's a testament to the body's remarkable ability to adapt, recover, and thrive under stress. And the myriad of benefits waiting beneath the surface makes this challenge one worth considering. 

Whether you're seeking physical rejuvenation, mental clarity, or a test of endurance, cold plunging offers a refreshing path to achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle. So why not take the leap and discover the invigorating power of cold water? Your body (and mind) might just thank you for it.



Not Into Freezing Yourself? Feel the Thrill with Cold Plunge Bars

For some people, sitting in ice water doesn’t sound like the greatest time. That’s why we created our new Cold Plunge soap bars.


Every Man Jack Cold Plunge Bar Soap

Inspired by the West Coast’s most iconic cold water locales – from Yosemite’s wonder-inducing sights to the awesomeness of the Pacific Ocean – Cold Plunge bars put nature’s most powerful scents in the palm of your hand.

They’re cold-processed to lock in natural oils for better lather and moisturization, and they include natural particles (like Kelp in Pacific Dive and Sand in Tahoe Blue) for the perfect exfoliation.