Ice bath therapy has become a popular recovery tool after an intense workout or training, and rightfully so. The usefulness ice baths have for our bodies after pushing our muscles to their limit or close to it is astounding. It has actually become quite essential for many people to jump into their icetubs, most notably athletes, due to their need to make sure their bodies are taken care of and have a less likely chance to get injured.
Not only do ice baths provide physical advantages, but they also provide mental ones. Getting into an ice-cold bath is a common way for people to reset their state of mind. There are studies being done to see whether or not ice bath therapy helps improve symptoms of depression, but it is known that ice bath therapy assists in reducing feelings of stress.
If ice bath therapy sounds like something you’d like to try, then there are a few do’s and don’ts you must take into account.
The Do’s of ice bath therapy
- Do start cold
Because you aren’t used to taking ice baths, it is important that you start at level one and not one hundred. Begin with a cold temperature your body can handle for a bit while being submerged. Then gradually, you will get used to these cold baths and you can make it colder and colder.
- Do make sure to stick with what you can tolerate
Everyone’s body is different. Some can withstand very cold ice baths but others can’t. An ice bath doesn’t have to be freezing cold to provide you with its benefits. If you can only tolerate a certain temperature during your ice bath, stick with it.
- Wear clothes
You might not have thought that you need to wear clothes during an ice bath, but it is an essential element you need to do, especially as a beginner. A long sleeve or a regular t-shirt with some shorts is suitable for ice bath therapy. The purpose isn’t to keep you warm but to help regulate your body temperature.
The Don’ts of ice bath therapy
- Don’t start freezing
Jumping into ice-cold, borderline freezing water is not the best course of action for your first time doing ice bath therapy. If you force yourself to sit in a bath with freezing cold water and ice that is more than you can handle, you won’t be doing any good. You can even harm your body by pushing yourself to the extreme, especially for your first time doing it.
- Don’t stay in for longer than necessary
It can be tempting to stay in the ice bath for longer than you need to if you want to train your body to withstand the cold, but this is not necessary. The average time to stay in an ice bath for a beginner is 6 to 8 minutes. This is important because if you stay in too long it can lead to overexposure, and that will lead to shock which won’t benefit you at all.
- Don’t only rely on ice baths
Ice baths provide great recovery benefits, but if this is your only way of helping your body and mind recover you might want to think that through. Combining other recovery methods such as eating foods that can aid muscle recovery will benefit you more.