Most of us are more familiar with some of the main physical benefits of using an Ice bath, such as reducing pain, muscle recovery, reducing inflammation, immunity boosting, improved skin health, weight loss, the list goes on. However, lesser known are the Mental Health benefits, here we go with listing some of the main ones below:

Activates the Vagus Nerve 

The vagus nerve is a long nerve that runs from your brain to your stomach. It’s responsible for a variety of functions, such as controlling your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress response. When you’re stressed, the vagus nerve signals your body to release stress hormones. When you take an Ice Bath, the cold water has a calming effect that activates the vagus nerve to decrease stress levels and to help reduce tension and anxiety. 

Regulates Hormones 

Cold Water Therapy (CWT) increases production of mood elevating hormones and neurotransmitters (beta-endorphins, noradrenaline and dopamine) that can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety by changing the chemistry in our body and brain. The rush we feel upon jumping in cold water is partly due to these chemicals communicating the experience to our brain. 

Overall, Ice Baths affect your hormones by: 

  • Reducing cortisol – the stress hormone 
  • Increasing endorphins – a natural painkiller 
  • Increasing norepinephrine – regulates emotions and boosts focus 
  • Increasing testosterone – promotes energy, muscle development and bone growth 

CWT regulates the release of hormones which is important because hormone imbalances can lead to a variety of health problems, such as anxiety, depression and weight gain. 

Sensory Input 

We have an extremely high concentration of cold receptors on the surface of our skin. When these nerve endings are simultaneously activated, the brain receives a huge influx of sensory information thought to have an antidepressant effect.  

It’s possible this flood of sensory information from the skin to the brain acts as a pause button on the neurological processes that are part of depression and anxiety. When we’re immersed in cold water we may be interrupting certain neurological cycles contributing to mental health issues. 

Stress Resilience 

Regularly challenging yourself to withstand cold temperatures may help you build resilience, or the ability to handle other stressful situations when they arise. 

Improved Circulation 

Many of CWT’s benefits can be attributed to its positive effects on circulation. The circulatory system (also known as the cardiovascular system) pumps blood to the lungs to transfer oxygen via the heart to the rest of the body. The better your heart and blood vessels can perform these functions, the better they’ll be able to rid your body of waste resulting in healthier organs, muscles, and tissues. 

Increase Alertness 

CWT can boost alertness and focus levels. An Ice Bath can induce nominal shock, which activates your sympathetic nervous system and triggers a flight/fight response.  

The result is stimulated cognitive abilities, including concentration, focus, and alertness. This is due to the production of norepinephrine and adrenaline hormones during the fight-or-flight response stage. 

Improved Sleep 

Sleep deprivation can contribute to depression, accelerated skin ageing, weight gain, and impaired judgment. As already mentioned when you take an Ice Bath, the cold water has a calming effect that activates the vagus nerve to decrease stress and tension. This in turn may assist with the time it takes to get to sleep and with an uninterrupted night. 

Boosts Energy Levels  

CWT triggers cold thermogenesis, a process where cold stimulates the skin’s nerve endings. Cold thermogenesis increases oxygen levels and boosts heart and respiration rates, increasing alertness and energy levels. 

Systemic inflammation  

As well as assisting with physical inflammation, CWT may act like a systemic ice pack, helping to reduce inflammatory markers that may contribute to depression and anxiety. 


The psychological benefit of CWT can’t be overestimated. The sense of achievement, the commitment to oneself and to a ritual, and the opportunity for social connection when practicing regular cold-water immersion are all thought to play a role in improving mental health conditions. You feel if you can take on an ice bath you can take on anything. 


Benefits Of CWT