Do ice baths and cold plunges actually work?

by Patrick Ibsen on Sunday 07 May 2023

3 min read

Chilling out: debunking the hype around ice baths and cold plunges

You may have seen a lot of videos on TikTok hyping up the benefits of ice baths and cold plunges – any Wim Hof fans out there? But are the benefits genuinely cool, or is it all hot air? In this article, we break down what you need to know about this trending therapy.

What is cold water therapy?

Cold water therapy is the practice of immersing yourself in water with a temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius, post workout. A form of cryotherapy, it’s most effective over a prolonged period of time – 10 to 20 minutes – and is said to have possible health benefits.

What are the health benefits of cold water therapy?

While scientific research on the matter is still in its early days, there are promising results from certain studies. Researchers have found that cold water therapy has been shown to:

What are the risks of cold water therapy?

As with almost any form of therapy, there’s an element of risk to partaking in it. Drastic changes in temperature can have the potential to severely affect your health. We strongly recommend you consult a doctor before conducting a cold water therapy session. Individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as circulatory issues or cardiovascular disease, or those who are pregnant should steer clear of taking the ice plunge. 

Where can you do cold water therapy?

You’ve read about all the benefits, you’ve spoken to your physician, and you’re ready to take the plunge. But just where can you do it? If you’re not quite ready to immerse yourself in an ice bath, then it’s recommended you ease your way into the therapy by having cold showers that last at least 20 seconds. The trick is to build up your tolerance and increase the time spent in the icy water. As we said earlier, your session in the slush shouldn’t go for longer than 20 minutes. Any longer than that and you run the risk of hypothermia.

Did you know that you can take the plunge in one of our specially designed ice baths at our Bourke Street and Northern Beaches clubs? As well as our cold baths, you can use other state-of-the-art fitness equipment. You can enjoy this, alongside other great group classes and personal training programs at many of our clubs. Not a member yet? Come and experience what world-class clubs have to offer. Book a no-obligation free trial now

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