Ice Bath Benefits

The Ice Bath benefits aren’t set out just for athletes. Freeze Tubs have been used for individuals wanting to improve mental resilience and improve their concentration, focus breathing, mood, and immune system.

Dr. Lea McMahon LPC, EdD
Dr. Lea McMahon LPC, EdDChief Clinical Officer - Symetria Recovery
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Ice baths have traditionally helped athletes recuperate psychologically and physically. They may aid therapy, thus more addiction rehabilitation programs are employing them.

Ice baths relieve pain and heal in addiction therapy. Detox and withdrawal can cause discomfort, stiffness, and tight muscles as the body adjusts to not utilizing drugs or alcohol. Cold water narrows blood vessels, reducing pain. Ice baths relax muscles, reduce swelling, and expedite recovery after activity, helping withdrawal symptoms and overall health.

An ice bath can improve mental health and social stability, which are crucial for addiction recovery. Because it releases endorphins and serotonin and dopamine, cold water makes many individuals feel peaceful, cheerful, and clear-headed. This brain chemical reaction reduces stress, anxiety, and emotional instability, making addiction recovery simpler. Ice baths reduce cravings, balance mood swings, and increase awareness, helping people with mental health issues stay clean.

Recovery from addiction requires enough sleep, yet users typically have insomnia. Take an ice bath to improve your sleep and REM state. Cold stimulates melatonin production, which helps you fall and stay asleep. Melatonin controls sleep and wakefulness. Nighttime ice baths aid healing. This improves sleep, stress, and sleep quality.

Ice baths help people become more self-aware, resilient, and self-care expert by linking mind and body, which is crucial for long-term rehabilitation. Ice bath enthusiasts focus on their breath, mental conversation, and physical experiences in an ice bath. More awareness helps people think about themselves, be thoughtful, and connect with their bodies. This improves self-esteem and emotional control. After a breakup, icing baths symbolize rebuilding and personal progress.
Ryan Sheridan
Ryan SheridanPsychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - Proactive Psychiatry
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As an integrative psychiatric nurse practitioner, I find the use of ice baths in therapeutic contexts quite fascinating, particularly in relation to mental health and recovery processes. Personally, and in my clinical practice, I've observed that ice baths can significantly aid in reducing inflammation and enhancing recovery post-exercise. They may also improve mental clarity and resilience, crucial in managing daily stresses and mental health challenges. We think this works by increase key neurotransmitters in the brain (dopamine, norepinephrine, etc). for several hours after the ice bath.

For individuals considering ice baths, it's essential to start gradually, paying attention to your body's reactions and limiting initial sessions to just a few minutes. It's also important to consider any pre-existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular issues, that may affect your suitability for ice baths. Always consult with a healthcare professional before integrating ice baths into your routine, especially if intended for therapeutic purposes.
Darnell Cox
Darnell CoxHealthy Aging Specialist Gerontologist - Live Young Life
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You don't need a fancy ice bath to experience the benefits of a cold plunge. Every day I start my morning off with a freezing cold shower or bath. Not only does it wake me up, but it reduces inflammation and swelling, lifts my mood by releasing endorphins, decreases anxiety and depression symptoms, and increases my metabolism. Set the water to 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit and sit in the water for 2-3 minutes. Additionally, it helps you to sleep better at night if you kickstart your morning with a cold plunge. As a 56-year-old healthy aging expert, I can attest to reaping the benefits of this daily routine and it's a simple practice that takes little to no time out of your day!

Explore all the Ice Bath Benefits

Ice Bath For Weight Loss

Nutrition is critical in losing weight, but have you considered adding in easy alternatives? By introducing daily cold-water plunging, your blood vessels involuntarily constrict, forcing your body to activate heat, which increases a thermogenic hormone that converts white fat in your body to burn like brown fat.

Dr. Taher Saifullah, MD, D.ABA, MS
Dr. Taher Saifullah, MD, D.ABA, MSFounder - Spine & Pain Institute Los Angeles
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Ice baths might help you lose weight via upregulation of brown adipose tissue (BAT), which burns calories to create heat, but they’ll only be of marginal help and should be accompanied by a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Ice Bath For Skin and Body

Regular cold water immersion therapies stimulate hormesis, a known marker that causes mild stress on the skin. The skin reacts by decreasing inflammation and tightness of the skin, reducing pore size and stimulating the production of collagen. It also reduces skin issues, allowing for a smoother complexion. 

Dr. Taher Saifullah, MD, D.ABA, MS
Dr. Taher Saifullah, MD, D.ABA, MSFounder - Spine & Pain Institute Los Angeles
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As cold water closes pores and constricts blood vessels, skin tone and radiance are slightly boosted, inflammation is decreased and blood flow to the skin decreases for a temporary tightening effect – for both men and women, this can be an easy fix for occasional blemishes or acne symptoms often associated with hormones and heat, such as those caused by eczema or dermatitis.

Ice Bath During Pregnancy

There has been positive feedback on cold water plunging and pregnancy, however, it’s important to do your research initially. You can still receive good ice bath benefits from cold water plunging at 15°C such as reduced inflammation, better sleep, improved recovery, a more balanced mood and a boost in metabolism.

Ice Bath For Recovery

With intensive exercise, the body receives significant muscle damage and inflammation. Athletes use cold water immersion to help increase the recovery rate and improve delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) By minimising the inflammation, the body can recover faster and physical performance can be restored.

Ice Bath For Atheletes

Cold plunging has been a part of athletic recovery for both professional and non-professional athletes for decades. Whether it’s full-contact sports or low-intensity exercise, ice packs and portable ice baths have been used on the sidelines of sports games as a means of reducing inflammation and downtime from injury.

Chris Smith
Chris SmithHolistic Wellness Coach - Coldture
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Parts of my training cycle require a significant increase in training volume, in terms of the number of sessions per week, and absolute load per session. For example, one day of training might consist of sprinting and plyometrics in the morning, followed by Olympic weightlifting and barbell strength training in the evening. It’s days like this where I benefit the most from incorporating ice baths into my routine.

After completing my morning training session, It’s not uncommon for me to feel tired and sore, my limbs to feel heavy, and to catch myself wondering “How am I going to complete a second session?” These physical sensations and self-doubt are erased after I take an ice bath.

My soreness goes away. The cold effectively reduces my inflammation. I feel incredibly refreshed and energized throughout the day to take on my second training session in the evening. It’s as if I hadn’t even trained in the morning. Ice baths provide me with a complete reset.

Research suggests that what I’m experiencing has to do with the alternation between vasoconstriction and vasodilation during and after the bath, which promotes better circulation, aiding in the flushing out of metabolic waste.

Anecdotally, I just find it feels good.

Ice Bath For Mental Health

Dr. Ketan Parmar, MD
Dr. Ketan Parmar, MDForensic Psychiatrist - ClinicSpots
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Ice baths, often incorporated into athletes' recovery routines, also have notable benefits for mental health. Their influence extends beyond physical healing, touching on psychological well-being in several ways:

Stress Reduction: Exposure to cold water can reduce stress levels. The initial shock followed by adaptation helps manage stress, training the body's response to stressful situations in daily life.

Improved Mood: Cold water immersion stimulates the production of endorphins, known as the body's natural painkillers, "Engaging in certain activities can result in a better mood and an overall sense of well-being."

Enhanced Resilience: Regularly exposing oneself to the controlled stress of cold water can improve mental resilience. This practice teaches tolerance to discomfort, which can be beneficial in facing life's challenges.

Better Sleep Patterns: Ice baths can enhance sleep quality by naturally lowering the body's core temperature when preparing for sleep. This can be particularly helpful for individuals with insomnia or irregular sleep patterns.

Anxiety and Depression Management: There is emerging evidence to suggest that cold water therapy may help in managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Ice Bath After Workout

Muscle soreness and recovery wait times is one of the main reasons weight trainers work out muscle groups weekly. Contrast temperature therapy with ice baths mixed with protein sources help recover muscles 2 x faster than idle body-time recovery due to decreased creatine kinase which enhances muscle damage.

Marc Massad
Marc MassadCertified Pickleball Trainer & IFP Pickleball Ambassador - Velocity Paddle
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As a professional sports trainer and coach with over 25 years of experience, I've leveraged the benefits of ice baths in multiple facets of my own and my athlete's routines. From enhancing post-workout recovery in sports like pickleball to boosting mental health, ice baths have proven highly beneficial.

I began incorporating ice baths in my post-workout regime around 10 years ago. The immediate impact was a reduction in inflammation and quicker muscle recovery. Now, my athletes at Sportsify Pickleball Academy DXB use them routinely, often noting enhanced performance and reduced fatigue. I've also found an unexpected benefit in the form of heightened mental clarity after an ice bath, which often varies depending on the time of day—afternoons tend to be more energizing, while evening ice baths help improve sleep quality.

However, it's essential to note that ice baths aren't for everyone. A gradual introduction, with a focus on breathing techniques and time management, can make the difference between a beneficial experience and a shock to the system.

The Risks of Ice Baths

While there are a host of benefits that you can expect from an ice bath, it isn’t completely devoid of risks.

Don’t be one of those people who think you can outperform the others and stay in the water longer – no winner trophies here.

Hypothermia, or a steep drop in the body temperature, can be dangerous if you stay in freezing water for long. We don’t recommend staying in your Freeze Tub below 10 degrees for longer than 12 mins and no longer than 4 to 5 mins at 3 degrees.

You could also experience a faster heart rate when bathing in icy cold water. Generally, the veins and arteries in your blood constrict making it a little harder for your heart to pump blood, this could temporarily elevate your blood pressure and cause your heart to pump faster. Generally, this is safe for most people as this occurs with other day-to-day situations also, but like all new health regimes, discuss this with your Doctor.

Dhaval R. Desai, MD
Dhaval R. Desai, MDHead of Hospital Medicine - Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
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A cold plunge immerses the body into a much colder temperature for a few seconds or minutes at a time. It decreases your core body temperature. It’s a way for recovery in the right setting (post-exercise or mental health reasons).

There are two main benefits:
  1. Muscle recovery post-workout through the cold temperature/water acting as an anti-inflammatory effect. It constricts blood vessels that can decrease the inflammatory markers and processes traveling to muscles and body.
  2. I feel there are mental health benefits through improved focus and sleep better.

EVERYTHING HAS RISKS! We have to remember that exposure to very cold temperatures can lead to frostbite and even hypothermia. Those who have underlying neurologic or cardiac conditions certainly need to consult with their physicians to see if there are any reasons that they shouldn’t do it.

Just like everything, moderation is key. I think once a week or even twice a month can be a good start for a cold plunge. I started taking the plunge monthly and lasted less than a minute in the cold water. It was a professional facility for cold plunges. I hope to gradually increase my time in the cold water.

I think we are learning a lot about cold plunges and other nontraditional ways to help heal our bodies. We have to choose something that is safe and that can work with us. I think it’s key to look at your body as a whole, and see all of your underlying health conditions and if there are any major risks. Consider trying it once and seeing how your body feels. If it works, that’s great, and if it doesn’t, move on to something else.

Tips For Taking Ice Baths Safely

Here are a few ways to ensure you take your ice bath safely and maintain effective ice bath benefits.

  • The water temperature should always be between 11-15°C for beginners. Get colder as you go on.
  • Limit your time in the ice bath based on experience; preferably, do not stay longer than 15 minutes.
  • Start your bath by immersing your legs for 1 minute initially, before heading for a full-body plunge.
  • Counting, meditating, or keeping your mind relaxed can help soak the best benefits of your ice bath.
  • Write down issues that you have; pains etc and in 3 months, check out the original notes you made.

Concluding Thoughts

A proven method used for recovery- ice baths can provide overall wellness of mind and body when approached with safety.

You can enjoy your icy bath at home in a large tub. Immersing the whole body in the tub can reap maximum benefits from your ice bath experience.

It can regulate your body’s temperature, establish a mind-body control and elicit an optimal hormonal response. Known to be a viable tool for muscle recovery, especially if you’ve suffered an injury or want to relax your body after an endurance workout, the Freeze Tub is undoubtedly worth a try!