the consensus & bottom line on ice baths
Believe it or not, some folks willingly submerge their bodies into big buckets of ice. A chilling thought, right? But what's the real consensus on taking the cold plunge into ice baths?
Despite the fact this idea may send shivers down your spine, the general theory behind ice baths is that, for athletes, they do the body good. It’s believed that the cold sensation mends the tears in muscle fibers and helps alleviate soreness brought on by repeated exercises.
There’s a handful of professional athletes known to engage in this cryotherapy. From explorer Fiann Paul to champion weightlifter Karyn Marshall, those in the spotlight have captured the attention of many wishing to quickly heal their sport-related aches. Alternatively, some people simply enjoy the thrill of an ice bath and the mindful challenge it evokes.
While we are by no means doctors, we are qualified to do the research and share with you what we found, should one of these frigid soaks look appealing to you.
things to keep in mind:
- Keep the temperature between 54 to 60 degrees.
- Remember: what your body finds cold might feel warm to someone else. Coldness can be subjective—don’t try to push your threshold.
- Always start at a warmer temperature and gradually lower the degrees with each exposure. This helps acclimate your body overtime.
- Can't forget about toes. Consider investing in booties made of wetsuit material to keep your toes safe under the ice.
- Don’t exceed 10 minutes. The fact you're taking the plunge in the first place is enough to impress many—don't overexert yourself!
- Take a warm shower immediately afterward. The residual cooling effect and gradual warming process are thought to be ideal for your body’s healing according to some.
- Know the risk. Hypothermia and shock are two real possibilities of ice baths.
Ultimately, the research and arguments about ice baths is inconclusive. Some health experts will tell you it's beneficial to your healing, others will tell you it's detrimental to muscle growth.
At the end of the day, if you're considering to take the cold plunge, get the okay from your doctor first to avoid any mishaps. Although we aren't likely to partake in this cryotherapy—even when the temperatures are hitting the three-digit mark—we won't judge those who are...