what is an ice bath? nordic background with ice tub

Ice Bath Benefits: 7 Physical Benefits Proven By Science

You might have seen hundreds of YouTubers trying the ice bath challenge. The trend increased after athletes like Lebron James showed their cold plunge routine to the world. There are other advocates of ice baths, like the popular Dutch motivational speaker and ice man Wim Hoff.

While studies have shown that ice bath helps with flushing waste products, reduce inflammation, and repair muscle, we’ve compiled a list of 7 physical benefits of ice baths proven by science.

What is an Ice Bath?

What is an ice bath? ice bath on scenic background

Ice baths, cold plunges, cold therapy, or cold-water immersion are all the same. It’s a training regimen used by athletes after an intense exercise session. In an ice bath, you immerse your body in the neck. So, almost all of the body is immersed in the water.

While ice bath is common among athletes, you shouldn’t overdo it. The common practice is to do an ice bath at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit for a limited time. Many athletes can do a cold plunge for up to 15 minutes, but for newbies, even two minutes is a good mark.

Ice baths have many physical and mental benefits, including muscle soreness repair, muscle recovery, decreased inflammation, a stronger central nervous system, and much more.

But before the benefits, let’s first talk about how an ice bath works.

How does Ice Bath/Cold Plunge work?

The ice bath comes under cryotherapy, a technique to reduce inflammation, fix muscle soreness, and enhance the working body after intense physical activity or even injuries. The main principle behind the ice bath is Vasodilation and Vasoconstriction.

Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of blood vessels known to be useful in flushing harmful substances from the body. At the same time, Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels, allowing blood flow to pass optimally.

Both are important for the normal working of the human body, but ice baths enhance these two processes to promote an enhanced recovery phase for people who physically work hard. Ice baths can also help in improved circulation.

As you get out of an ice bath, the blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow to your muscles. That’s where the main benefits of an ice bath begin. From removing metabolic waste to reducing main and improving recovery, an ice bath is used by thousands of athletes from all over the work.

Dajan relaxing in her compact tub on a white background

7 Physical Benefits of Ice Baths

Ice baths aren’t as extreme as whole-body cryotherapy. It’s not as dangerous as full-body cryotherapy, either. The main premise of a cold plunge is to put your body in an ice bath to the neck for around 5-10 minutes at 50-59 degrees Fahrenheit.

Research has shown dozens of physical and mental benefits of ice baths benefits. However, we’re covering the seven best physical benefits of ice baths that you can avail yourself as an athlete or anyone who wants to recover from a heavy workout session.

1. Relieves Muscle Soreness

One of the biggest benefits of an ice bath is that it simply makes the body feel good. While there’s not a substantial amount of clear evidence shown, scientists have seen that an ice bath slows nerve signaling, ultimately giving the idea of less pain.

Cold water generally decreases the soreness of muscles and numbs the pain. It relaxes the whole body and relieves muscle pain. Another benefit of an ice bath is that it reduces delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS after exercise.

DOMS Is a temporary pain due to muscle damage after an intense workout. The pain starts after a day or two of working exercises like the Squat, Leg Extensions, and Leg presses. However, with ice baths, DOMS is also reduced, allowing athletes to recover.

Some studies suggest that ice baths can ease the pain of chronic conditions like gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. In other words, using ice baths to recover sore muscles will help athletes perform better and recover faster.

2. Exercise Recovery Benefits

The same rule of Vasodilation and Vasoconstriction applies here. Your blood vessels dilate and reopen as you move out of the cold plunge. This increases blood circulation, and the more nutrient-rich blood flow there is, the better your muscles may help flush out the metabolic waste from your body. As you work out, the body builds up metabolic waste, especially elevated blood lactate.

Moreover, some studies have also shown us that a cold plunge is a great solution for the effective recovery of muscles. Many people worldwide, including Wim Hoff, who’s literally named the iceman, have been preaching about ice baths due to their potential benefit.

However, one study, in particular, showed us that ice baths could also hinder training adaptations which ultimately improve the rate of muscle building and performance enhancement.

Like any other workout recovery regime, an ice bath to an extreme will be counter-intuitive and potentially harmful to endurance. Hence, you should balance how you use an ice bath. Lastly, another study shows that active recovery and ice baths have similar effects in lowering inflammation for effective muscle repair.

3. Cures Inflammation and Swelling

We have plenty of evidence, especially on animals, that ice bath reduces inflammation in muscle injury. While the data could be more well-researched on humans, the research was done on animals with similar responses to humans. Decreasing the amount of inflammation helps you recover faster and better.

So, when you take an ice bath, the cold temperature decreases the width of your blood vessels, decreasing the flow to your muscles. So with this phenomenon, not only do you have a decreased sense of pain, but it also helps in reducing swelling and muscle damage.

One research showed us that an ice bath is a better anti-inflammatory technique than compression socks. In layman's terms, ice baths can reduce pain and inflammation by numbing pain receptors and bringing down inflammation. It is a drug-free anesthetic at this point.

4. Improves Your Central Nervous System

Most ice bath recommendations incorporate putting a tub of lukewarm water and then slowly adding more ice till the temperature is between 12 to 15 degrees Celsius. However, as the temperature decreases, it shocks the whole central nervous system, waking it up.

Most people also like to do cold showers because it wakes them up.

In ice baths, humans experience a better mood after the CNS is shocked, increasing their risk-taking abilities and reducing stress over time. It’s not a magic pill, but it does help with the central nervous system, aiding your sleep and making you feel better with less fatigue.

Cold plunge is extremely important for athletes since it can keep them adaptable to stress. There’s a good amount of placebo effect involved in it as well.


5. Trains the Vagus Nerve

One of the primary benefits of cold water immersion is that it activates the Vagus nerve. It is one of the main nerves of the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls various body functions like digestion, immune system, and heart rate.

Normally, these functions cannot be controlled as they run on autopilot; however, since ice bath activates and trains the vagus nerve, you can expect many benefits, like an improved parasympathetic nervous system.

The Vagus nerve also sends your brain messages under stress; the released signal is known as the “feel-good” hormone. There are many ways to activate the vagus nerve, including breathing and meditation. However, ice baths are one of the best ways to stimulate them and train your body to work under stress.

6. Improves Immunity

Cold water therapy is also linked to improved immunity. Even cold showers have been linked to boosting immunity, and one study found out that cold water swimming increases the white blood cells, helping the body fight off various infections. To put it into perspective, cold water increases both peripheral cytotoxic T-lymphocytes and NK cells, one of the major effectors of tumor immunity.

Another study showed that people who use deep breathing meditation and cold water immersion would have fewer bacterial infection symptoms than normal humans. However, the study needs to be bigger and more extensive.

But if we look at people like Wim Hoff, they have great health and a longer lifespan, even if they’re old.

7. Cool Down Body Temperature

One of the main benefits of an ice bath is that it decreases the core body temperature. It is a great way to recover from an overheated body for all athletes. Especially for basketballers, runners, and cyclists, the body burns a lot of fat after intense training.

A study found that the core body temperature lowers after soaking in cold water for 10 minutes. Cooling down after a workout is one of the best ways to avoid heat exhaustion and heat strokes. In hotter states and countries, many athletes become victims of heatstroke, which can sometimes be fatal.

However, an ice bath is the perfect cure for them if they don’t go too extreme. Ice baths can cool your body fairly quickly and remain one of the best recovery techniques for athletes.


Looking to buy an Ice Bath? NordicWay has got you covered!

ice bath diagram showing the features of the tub

Choosing the right ice bath can be a challenge. You have to consider the price, the material, and how tough the tub is. However, that’s where NordicWay™ comes in. We offer a 350L portable ice tub with an ice insulation fabric that keeps it cold.

The size is portable enough to be taken anywhere and has enough space for a person to do an ice plunge. Here are some of the benefits that you get with NordicWay™ before you consider buying it:

  • Versatile design for a quick plunge into a long session.
  • Spacious 350L capacity.
  • 100% skin-safe and UV resistant.
  • Three layers of weather-resistant fabric for enhanced protection.
  • Ideal for athletes and self-improvement specialists

Beat the Heatwave with NORDICWAY: Order Your Ice Bath Now

Nordicway promises that come with an ice bath. Nordicway values.








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