A new trend is causing people to soak their bodies in freezing cold water in the belief that it will help improve their immune system and cardiovascular health. While there is little evidence backing these claims, cold plunging could actually be harmful. 

Cold plunging has been used for centuries for therapeutic, health, and sporting recovery. In the sports medicine world, it’s called cold water immersion. It’s usually performed post-workout as a way to reduce inflammation and stop muscle soreness from recurring.  

“It helps stop the lactic acid build-up by making the blood vessels smaller,” says Bryanna Howard, MS, LAT, adjunct professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training  at the University of Utah College of Health and an athletic trainer at University of Utah Health.  

But cold plunging isn’t for everyone, and it’s not recommended before talking to your doctor. The plunge itself can be dangerous if you don’t do it the right way. It’s important to follow these steps if you’re considering taking the plunge. 

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