Cold water therapy is known to boost overall well-being and enhance physical and mental performance. Among the many techniques available, the ice bath barrel is one of the most effective and convenient ways to experience the advantages of cold water immersion.
In this article, we will explore what cold water therapy is, the various types available, and the health benefits of regularly using an ice bath barrel. Let’s dive in!
What is Cold Water Therapy?
Cold water therapy involves the use of cold water to promote physical and mental well-being. It has been practiced for centuries. It’s based on the principle of immersing your body in freezing cold temperatures to stimulate certain physiological responses.
Types of Cold Water Therapy
There are four main techniques of cold water therapy that you can use to gain the physical and mental health benefits.
Cold Water Immersion
First, cold water immersion is a technique that involves submerging your body in cold water, typically up to your neck, for a specific duration. It’s frequently used by athletes who are seeking relief from muscle soreness and inflammation and want to enhance recovery.
Cold water immersion can be done using a cold plunge pool, an ice bath (discussed below), or natural cold water.
A second technique, cold showers, are a popular and accessible way to practice cold water therapy. As the name implies, cold showers involve using cold water for the entire duration of your shower. Whether you add this practice to your morning or night routine, you can gain the same benefits as cold water immersion.
Ice baths, as the name suggests, involve immersing your body in a tub filled with ice and cold water. Ice baths provide a more intense cold water therapy experience, allowing for greater benefits in a shorter time frame. You can try building your own DIY ice bath barrel, or you can shop cold tubs on our website.
Lastly, cryotherapy is a more advanced form of cold water therapy that involves exposing the body to extremely cold temperatures for a short period. Cryotherapy sessions are typically carried out in specialized chambers and provide the same benefits as the other types of cold water therapy.
Benefits of Cold Water Therapy
Using any of the cold water therapy techniques above offers a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental well-being:
Reduced Pain and Inflammation
Cold water therapy has a remarkable ability to reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. Cold water immersion helps alleviate inflammation in joints, muscles, and tissues. This makes it an effective therapy for conditions like arthritis, chronic pain, and inflammatory disorders.
Improved Blood Circulation
Cold water immersion stimulates blood circulation, promoting oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles and organs. By increasing blood flow, cold water therapy helps remove waste products and toxins from the body, further supporting cellular rejuvenation and optimizing the functioning of vital organs.
Better Recovery and Performance
Cold water therapy promotes faster healing and recovery so you can bounce back quicker after workouts. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts have long recognized the benefits of cold water immersion for muscle recovery to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness caused by intense physical activity.
Cold water therapy triggers the release of endorphins, which can improve mood and provide a sense of relaxation and well-being. By immersing yourself in an ice bath barrel, you can experience an uplifted mood and a renewed sense of calm.
Engaging in regular cold water therapy can have a profound impact on your immune system. The exposure to cold water stimulates the production of white blood cells, which play a key role in defending your body against illness. Ice bath barrels can help boost your body's natural defenses, making you more resilient to infections and diseases.
The cold exposure experienced during cold water therapy has been found to have a positive impact on sleep quality. The cooling effect of cold water triggers the body's natural sleep response, allowing for a smoother transition into a state of rest and promoting the release of sleep-inducing hormones.
Cold water immersion can also have a positive impact on metabolism. When exposed to cold water, your body activates its brown fat reserves — a special type of fat that generates heat to help regulate body temperature. This activation of brown fat results in an increased metabolic rate, as the body works to generate more heat and maintain its core temperature.
Lastly, cold water therapy has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being. Cold water immersion triggers a physiological response that leads to the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting and stress-relieving hormones.
Furthermore, the exposure to cold water has been found to lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress.
How to Get Started With Cold Water Therapy
Before starting cold water therapy, here are some steps you can take to properly prepare:
Ensure you’re in good health and consult a healthcare professional if you have any underlying medical conditions before starting cold water therapy.
Start with cool water and gradually decrease the temperature over time. Ideally, you want to aim for a range between 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit) for cold water therapy sessions.
We recommend you start with shorter sessions around 5 minutes, and gradually increase the time up to 10 minutes as your body adapts to the cold water.
After your ice bath, engage in light physical activity, take a warm shower, or immediately dry off and wear warm clothes to bring your body temperature back to normal.
ELU Cold Water Therapy
If you're ready to unlock the transformative benefits of cold water therapy, ELU is here to guide you on your journey. We offer a range of innovative cold tubs as a convenient and effective way to incorporate cold water immersion into your routine.