Let’s dive into the icy waters of a hot topic in wellness circles – ice baths and their benefits.
At Vikasati, we believe a holistic approach to wellness is the key to achieving your personal goals. Incorporating our gym, bathhouse and cafe, Vikasati, Brisbane, is a place of inspiration and enrichment that focuses on balancing both your inner and outer health, through our unique approach to fitness and wellness as a whole.
What is an Ice Bath?
An ice bath, as the name suggests, involves immersing oneself into icy cold water. Originating from the world of sports and athletics, it’s a method used for rapid recovery after intense physical exertion. However, ice baths have now found their way into the everyday routines of many health enthusiasts, and for good reasons.
5 Ice Bath Benefits
Embracing the cold might be a challenge, but the ice bath benefits that come with it are undeniably enticing.
Here are 5 of the many benefits to be found by incorporating ice baths into your wellness routine:
Speeds Up Muscle Recovery
Ice baths are commonly used amongst athletes to reduce muscle pain and speed up recovery.
When you exercise or put your body through any form of intense physical activity, your muscles naturally generate lactic acid and there is microscopic damage to the muscle fibres that can lead to inflammation and swelling. This is all often associated with muscle soreness and fatigue.
The cold temperature of ice baths can cause blood vessels to constrict, reducing inflammation and swelling. The cold also numbs the nerve endings, providing immediate muscle pain relief.
Once you step out of the bath and your body starts to warm up, the blood vessels expand, encouraging a rush of fresh, nutrient-rich blood to the muscles. This influx of oxygen and nutrients facilitates quicker repair and regeneration of the muscle fibres, which speeds up recovery time and reduces muscle soreness.
Ice baths can improve circulation, which is key to overall health. The process of
vasoconstriction in an ice bath, followed by vasodilation, acts like a pump for your circulatory system. As your body warms up post-bath, the fresh blood surges back into the peripheral tissues, flushing out toxins and metabolic waste. This alternating hot-and-cold cycle can significantly improve circulation, promoting better heart health and enhancing overall bodily functions.
Enhances Mood and Mental Clarity
A single ice bath can improve your mood and mental clarity. The sudden immersion in cold water during an ice bath sends electrical impulses to your brain, triggering an increase in endorphin levels. These endorphins are neurotransmitters that create feelings of happiness and euphoria, often referred to as “happy hormones.”
Not only do they enhance your mood, but they also provide a sense of mental clarity, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. The cold water also stimulates the production of norepinephrine, a hormone that plays a key role in focus and attention. This makes ice baths an excellent tool for mental well-being and cognitive function.
Promotes Better Sleep
Many people report better sleep after an ice bath. This is likely due to two reasons.
Firstly, the physical cooling of the body lowers your core body temperature, which is a natural signal to your body that it’s time to sleep.
Secondly, the endorphin release from the cold exposure helps to reduce stress and anxiety, conditions often associated with insomnia. By promoting relaxation and helping to regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle, ice baths can lead to faster sleep onset and higher quality, restful sleep.
Boosts Energy Levels
Imagine the feeling of stepping into an ice bath. The immediate reaction to the cold is a burst of adrenaline. This adrenaline rush, combined with the increased endorphin levels, can provide a significant energy boost.
The cold exposure also activates your sympathetic nervous system, increasing your heart rate, and oxygenating your cells. This response wakes you up, boosts your alertness, and invigorates both your body and mind. This makes ice baths a great option for a morning ritual to kickstart your day.
If you’re enticed by these ice bath benefits but are still a bit unsure about trying out an ice bath, we’ve answered some of the most common questions around ice baths.
Common Ice Bath FAQs
How Cold Is An Ice Bath?
Vikasatis ice baths are set at 5 to 6 degrees celsius. This ensures the water is cold enough to stimulate the body’s recovery mechanisms without causing harm.
How Long Should You Ice Bath?
The optimal duration for an ice bath is typically between 1-5 minutes. This time frame allows your body to reap the benefits without causing undue stress or potential harm from overexposure to the cold. We suggest starting with 1 minute and building your tolerance up over time
How Many Ice Baths Should You Have Per Week?
While the frequency of ice baths can vary based on your personal goals and physical condition, starting 2-3 times a week is generally a good approach. Remember, every individual is unique, and what works best for you may differ from others. If you have questions about planning an ice bath schedule, don’t hesitate to contact us at Vikasati.
What to Do After an Ice Bath?
To enhance the metabolic effects of cold, force your body to reheat on its own. This is known as The Søeberg Principle based on deliberate cold researcher Dr. Susanna Søeberg. Otherwise use movement to stimulate blood flow. When you’re in freezing cold temperatures the body is smart, it sends warm blood from the extremities towards the vital organs to keep them safe and protected. Yoga, push ups, squats or gentle movement will help promote the flow back towards the extremities once you’re out of the ice bath.
Try The Ice Baths at Vikasati
If you’re looking for a great place to experience the benefits of an ice bath, visit our ice baths at Vikasati today.
Our ice baths are set to 6 degrees, unlocking huge benefits physically and mentally, that you simply don’t get in higher temperatures. And the best part? They come included in your Sanctuary session.