Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter and hormone that plays a crucial role in the body's "fight or flight" response. It is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress and acts as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter, influencing various physiological processes, including heart rate, blood pressure, and the body's response to stress.
Scientists are studying the effects polar plunging has on the release of the hormone norepinephrine. The Mental Health Center of America confirms this notion in their article on Cold Exposure, and shares how the increase of this hormone can mitigate mental health symptoms.
Ice baths can improve the function of norepinephrine and the overall "fight or flight" response through a process known as cold exposure. When the body is exposed to cold temperatures, such as in an ice bath, it triggers a physiological response to conserve heat and maintain internal temperature. This response involves the release of norepinephrine, among other neurotransmitters and hormones.
The exposure to cold stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to an increased production and release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine, in turn, activates various physiological responses that can enhance overall function, such as:
Increased Alertness: Norepinephrine is associated with increased alertness and arousal, contributing to improved focus and cognitive function.
Enhanced Circulation: Cold exposure promotes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) and subsequent vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) when warming occurs. This process can enhance blood circulation and oxygen delivery to tissues.
Stress Response: The release of norepinephrine is part of the body's stress response. While prolonged or excessive stress can be detrimental, acute stress responses triggered by cold exposure may have beneficial effects on the body's adaptive capacity
Let’s be real, ice baths aren’t fun… but pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and reaping the benefits from that is. So join our growing community to learn about all of the growing benefits that ice plunging brings as science reveals more to us.