If you’re a long-time ice bath user, you may find yourself feeling like you’ve reached a plateau. The frosty waters that were once daunting have become routine, and while you’re loving the benefits, your plunge simply doesn’t present the same challenge that it used to. For all these cold immersion veterans, here are five ways you can up your ice bath game.
Break the Thermal Layer
After settling into an ice bath, the water directly surrounding your body will naturally increase in temperature. This is what’s known as the thermal layer. It can help insulate your skin in a survival situation, but it’s not ideal when you’re trying to maximise controlled cold exposure.
Thankfully, breaking this layer is as simple as moving amongst the water. Keep it gentle – you don’t want to splash around so vigorously that you generate even more heat.
Embrace the Soeberg Principle
Interested in the fat-burning properties of ice baths? The Soeberg Principle could be for you.
Named after famed metabolic scientist and ice bath proponent Dr Susanna Søberg, it states that you should avoid immediately towelling off, getting dressed, or otherwise heating yourself after cold immersion. Instead, allow your body to rewarm on its own. This will induce shivering and nonshivering thermogenesis, significantly increasing brown fat stimulation and calories spent.
Use Contrast Therapy
Contrast therapy involves a series of alternating immersions in cold and warm water. It’s believed to improve blood circulation, relieve pain, and loosen stiff muscles, but research into these effects is ongoing. One thing is for certain though: it brings a whole new challenge to your cold plunge routine.
There’s no single, agreed-upon protocol for contrast therapy. Having said that, here’s a popular process you can follow if you want to give it a go:
- Immerse in warm (38°C–40°C) water first for 10 minutes.
- Next, immerse in cold (8°C–10°C) water for one minute.
- Dip back into hot water for four minutes, alternated with a one minute bath in the cold water.
- Repeat the ‘four and one minute’ immersion alternation three more times.
Switch Up Your Routine
Bathing at a specific time everyday is great for building a routine, but it may mean you miss out on certain benefits.
If you typically take the plunge in the morning, try doing so at night. The calming effect of the cold might be just the thing you need to get a solid sleep.
Prefer to brave the chill at night? Switch it up with a morning plunge. This can help expedite recovery from the previous day’s activities and prepare your muscles and mind for the hours ahead.
Lower The Temperature
Of course, the ultimate way to step up your ice bath game is to decrease the temperature of the water itself. If you’ve yet to conquer single digits (C), try working your way to this target gradually and methodically using an accurate digital chiller.
For most people, five degrees celsius (41F) is the lowest that should be attempted. Those with exceptional cold tolerance can safely venture as low as two degrees celsius (35F), however, by using iCoolsport’s specialised Iceman portable chiller.
Looking for the Perfect Ice Bath Solution?
Whether you’re an ice bath veteran or just dipping your toes into the practice, iCoolsport is home to all the know-how and products you need.
Our chillers can maintain a constant water temperature of as little as two degrees. With easy to use one touch start and wifi remote controls, it takes the hassle out of regular ice baths and allows you to increase your cold tolerance gradually and consistently.