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Here's What Happened When I Started Taking Ice Baths Every Day
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Here's What Happened When I Started Taking Ice Baths Every Day

I'm sure by now you've seen a crazy number of people pop up across your "For You" page or in a random YouTube ad doing ice baths, also known as cold plunges. You may be wondering why these people are intentionally sitting in a tub of water between 39 to 50 degrees. I know that's what you're thinking because for the past few years, every time I post about doing an ice bath, my comments and DMs get filled with questions.


Since April 12, 2023, I've been doing daily cold therapy at home in my plunge tub, and I want to share the personal benefits I've seen it have on my life as well as the science behind the process. If doing cold therapy is a goal of yours, keep reading for tips and resources for you to start your cold therapy journey.

The Benefits of Cold Therapy and Taking Ice Baths Daily

Courtesy of Christa Janine

The Physical Benefits of Ice Baths

I originally started doing ice baths in 2018 to reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout, but now I use them as a method to reduce inflammation in my knees and perform at a higher level during workouts. I recently had a double meniscus repair on my right knee, and daily ice baths have helped with my recovery process as well.

Since beginning cold therapy daily, I've seen an increase in my energy levels and improvement in my sleep patterns. Even though my workload has remained the same or slightly increased at times, I've been able to maintain my level of energy throughout the day without feeling completely depleted by the end of the night. Likewise, I used to have intense insomnia, but now I'm averaging 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

In addition to the direct benefits I've experienced in my physical health, science has shown that cold therapy can also boost your immune system, increase blood flow, reduce chronic pain, and boost your metabolism.

The Mental Benefits of Ice Baths

Since incorporating daily ice baths into my daily routine, I've noticed that when I get overwhelmed and feel stressed, I'm able to better manage my anxiety and control my nervous system. One method that is taught to novice ice bathers is utilizing your breath as you enter the cold water. This teaches you how to calm down your fight, flight or freeze response.

By understanding how to use my breath in stressful situations and practicing this usage daily, I'm able to implement this same practice when I feel anxiety or panic attacks coming on in my everyday life. Let's be clear: I still have anxiety, but I’m able to breathe through those moments and quickly move past them.

Courtesy of Christa Janine

In addition, another benefit I've found is mental clarity and awareness. This is one of the top benefits I receive from ice baths. Learning how to direct my thoughts and focus with my breath, I find clarity even in stressful moments. Though I’ve been bombarded with a variety of tasks and obstacles daily, I’ve been able to navigate through with a clear mind. This also allows me to articulate my thoughts and emotions more clearly because I’m more aware of what I’m experiencing in real time.

Lastly, daily cold therapy teaches you discipline and commitment to yourself and your goals. It allows you to focus on one thing at a time and teaches you how to be present in the moment. It's also a daily reminder that you can do hard and uncomfortable things even when they seem impossible.

Resources

If you're interested in learning more about starting your own ice bath practice I'd suggest looking into these resources and following these experienced cold therapists.

Plunge Guided Videos

Wim Hof

Kristin Weitzel

Simon Gowen

Christa Janine

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Featured image courtesy of Christa Janine

 

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