Why are Ice Baths so popular?
Ice Baths have been popping up all over social media recently with the highlight of how professional athletes recover between games and competition. This has led to a plethora of influencers sharing their garden ice baths shots which, in turn, has led to many other followers following suit.
Ice baths, also known as cold water immersion or cryotherapy, have gained popularity primarily for their potential benefits in promoting recovery and reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activity but what's the science?
What temperature are Ice Baths?
As you will know water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius but, for an ice bath, you should aim for between 15-20 degrees Celsius. This may sound warm, especially compared to 0 degrees Celsius. But, when compared to the body's core temperature of between 36-37 degrees Celsius, you'll definitely feel the difference.
How do Ice Baths work?
Here's how ice baths typically work:
Vasoconstriction: When the body is exposed to cold water, the blood vessels near the surface of the skin constrict (vasoconstriction). This is a natural response to the cold, and it serves to reduce blood flow to the extremities and preserve core body temperature.
Hypothermia Prevention Mechanisms: The body has mechanisms to prevent hypothermia in response to cold exposure. One of these mechanisms is shivering, which generates heat through muscular activity. Another is the release of hormones such as adrenaline, which can stimulate heat production.
Reduction of Inflammation: Cold water immersion is believed to reduce inflammation by limiting blood flow to the affected areas. This vasoconstriction can help decrease the accumulation of inflammatory substances and reduce swelling.
Are Ice Baths good for you?
Scandinavians, with some of the highest life expectancy and happiness ranking, have been using ice pools, along side saunas, for centuries for general wellness. As sports science has continued to developed, with innovations like cryotherapy and ice baths, this technology has continued to become more mainstream and accessible for all. But, how are ice baths good for you? Here are just some of the benefits:
Reduced Inflammation and Swelling: Cold exposure is believed to constrict blood vessels and decrease metabolic activity, which may help reduce inflammation and swelling. This can be beneficial for athletes recovering from strenuous workouts or injuries.
Muscle Soreness Relief: Ice baths are thought to help alleviate muscle soreness by numbing the affected areas and reducing the perception of pain. This is particularly relevant for individuals engaging in high-intensity or endurance activities.
Faster Recovery: Cold water immersion is believed to enhance recovery by accelerating the removal of waste products, such as lactic acid, from muscles. This may contribute to a faster recovery process after intense exercise.
Improved Circulation: The cold temperature in ice baths can cause blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction) and then dilate (vasodilation) when warming up afterward. This cycle is thought to improve overall circulation and promote better blood flow.
Reduction of Muscle Spasms: Cold therapy may help reduce muscle spasms and tightness, contributing to improved flexibility and range of motion.
Mental Refreshment: Some people find that the shock of cold water can have a rejuvenating effect on their mental state. The release of endorphins and the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system can create a feeling of invigoration.
Prevention of Heat-Related Issues: In sports and physical activities where heat is a concern, ice baths can be used to cool down the body quickly, preventing heat-related issues such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
How long should you ice bath for?
As you are being exposed to freezing temperatures, spending too much time in ice baths can actually have an adverse impact on the body. Between 10 to 15 minutes is optimal but it depends on your experience and tolerance. If you're a beginner, you'd be better starting with just a couple of minutes and slowly build up to the 10 to 15 min.
What are the best home Ice Baths?
There are several home ice baths on the market but what should you look for when looking to invest in an ice bath? First and foremost, you need an ice bath made from robust material, especially if it's designed to be broken down and stored after use. A basic lining will easy break after a number of uses. The material will also dictate how well the ice bath maintains it's temperature. Look for ice baths that use a number of layers to build the lining. This will last longer over time and will ensure the cold or hot water maintains it's temperature for longer. Think carefully about the size of the bath that you are requiring too. For the taller individuals, you should be looking at a minimum of 80cm in diameter and height.
In conclusion, the popularity of ice baths is built upon the health benefits, both physical and mental, and the accessibility of the latest in home ice baths means it's the latest must have for the home.
For those looking for a bargain on ice baths, liquidation.store has a limited number of HotMax ice baths available. These indoor/outdoor baths can be used with hot or cold water.