5 Reasons to Take an Ice Bath This AM
Ice baths? Ouch! But while the idea of a polar plunge might sound kind of agonizing, research shows there are numerous physical and mental benefits of cold exposure.
Taking a cold shower is one option. Taking an ice bath, on the other hand, is one of the best ways to reap the benefits of cold water immersion — since your skin is more fully exposed to the chilly water.
Read on to hear more about ice baths, including what they are, the benefits, and how to take an ice bath.
What are Ice Baths?
Ice baths, also known as cold hydrotherapy, are a form of cryotherapy — only less extreme. The recommended water temperature for an ice bath is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit — unlike the artic below negative 200 of cryotherapy treatments.
Ice baths have a cold temperature to chill out your body without actually freezing it while serving up a slew of physical and mental health benefits.
5 Benefits of Ice Baths
You’ve probably been seeing ice baths everywhere online. On social media especially, everyone’s talking about ice baths and the benefits of taking a cold plunge (if you dare to do it, that is!). Here are all the reasons to take the plunge this morning!
#1: Ice Baths Support Muscle Recovery
Just came back from the gym? Now’s the best time to jump into a cold bath!
Professional athletes swear by ice baths for easing muscle soreness and improving exercise recovery. A study published in the journal Sports Medicine shows cold water exposure is beneficial for full body muscle recovery, meaning you can jump back into your training sessions quickly and easily by harnessing the recovery powers of ice baths.
So, how exactly does this work? According to the experts, your blood vessels constrict and get smaller when you’re exposed to cold water. When you get out of the water, they re-open, delivering much-needed oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, boosting their recovery after an intense workout.
Ice baths are also said to decrease inflammation in the body, helping to soothe sore muscles in addition to speeding up active recovery after an intense exercise sesh.
#2: Ice Baths De-Stress
Cold immersion can even help reduce your stress levels and better cope with anxiety.
"A study published in the journal JMIR Formative Research found that cold temperatures during an immersion bath can stimulate your vagus nerve," says Laura DeCesaris, a functional medicine expert, adding that "stimulation of this nerve has been shown to help you relax and de-stress."
Any kind of cold water therapy, including ice baths, activate cellular mechanisms and pathways that change the way your body reacts to stress. The moment you plunge into cold water, your body releases "fight-or-flight" hormones, helping to build up and maintain mental clarity and calm while you are in a state of stress. The pros say ice water therapy can be extremely useful when encountering stressors in your life.
#3: Ice Baths Stop You Getting Sick
There is evidence that cold water immersion can work wonders in boosting your immune system and preventing you from getting sick. One 2016 study found that people who take cold showers are almost 30 percent less likely to get sick.
When you slide into a cold bath, your body increases blood flow in a bid to protect vital organs, which is a good thing for your overall health and wellness.
#4: Ice Baths Leave Skin Tighter & Brighter
Ice baths can also work miracles on your skin. Well, maybe not miracles exactly, but they can make it look a whole lot better. That’s because cold water causes blood vessels to constrict, promoting blood circulation, and ultimately leaving skin brighter and tighter.
They can also help in soothing inflammation. Whether you’ve got sunburn, irritation, or general sensitivity, ice baths can cool things down instantly. No time for an ice bath? Ice cubes work too!
#5: Ice Baths Improve Sleep
Struggle sleeping? You might wanna try taking a cold plunge. A study in which the nocturnal core body temperature, heart rate variability, and sleep was assessed in male athletes, found that those who regularly took ice baths after running on a treadmill enjoyed a better night’s sleep.
What’s more, ice baths have a positive effect on the central nervous system, which enables you to sleep better after spending just 10 minutes in it.
How to Take an Ice Bath
Ready to take the plunge? Start by filling your tub with water that is approximately 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit. Then delve in so your entire body is under the water.
“It is important to not stay in the ice bath for more than 15 minutes due to the risk of hypothermia and frostbite,” says Elizabeth Gardner, MD, Yale Medicine sports medicine doctor. “If you notice that your skin is changing colors, then it is important to get out.”
After your soak, pat yourself dry and slather your body in Rainbow’s Smooth Serum (a brightening vitamin C treatment) followed by Rainbow’s Hydrate Body Butter (a rich, shea-based body moisturizer). Together, these formulas will leave skin fresh, vibrant, and glowing — all day long!
Are there Any Side Effects of Ice Baths?
While there are a number of benefits of ice baths, they aren’t for everyone. Health experts suggest anyone with circulation issues, peripheral vascular disease, who is pregnant, or high blood pressure consult with a doctor before sliding into an ice bath.
Is it True that Ice Baths Can Stimulate Weight Loss?
Weight loss is one of the potential benefits of ice baths due to their ability to increase metabolism and help convert white fat to brown fat.
That said, more data needs to be seen as to confirm the effects of ice baths on overall body weight. One session definitely won’t be enough to see a difference, but it could be possible with frequent ice baths.
Those ice baths you’ve been seeing all over TikTok might just be worth a try! From improving muscle recovery to boosting your immune system and brightening your skin, there are so many reasons to draw yourself an ice bath this AM!