Want to Improve Your Health? Try and Ice Bath.

Want to improve your health? Try an Ice Plunge

Want to improve your health? Try an Ice Plunge

Taking an ice plunge is a way of boosting health and well being that is becoming increasingly popular with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Cold water immersion and ice baths used to be only carried out by athletes looking to improve performance and recovery but today many people are attracted by the benefits of cold bathing. An ice plunge has a powerful impact on mental wellbeing and physical health. We should all be doing it!

Although cold swimming is good for the body, an ice plunge takes this idea a step further. However you don’t need to live in the Arctic Circle to experience an ice plunge. Today we have the technology to recreate the frozen wasteland from the comfort of your home.

So what is an ice plunge?

An ice plunge is a tub of water that is cooled to 50 degrees F or below. The usual idea is that you take an ice plunge following a work out or sauna. You can also get the benefits of an ice plunge without prior exercise although it is important to carry out breathing exercises first to ensure safety. When used in combination with a home sauna the benefits can be amazing.

Cold water pioneer Wim Hof has long been extolling the health benefits of ice water immersion. Athletes like Andy Murray and Naomi Osaka routinely use an ice bath following tennis matches as it helps recovery from injury. Celebrities including Lady Gaga and Madonna are well known for their love of an ice plunge and the positive benefits to health and mental functioning.

Plunging into the waters of an icy lake may look fancy on Instagram but having your own ice plunge installed at your home means that you can benefit from cold water immersion on a regular basis.

Feel the cold!

Ice plunges are designed to make you cold so are not for the faint hearted! They work fantastically well when combined with a sauna but are also good as standalone products as they have numerous health benefits.

Many people first became aware of the benefits of an Ice plunge following the work of ice guru Wim Hof.  This has led to a rise in popularity of the home ice plunge. However health professionals and athletes have been using cold water immersion therapies for decades.

What are the health benefits of an Ice Plunge?

Physical therapists have been using cold water immersion as a way to help people recover from injuries and there are countless health benefits.

  • An ice plunge reduces swelling and inflammation: If you have a long term injury or are recovering from a strenuous workout, taking a cold plunge will help relieve muscle spasms and make your recovery faster
  • An ice plunge releases endorphins: These hormones are natural chemicals associated with pleasure and pain. Once the cold water kicks in, the body releases endorphins to handle the experience and this in turn raises mood and feelings of well being. Raised endorphin levels help counter anxiety and depression so is extremely good for positive mental health. In fact cold water immersion is a fantastic natural remedy for depression.
  • An Ice Plunge improves circulation: This provides pain relief to damaged tissue and numbs the nerve endings so that pain is reduced.
  • An Ice Plunge strengthens the immune system: Scientists have discovered that being immersed in cold water stimulates the production of white blood cells. Called leukocytes, these blood cells help the body fight infection and illness. As an added benefit the cold helps the lymphatic system to contract and drain fluid which is extremely beneficial for health.
  • An ice plunge is good for cardiovascular health: When immersed in cold water your blood flow is increased to all your vital organs, causing your heart to pump faster thus improving cardiac health.

The Nordic Cycle - the health benefits of a sauna combined with an ice plunge

The Nordic Cycle is a method of using a sauna combined with an ice plunge. The idea is that you take a 20 minute sauna followed by a cold water plunge and then repeat as you build up tolerance to the process.

Scientists have discovered that this improves hormosis – the body’s ability to cope with stressors, making you stronger and more resilient. Using the two extremes of temperature helps the body burn fat and amplifies the physical effects of the two treatments.

Many spas around the world offer the Nordic Cycle and it is an extremely energising and revitalising therapy system with many health benefits. These include recovery after injury, mental health, the cardiovascular system and the effects of chronic inflammation.

How long should I stay in an Ice Plunge?

With an ice plunge, a short time in cold water immersion is all that is required. You should aim at around 3 minutes at first, building up to 15 minutes once you are accustomed to the process. Never stay in an ice plunge bath for longer than 15 minutes as doing so could lead to hypothermia.

Are Ice plunges good for you?

Ice plunges are good for health but it is important to speak to your doctor before you start, especially if you have any underlying health concerns. You should avoid them if you have any open wounds or heart or blood pressure issues.

So are there any other reasons I should buy an ice plunge?

An Ice plunge is fantastic for improving your health and wellbeing and when combined with a sauna it turns your home into an upmarket spa that you can use every day. Adding an ice plunge and a sauna to your home not only adds value to your property, it impresses your visitors so is something that can be seen as a worthwhile monetary investment as well as an investment for your long term health.