ice bath

The ice bath is a cold water immersion that has become a popular recovery tool for athletes and hardcore exercisers. The benefits of a cold water immersion include reducing muscle soreness, boosting mental and physical resilience, elevating mood and metabolism, optimizing digestion and reducing inflammation.

Getting into a bathtub filled with icy water may seem counterintuitive, especially for those who don’t like the frigid temperatures or have health concerns. To minimize the risk of injury or discomfort, it’s recommended that you start with shorter exposure times and gradually work your way up to longer durations.

Ice Bath Therapy: A Powerful Recovery Tool for Athletes

In addition to the numbing effect, immersing your body in cold water causes blood vessels to narrow (known as vasoconstriction). This allows the body to direct blood toward vital organs, says Jonathan Leary, DC, who holds a doctorate in chiropractic medicine and is the CEO of Remedy Place, a wellness facility in New York City and California that offers classes on cold immersion therapy. This is the same process employed by extreme endurance athletes such as Dutch Iceman Wim Hof and Chinese record-holders Chen Kecai and Jin Songhao, who can spend hours submerged in icy water.

The cold water also stimulates the body to secrete norepinephrine, which is a hormone that constricts blood vessels and decreases sebum production. This is beneficial to those who suffer from acne and blackheads. Additionally, the cold water can help boost collagen production and reduce signs of aging by decreasing skin inflammation.