Cold plunge vs cold shower


Based on the knowledge from the Huberman Lab Podcast, both cold plunges and cold showers are forms of deliberate cold exposure that can activate different physiological systems.

Cold showers:

  • Activate the autonomic nervous system
  • Can be used as a cost-effective method to raise adrenaline levels and practice calmness under stress1.

Cold immersion (such as a cold plunge):

  • Effectively cools the body, especially when the cold water immersion is up to the neck
  • Considered one of the most powerful and efficient forms of cold exposure
  • Often contrasted with being outside in cold weather which similarly activates the sympathetic nervous system and brown fat 2.


  • Cold water immersion engages the body more intensely than a cold shower, making it likely superior in activating brown fat, increasing metabolism, and regulating body temperature
  • Cold showers, while beneficial, may not be as effective as immersion in ice or cold water for recovery purposes 3.

    Boosting Stress Threshold

    Andrew discusses the importance of raising your stress threshold and shares a cost-effective method using cold showers to elevate adrenaline levels and practice staying calm in stressful situations.

    Huberman Lab

    Mental Health Toolkit: Tools to Bolster Your Mood & Mental Health

For detailed information, please refer to the clips from the podcast:

  • Cold Exposure Benefits: 2
  • Cold Exposure Methods: 4
  • Recovery Techniques: 3