Posts, videos, and health talks, there’s much noise around ice bath therapy. If you can’t beat ’em…might as well, join ’em!
Ice baths have emerged as a trending go-to therapy. While many people are discussing ice baths, it is vital to understand the appropriate way of enjoying a cold soak for optimum benefits. If you want to join the wagon but aren’t sure how to follow ice bathing therapy, we have you covered.
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An age-old practice- ice baths aren’t limited to post-injury recovery or strengthening the immune system. Ice bath therapy has a score of positive effects on your metabolism, mood, and sleep, and regular ice baths even aid fat loss – who would’ve thought?
While many people are piquing their interest to see what all the fuss is about, one and the most common is that you must head to a high-performance sports facility to get give it a crack – all seems like the too-hard basket, not to mention expensive.
All good, we’ve got your back. You can recreate the same icy cold bath in your bathtub at home! Read on to unleash more on ice bath therapy for first-timers.
Factors to Consider Before Diving in for an Ice Bath
Not all Ice Baths are the same. In fact, there are several that shouldn’t be online at all! But of course, there are no regulations in place so common sense prevails.
We can’t really go tell you directly who the bad apples are, but we can provide some hints. If the Ice bath looks like it’s quite ‘bendy’ or the walls appear as they expand, it’s probably got 2 or 3 layers without any reinforced properties or thermal properties.
If you’re buying an Ice Bath…you want it to last. Heck, you have 400L of water plus a body, you need it to be tough and also you need to ensure there are thermal properties to keep the water colder for longer – makes sense, right?
Biggest Red Flag When Buying An Ice Bath
One of the biggest red flags is the ‘repair patches. If you see the company has repair patches as part of their product descriptions. Click out of the site – It’s a dead giveaway, their products are not made that well. The seams, or the tub itself will probably split – hence the patch repair kits you get.
We know…we’ve tried them. They split. We’re so confident that Freeze Tub is the best Ice Bath NZ has to offer, if you take a photo of a competitor’s ice bath that has ripped or broken, we’ll give you a 40% discount on the freeze tub solo including all the bells and whistles (Thermal and Weather Lid)
Freeze Tub Solo 80cm x 75cm
Righto – moving on. Ice Bath therapy or cold immersions are therapeutic, but if you are a first-timer still struggling to integrate ice bathing into your everyday routine or recovery schedule, here are a few things you must consider before the plunge.
So, here’s what you must know before nosediving into icy cold pools, bathtubs, lakes, or oceans.
The first step to doing something for the first time is creating comfort. If you wish to go for ice baths, start with cold showers if you haven’t already.
Cold showers will help you manage your psychological response to an ice bath and avoid a shock to your body when you take the freezing dip. Although in saying that, the shock, or flight/fight response tends to be beneficial also.
Understand the Appropriate Temperature
For ice bath therapy, the ideal bathing temperatures are between 11°-15°C.
However, a straight dip might send chills up your spine, so that you can start at 15°C, which generally is tap or hose water.
With the Freeze Tub Solo, you can gradually submerge your entire body up to your face, it’s big enough for the average person.
Norwegian research indicated that rewarming ability of different individuals might vary.
Now that you have made up your mind for a cold immersion, you need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system in your body.
Ice bath therapy requires focus and deep breathing beforehand can help maximise the generation of natural nitric oxide. You only need to start breathing through your nostrils for a few minutes beforehand which will help you relax.
Once you feel ready to step into the ice bath, you can let yourself in while holding your breath on an exhale to minimise the cold water shock. Continue on with focused breathing and you’ll find your body will start to warm. It’s an amazing feeling.
You will know your body starting to warm after 2-3 minutes because if you move your arms, you will instantly feel the chilled water.
Duration of a Bath
For effective Ice bath therapy and certainly, for beginners, it is recommended to stick to around 3 minutes. If that sounds challenging, you can prepare for the cold showers in the weeks preceding the dive.
If you begin your ice bath at around 15°C of room temperature, you might be able to withstand the immersion for a more extended period.
Once you get acclimatised to the water temperature, you work your way up to 10 minutes within the following 4-6 weeks. Begin with 2-3 baths every week and gradually increase.
After that, if you reduce the water temperature by adding more ice to your tub, you can adjust the time of your soak accordingly. However, in the process, you must listen to your body.
Know How to Optimise Your Experience
A full-body immersion can help you enjoy the most of your ice bath. The initial dip will likely send a dramatic signal to your nervous system.
Still, you can elicit a better hormonal response with your body soaked in icy-cold water. You can try a face dip occasionally throughout the plunge.
Make sure to breathe through your nose and ensure the experience gets easier and better after the first few moments.
A thoroughly enjoyable practice- you can experience the benefits of ice bathing to the fullest when you appreciate it.
While the first jump might leave you feeling fresh and awake, remember there are more benefits to follow when you make it a practice.
What to do Post an Ice Bath?
Once you’ve taken your bath, carefully step out and wipe yourself down with a towel. Subsequently, put on dry clothes.
It is possible that your feet will feel numb, hence, exercise caution when moving around. If you continue shivering, drink a warm to a hot beverage or follow your ice bath with a warm shower.
However, ensure your shower water isn’t too hot, as your skin might not be able to detect and adapt to hot water instantly.
Things to Watch Out for When Ice Bathing
Although ice baths and ice bath therapy over time are typically considered safe for most people, do not use your Freeze Tub if you suffer from cardiac, pulmonary, or other underlying health conditions.
Extended cold exposure could lead to hypothermia or frostbite. Although this is very, very rare. One would tend to step out when they start to shiver for long periods of time.
Ice bath therapy has an optimal window, so try keeping the immersion time to 15 minutes or less for beginners.
Beginners can Follow These Tips for Their First Plunge
If you want to get the best experience, you can try the Wim Hof Method to start with. This practice combines ice water therapy with breathwork and commitment. This method suggests slowly introducing yourself to cold showers for a few weeks before jumping into the icy water.
Here are some more things you should know:
- Cap your ice bathing time to a maximum of 15 minutes.
- Instead of heading alone, have someone accompany or supervise you for the first few bathing sessions. It’s fun to scream in front of others.
- Understanding your body and being aware of any possible limitations is essential.
- Gauge your sensitivity to cold and consult a medical professional to check for any underlying conditions you may not know.
- Take the first plunge in activewear, as they will protect sensitive areas.
- Start slowly by immersing only a part of your body at a time. You can start with the lower half of your body and gradually aim at complete immersion in your 2nd or 3rd ice bath therapy session.
There is no denying that ice baths look cool on your Instagram and can prove equally beneficial for health and overall fitness.
If you plan to continue with it consistently, you can safely install a setup for your ice baths at home. Prepping ahead and knowing what to expect will be a certain advantage.
Take control of your breath, maintain prolonged exhales, and give your body time to adjust to the cold.