You've probably seen it trending on your Instagram feed or TikTok - people filling their tubs or bins with gallons of water and ice blocks only to jump on in and brace the cold! Chances are - you've come across ice bath therapy as some point.
The growing popularity of this trend has sparked the curiosity of many, and if you're considering giving it a shot, you'll be pleased to hear it's companioned with an abundance of benefits.
So, what is an ice bath?
Also known as cold water immersion, ice baths are a form of cryotherapy. Basically, ice bath therapy is performed by plunging or immersing yourself in a tub of cold water and ice blocks for a period of time.
What are the benefits of ice bath therapy?
You will see many high performance athletes partake in this form of recovery, and for good reason. Ice bath therapy has an abundance of benefits such as:
- Improves post workout recovery and muscle soreness
- Reduces swelling and inflammation
- Helps boost your immune system
- Improves sleep
- Provides mental health benefits due to breathing techniques required to calm the body from cold shock
How to prepare for ice bath therapy?
Cold therapy is not as easy as it may sound and is a huge mental resilience challenge. Before taking the plunge it's a good idea to prepare yourself mentally and physically. A great place to start is by taking cold showers in the morning which can prepare your psychological response you will experience. This will give you a better understanding on how to manage your reactions and breathing techniques.
Another popular exercise that has outstanding benefits is breath-work, which is used as a management tool while performing cold therapy. If you have ever found yourself in a stressful situation, you tend to take in a quick gasp of air. Through the practice of breath-work you can manage your reactions to cold plunging by increasing the length of your exhale to help your bodies response to the cold and give you more physical, neurological and psychological control.
What tools / products do I need for an ice bath?
Aside from the obvious, a thermometer will come in handy to ensure you're plunging at the right temperature.
Another important factor to consider is wearing the appropriate swim shorts. Compression lined swim shorts come in extra handy, as the compressed liner offers added support and security when your shorts naturally float up under the water. Ensuring your swim trunks have a secure waistband is also important when hopping in and out of the bath so that they don't slip down.
You can find men's swim trunks for ice baths HERE!
If you're ready to take the plunge, or have been considering cold therapy, now is the time to take the leap. You won't regret doing it, but you will regret not doing it!