A quality arctic ice bath is a quick way to reduce muscle soreness and boost your mood after a workout. But it can be dangerous for certain people, so you should talk to your doctor before trying it.
Taking an ice bath can help you cool down and reduce high blood pressure. This is because your blood vessels constrict in cold water to reduce the loss of body heat. But that also reduces blood flow to the skin, and over time, it can cause a significant reduction in blood volume.
Chilling Out: The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Arctic Ice Baths
The resulting lack of circulation can make you feel cold and lead to hypothermia if you stay in the water too long. That’s why it’s important to use a timer and get out as soon as you start shivering uncontrollably.
Some ice bath advocates suggest gradually building up to full-body immersion in cold water, so you can avoid shocking your body and heart. Others recommend starting with a shorter soak in cold water, like five to 10 minutes.
In addition to helping you cool down after a workout, soaking in ice water may help fight stress and anxiety. It triggers a release of the hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine, which can improve your mood and help you learn to handle stress. It might even strengthen your immune system, boosting white blood cell count and helping you resist illness.