People are rarely lukewarm about cold therapy – they either love it or hate it. And, increasingly, more and more A-listers are coming out as passionate devotees. Take Courtney Cox, who just shared her preparation for a cold plunge on Instagram, questioning if it’s cheating to keep waterproof booties on as it’s "so fucking cold". Well, quite.
Far from a novice, she's talked about her love of cold water plunges in the past, telling Glamour US last year "I thought I would hate it, but I love it so much. I feel great for hours afterward… the dopamine hit you get from it lasts a long time. Do it. Really, it’s worth it."
As cold water instructor and breathwork coach Lindsay Aubrey confirms to Bazzar, "cold water immersion can lead to a 250 percent increase in dopamine – known as the feel-good hormone, enhancing mood, while the invigoration felt by it results in heightened alertness".
Cox's enthusiasm for the therapy is matched by The Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton's, who revealed her love of cold water swimming in 2023. Speaking on Mike Tindall's podcast, The Good, The Bad and The Rugby, she said: "Cold swimming – the colder, the better. I absolutely love it. Slightly to the point where William's [saying], 'You're crazy' and it's dark and it's raining'. I will go and seek out cold water."
In addition to the well versed mood boost it delivers, there are numerous potential benefits to gain from cold therapy, Dr Sophie Shotter tells us – having investigated them for an episode on biohacking for her podcast, Age Well with Dr Sophie Shotter. "Perhaps the most well-known include aiding muscle recovery and joint pain, and to help healing after injuries. It’s a great option for helping speed up recovery after exercise, which is why so many elite athletes are fans of doing ice baths."
She adds that there is also emerging evidence that cold therapy "could help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and boost immunity, as well as improve circulation, deepen sleep, reduce inflammation in the body, improve energy levels and boost metabolic rate – therefore aiding weight loss".
Those in the know often tag team cold therapy with hot – by way of saunas. For example, Elle Macpherson recently told us that every evening "I sit in my Therasage portable infrared sauna for an hour... and then after I've done that I'll do a cold plunge", adding "that's great for the immune system". Cox concurs – according to her Friends costar, Jennifer Aniston.
Speaking to Shape, Aniston once said: "I have an infrared sauna that I fell in love with. My friend Courteney Cox – you may know her – had a portable infrared sauna that you go into. It kind of looks like a little igloo." The therapeutic effects, as Dr. Yannis Alexandrides MD FACS, founder of 111 Skin tells us, can be used to "increase collagen tissues, decrease joint stiffness, reduce pain, relieve muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and aid healing".
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