What is an Ice Bath?

We just have to glance at Instagram, TikTok or Facebook to see people tipping cold buckets of water over their heads, having cold showers every morning, putting their legs in icy water after a run or filling up freezer boxes of water and ice and submerging completely. Well an ice bath is just that, a container full of icy cold water or water with lots of ice in, where you can submerge your body. The cold water within the ice bath has lots of benefits for you, on both your mind and body. Wim Hof suggests that :

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Exposing oneself to cold conditions such as cold showers and ice baths is related to serious health benefits, including stress relief, better sleep, faster recovery from physical exercise, and even relief from symptoms that are related to diseases like fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Why Do Athletes Use Ice Baths?

Ice baths are used by athletes to help their bodies recover more quickly, which means they can then start training again more quickly and at a more intense level if their body is in a better condition. Not just bodies recover, ice baths can also put your mind in a better place for performance.  Anyone performing at top level sports knows the importance of your mental state and that it is as important, if not more important, than the form their bodies are in. Mike Reinold, a physical therapist said that:

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Ice baths help people move and feel better, which can help them to recover.

Perhaps athletes just love the cold feeling on their hot muscles after pumping away exerting energy and giving their sport/training their full efforts. The sports person could have slightly tired limbs or they could have ripped a tendon during their game. All of these symptoms can be eased by the ice, but other medical attention would be needed for anything further than wanting to help recover more quickly. Or maybe they just like being able to sit down and have their heavy muscles elevated in the cold ice water making them feel like they are floating.

Are Ice Baths Just For Athletes?

Absolutely not, ice baths can make a positive impact on every person’s life. It has been reported that taking regular ice baths increases energy, fat burning, general mood, libido, focus, determination, sleep, immunity, recovery and performance – whilst decreasing swelling, soreness, anxiety, stress and insomnia. If you think this might sound too good to be true, either speak to someone who does ice baths or try them yourself. The benefits of ice bathing is waiting for you and only by you taking action and physically getting into the cold water and trying it for yourself will you ever know how your body will feel.

Are you an exhausted mum of little ones? Had a very interrupted sleep last night with the kiddies calling “Mummy” at all hours of the night? Did you wake to your toddler running rings around the house and climbing the walls as if they were on speed? Before you drop them at school do you feel as if you have already done a full day of work? Do you wish you could crawl back into bed and start the morning again the chilled way? Or at least start again so you don’t look so disheveled? I hear you! Taking an ice bath each morning makes me feel in control, makes me realise I am strong and that I can do this. It resets me and makes me feel like I can take on the day (and actually the world!)

What is Cold Water Therapy?

Cold Water Therapy (CWT) is the repeated use of ice baths and submerging your body in the icy cold water of ice baths to help maximise the benefits on your mind and body. Some people will take an ice bath once a week and some as part of their daily routine take an ice bath every single day. Check out the Wim Hof Method for more information on what regular ice baths could do to you and how it can improve your life.

Should I Just Use Ice Baths After Exercise For Recovery?

Ice baths will help you post exercise/training to recover quicker, however it is recommended to include a number of different measures to help get the best recovery possible. You cannot rely on ice baths alone, you need to make sure you have everything covered. Most of it is common sense. As well as an ice bath it has been recommended in a study into “Post exercise ice water immersion: Is it a form of active recovery?” to also do the below:

01 Sufficient rest to allow for natural recovery to occur

02 Gentle stretching that helps the muscle to recover faster

03 A necessary cool-down period versus stopping immediately and abruptly

04 A Proper balanced diet

05 Adequate fluid replacement

06 Proper massage

What are you waiting for? Take the plunge today and start ruling your life more like an Emperor!

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