Ice baths are in a golden age. Even the word ‘cryotherapy’ is seeping into our vocabulary, with high-tech cooling methods introduced in advanced training facilities across the globe.
Whether it’s the meditative advice of ‘The Iceman’ Wim Hof, Joe Rogan’s intense dip that turned him into a meme or Kevin Hart’s ice bath-themed chat show, cold water therapy is seeping into popular culture.
So, in the wake of this popularity, what are the potential benefits? And what options are out there for you to invest in, if you want to try cold therapy at home?
Potential benefits of ice bath use
The science around ice baths is, as ever, conflicted. Many experts believe in their usefulness for easing sore and aching muscles, helping your central nervous system and limiting inflammatory response after exercise to boost recovery.
If you have any worries at all, though, it’s worth consulting a medical professional before starting to implement ice baths into your recovery routine.
How long should you spend in an ice bath?
It’s recommended that you spend as long in an ice bath as you can, but never exceed 10-15 minutes.
How cold should an ice bath be?
The bath should be approximately 10-15° Celsius.
Why can’t you just use a regular bathtub?
It’s best to immerse your entire body in the ice bath to gain the best effect of blood vessel constriction. Given the size constraints of regular bathtubs, which usually hold around 190 liters, they probably won’t cut it.
The best home ice baths
Explore Fitness Large Ice Bath
The Explore Fitness Ice Bath could be the perfect option for anyone wanting to take a cold plunge on a budget. Featuring an upright design with stabilizing legs, it’s capable of storing 400 liters of water, so it should be ideal for fully submerging.
The structure is made from triple-layered fabric so it is designed for long-lasting durability. It’s also portable, said to be easily folded down and comes with a step pump.
Explore Fitness claims the fabric allows it to double as a hot bath if you’re getting a bit too chilly. Plus, the oversized inflatable rim is designed to function as a headrest for maximum comfort.
Tubble Royale Inflatable Bathtub
Dutch lifestyle company Tubble has created a stylish option for home use. This more traditionally-shaped bathtub is fitted with 6-layers of PVC designed to withstand ice water comfortably.
The brand also claims that it’s portable, easy to set up and has an inflation time of one minute using the electric pump provided.
The tub is designed to hold 55 liters with a diameter, Tubble claims, that’s roomy for anyone from 6 feet 2 inches and under. Fitted with a draining hose and available in three different colors, this could be a sleek, portable ice tub option.
Irtree Inflatable Portable Plastic Bathtub
This portable tub features a vertical design, which should be ideal for a fully submerged plunge. It’s also fitted with a water valve and piping system designed for easy drainage after use.
The structure consists of three layers of fabric, with two layers of PVC and one layer of mesh cloth, which, Irtree claims, makes the tub durable and easy to clean. Irtree also states that the tub is built for two people, so there should be plenty of room.
A nice touch is the included water cushion and inflatable cover.
Rubbermaid 100 gal. Structural Foam Stock Tanks
The Rubbermaid stock tank is designed to be a durable option. Fitted with an oversized drain plug for easy draining and cleaning, this tank’s near-400 liter capacity should make for perfect ice bath material.
Built for multi-purpose use, it’s constructed from molded polyethylene to be extremely durable, with stepped sidewalls and reinforced ribbing for added strength. Rubbermaid also claims the structural foam is built specifically to resist weather and should be resistant against cracking or abrasions throughout long-term use.
The Cold Plunge
If you’re looking for something a little on the extravagant side, it doesn’t get much better than the Plunge from The Cold Plunge. With names like Conor McGregor, Lizzo and Tony Hawk attached, this 378-liter tub is about as premium as it’s possible to get.
Gone are the days of throwing ice into a wheelie bin (not that we’re judging). This bathtub uses filters, cooling technology and sanitation to drop the water down to a set temperature without any added ice. It can even be bought with a heated option and doubles as a high-tech hot tub.
The filtration makes the water circulate, which is claimed to help improve water quality and coldness. There’s also an ozone oxidizer which is designed to break down contaminants and improve the quality of the water, as well as a 20-micron filter to deal with any debris. This is not an ice plunge. This is an ice plunge with style.