Ice Baths – 7 Cold plunge therapy do’s and don’ts

cold plunge - ice bath

Ice baths have gained increased popularity in recent years thanks to the way they can improve overall well-being as well as help muscles recover. However, getting started with ice baths shouldn’t be something that’s done on a whim. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the dos and don’ts of cold plunge therapy so that you can optimize your recovery process while prioritizing safety. Let’s get started.

1. Do Adjust the Temperature Gradually

Suddenly plunging into ice water isn’t a good idea. Doing so could lead to shock. Instead, it’s important to start off slow and lower the temperature as you get used to it. Start with a water temperature of around 50-59 degrees. This is cold but not so cold that you’ll struggle. As your body begins to acclimatize you can begin lowering the temperature.

2. Do Limit Sessions

Again, when getting started with cold plunging, taking it slow at first is key. So, limit initial sessions to no more than ten minutes. Then, you can begin increasing the duration of the baths as your tolerance builds. Overexposure to cold water can lead to hypothermia so don’t rush yourself. Also, if you’re finding you’re struggling with immersing yourself for ten minutes, that’s ok. You could start off with something as simple as a cold shower. There’s no pressure here.

3. Don’t Stay in Too Long – Even When You Know What You’re Doing

We mentioned above that beginners should stay in an ice bath for no more than ten minutes, but what about those who are used to cold plunging? Well, the official advice is that you should remain in ice water for no more than 20 minutes. Even if your body has acclimatized, staying in cold water for this long puts you at risk of health issues like nerve damage and skin problems. It’s not worth the risk.

4. Don’t Ignore Your Body’s Signals

You know your body better than anyone. Just because one person is able to submerge themselves in ice water for 15 minutes without complaint, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to do the same. To counteract this, make sure that you listen to your body’s signals. If you experience any discomfort whatsoever, exit the water and warm up. Make sure to have warm clothing close by so that your body warms up quickly. A rapid loss of body heat can be dangerous.

5. Do Engage in Gentle Movements

If you think you’re just going to be lying in an ice bath, think again. It’s important to engage in gentle movements while you’re under the water. This will help to stimulate your body’s circulation without causing strain. Gentle movements you can make include kicking your legs or moving your hands and arms in circles. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous.

6. Don’t Neglect Hydration

It’s easy to become dehydrated following an ice bath. Make sure you have plenty to drink before taking the plunge and a nice hot drink waiting for you after you exit. The more hydrated you are, the better you will feel both during the experience and after. Also, while we’re talking about exits, make sure to do this gradually. You don’t want to cause your body to go into shock due to the temperature difference.

 7. Do Make Sure to Clean Your Tub

Finally, don’t skimp on cleanliness. Cleaning your ice bath regularly is very important as it not only promotes hygiene but also extends the lifespan of your equipment. You can use a mild cleaner to eliminate grime, algae, and bacteria build-up. Depending on how often you use the ice bath, you will need to change the water. This could be every few weeks or even months. A water filtration system can help extend the length of time between cleans. Have you started cold plunging yet? Let us know how you’re getting on

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