What Are The Benefits Of Ice Baths?


Are you considering taking regular ice baths and want to know what the benefits will be? Maybe you are considering increasing the number of ice baths you take and want to see how this will impact you. Learning more about ice baths can be tricky, but it doesn’t need to be.

Today, we are here to help! Our brief guide outlines the benefits and drawbacks of ice baths, providing you with everything you need to know before you take the cold plunge.

What Is An Ice Bath?

An ice bath, or cold water immersion, involves you taking a ten to fifteen-minute dip in cold water after an intense competition or exercise session. Usually, the water is heated to 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, with ice used to keep the water at the right temperature. Ice baths are believed to help reduce muscle soreness and pain.

Ice baths are also used for mental health purposes, to help clear your mind, push your body to extremes, and uplift your mental energy and state. They have become incredibly popular these days, with everyone from fitness fanatics to influencers taking a plunge into icy water.

Ice baths have several benefits, including reducing muscle damage, improving mood, and numbing pain. Below, we have outlined the benefits so you can learn more about them.

They Reduce Muscle Damage

A 2016 Sports Medicine journal found that ice baths can be helpful after specific workouts. An ice bath can benefit those who have completed a total-body endurance workout or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In these cases, an ice bath will lower the high temperature caused by exercise, reducing the chance of muscle damage.


Doing so can help you recover quicker from the exercise, a helpful benefit if you follow a strict training regime.

They Reduce Swelling And Inflammation

A 2013 study found that ice baths can reduce inflammation and increase blood oxygen levels. Further studies have also claimed that ice baths can flush lactic acid from muscles, a substance that occurs during exercise after prolonged activity and causes burning sensations.

These effects also apply to muscles that haven’t been exercised. Cold temperatures cause your blood vessels to constrict, meaning you can reduce swelling and inflammation with an ice bath.

They Numb Pain

An ice bath can also numb certain types of pain, like a sprain. The cold temperature will numb nerve endings, sending fewer pain signals to your brain. Ice baths can treat painful symptoms in these cases, like tendonitis, arthritis, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and pinched nerves.

They Improve Your Mood

Ice baths can also improve your mood, increasing your blood levels of beta-endorphin, a natural pain reliever, anxiety reducer, and mood booster. Cold hydrotherapy, like an ice bath, improves your brain’s release of noradrenaline, a chemical that is often low in people with depression.

Ice baths can also shock your nervous system, releasing feel-good hormones and improving your mood. This can also help reduce stress, relaxing your mind and body in one go! The hormones triggered can be helpful for those with high-stress levels, reducing any current stress you might be feeling.


Spending time alone in the ice bath with your thoughts can also help you put your stresses into perspective, allowing you to lower your stress levels.

What Are The Drawbacks Of Ice Baths?

Alongside the benefits, there are some drawbacks to having an ice bath. Not everyone will experience these drawbacks, but it is worth mentioning them so you know what can happen.

We have listed the drawbacks below:

  • They can cause hypothermia if the water is too cold or you are in there too long
  • They can make stiff or tight muscles worse, causing them to contract
  • They can reduce the efficacy of strength training, stunting muscle growth in some cases
  • They can be a risk to people with cardiac conditions

Final Thoughts

An ice bath can be an excellent way to reduce stress, improve mood, and heal muscles after an intense workout. While braving the cold is not for everyone, short bursts in an ice bath can have wonderful benefits. But to experience these benefits, you must use an ice bath correctly, ensuring you are not in there too long and that the water is not too cold.

To ensure your ice bath is safe, we recommend using ice baths with thermometers or heading to a health spa where professionals have set one up and are ready for you!

Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.