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Chattanooga-Based Ice Buddies Champions Cold-Plunge Therapy for Mental Health

Ice therapy mental healing.


Chattanooga-Based ‘Ice Buddies’ Champions Cold-Plunge Therapy for Mental Health

A revitalizing method of mental health therapy

In Chattanooga, a unique community is drawing attention for its cold-plunge therapy that aims to aid mental health. This brave group, known as ‘Ice Buddies’, embodies a firm belief in the therapeutic influence of cold water immersion, backed by breathing exercises. The founder, James Dawson, is a local entrepreneur grappling with anxiety and burnout, who conceived this community to share the benefits of cold-plunge therapy.

On a typically freezing December day, over 30 courageous Chattanooga residents swapped the comfort of their warm, dry clothes, for bathing suits, willingly surrendering to the icy embrace of water tubs, an unlikely situation, puzzling to an observer.

A creative response to mental health crises

However, beneath this puzzling scenario lies a deeply-rooted purpose – a solution for boosting mental well-being. Cold-plunge practitioners, like Dawson, assert that pairing breathing exercises with exposure to icy water creates a positive impact on mental health. Immersing oneself in cold water, ideally, between 40 to 50 degrees, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, claims to be the key to this unique therapy. To sweeten this challenging task, the Ice Buddies emphasizes the power of communal participation.

Ice Buddies: A supportive community

The Ice Buddies community is a supportive troupe, encouraging one another to embrace this icy practice amidst an atmosphere of camaraderie. Their official kickoff event held on Main Street, part of the Chattanooga’s 24-hour MainX24 celebration, saw not just solitary participants, but a group dynamic, individuals stepping into their first cold-plunge experience, guided by others who’ve walked the same chilly path. Their shared resilience in the face of frigid discomfort serves as a testament to their collective endeavor in enhancing mental well-being.

How cold-plunge therapy works

The theory behind cold-plunge therapy is based on exposing the body to stress in bursts, causing it to adapt and become stronger. It is believed that regular exposure to cold helps train your nervous system to be resilient to stress. The enormous initial shock of cold sends a jolt through your system, kick-starting circulation, and boosting endorphin levels, creating what practitioners describe as a rush of energy and a feeling of revitalization.

Channeling ice for mental-health

Some scientific research corroborates the mental health merits of cold exposure, suggesting it can alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Moreover, combining cold-plunge therapy with mindfulness practices like deep-breathing exercises offers a more holistic approach for mental well-being, providing avenues to manage stress, and cultivate sound lifestyle.

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