At the base of most waterfalls you’ll find a compact yet deep patch of water, carved out over thousands of years as the plunging torrent beats down on the earth and rock below. As many cultures have realised over human history, a swim in the cold waters of such a ‘plunge pool’ can be an invigorating experience, which is why many modern suburban backyards now feature their own versions.
The perks of cold plunge pools are many and varied. There are functional benefits: measuring just a few metres long and wide, these compact pools fit in more backyards. And there are potential health benefits: cold water therapies can reduce inflammation, balance hormones, improve sleep and elevate mood.
Here we’ll take a deep dive into plunge pools – an appropriate metaphor – to find out what they are, how they could enhance your lifestyle, and whether you should invest in one.
What is a plunge pool?
The term ‘plunge pool’ can refer to a couple of things. A geologist will think of the deep, naturally-formed depression in a stream or at the base of a waterfall.
Most of the rest of us will think of the compact pools that are becoming an increasingly common sight in Kiwi homes, particularly as space limitations in cities mean that full-size swimming pools are becoming rare things.
Plunge pools tend to be approximately 2-6m long, 2-3.5m wide and an average of 1.2m deep (although some are far deeper.) Plunge pools are most commonly filled with unheated water and are designed to offer a quick and refreshing dip, although some plunge pools can creep toward the territory of an in-ground spa, with heated water, seating and jets.
Plunge pools are used for health, wellness and rejuvenation, and are a luxurious addition to any home. Their size means that they can fit where other pools can’t, like in small courtyards. You only need a few square metres of free space to install a plunge pool.
4 health benefits of cold plunge pools
We’re all familiar with the invigorating experience of immersing ourselves in cold water – the initial shock, the quick release of endorphins, the eventual feeling that ‘this water doesn’t actually feel that cold’.
This invigoration is the result of the physiological effects that cold water has on the human body. When you immerse yourself in chilly H2O your blood vessels constrict, your heart rate increases, and your body produces adrenaline and endorphins. And this physiological reaction has been proven to lead to a number of health benefits.
- Reduced inflammation: Why do we put ice packs on everything from sprained ankles to bee stings? Because cold temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict, which in turn helps to reduce swelling.
- Reduced pain: Exposure to the cold can also have an analgesic effect, temporarily numbing sore areas of the body, which makes plunge pools an effective therapy option for those who experience chronic pain.
- Improved mood: Not only does cold water immersion release a wealth of happy hormones, such as endorphins and adrenaline, regular immersion also improves and balances your mood even when you’re out of the water.
- Better sleep: Many cold water immersion adherents report that the improved mood that results from regular sessions can extend into the night – a cold plunge before bed might be the secret to a good night’s sleep!
In truth, the benefits above aren’t restricted to plunge pools – the same could be enjoyed by immersing yourself in any cold body of water. It could also be argued that cold plunge pools are quite limited in their functionality – they are great for a quick and invigorating dip but not much more.
What if there was a way to not only enjoy the perks of cold water immersion, but a wealth of extra functionality and benefits too, and potentially pay less for the pleasure? Thanks to the Hot Spring CoolZone system, there is.
CoolZone: turn your spa pool into a plunge pool
Hot Spring spa pools are synonymous with hot water, and for good reason (exhibit A: ‘hot’ is right there in the name.) Having instant access to the warm and bubbling waters of a backyard spa is an incredibly enticing thought, and these machines also bring a wealth of health benefits that come from warm water immersion.
But by adding Hot Spring’s revolutionary CoolZone™ system to your spa pool, you can cool the otherwise warm waters down to an invigorating 15C and turn the machine into a plunge pool!
The CoolZone system is also particularly useful for those who live in warmer climates. In the heat of summer you can bring the waters of your spa pool down to a cool and fresh level, allowing you to enjoy the hydromassage experience no matter the weather. When the cool weather returns, you can heat your spa right back up!
The reality is that while a cold plunge pool might be a beautiful and indulgent addition to your home, they’re only good for one thing: a quick and invigorating dip. An investment in a CoolZone-fitted Hot Spring spa pool, meanwhile, offers you that same invigoration and a whole lot more: the ability to warm the water, comfy contoured seating, soothing hydromassage jets, even underwater lighting systems and illuminated water features.
What’s more, all this added functionality could end up costing you less! Plunge pools demand costly excavation, professional installation and the navigation of a lot of council red tape. Hot Spring’s portable spa pools, meanwhile, can simply be placed, wired and plumbed – some are even Plug-N-Play. When all the costs are added up, you could find yourself saving a bundle.
Wondering what a CoolZone-fitted spa pool feels like? Your local Hot Spring dealer is ready to help