What is an ice bath?
The practice of ice bathing, also commonly referred to as cold plunging, is the act of submerging your entire body into ice cold water. Temperatures in ice baths can range from anywhere between 3 to 15 degrees Celsius. This subsequently triggers your body’s fight or flight response, urging you to remove yourself from the ice bath. It is a practice commonly used by athletes post-workout, and also for recovery purposes. Other than its physical benefits, many endorse the use of ice baths for the mental health benefits it promotes.
What is cryotherapy?
On the other hand, whole-body cryotherapy is the practice of exposing yourself to freezing temperatures for a short period of time in a specially designed tank or chamber. The chamber uses dry cryogenically cooled air to reduce the skin’s temperature. The temperature can range from -120 to -180 degrees Celsius. The exposure itself is administered by professionals at a gym, or wellness centre, and is limited to 2-4 minutes.
Benefits of cryotherapy
Depending on your needs and what you’re after, a possible advantage of cryotherapy is that it is not as mentally challenging as an ice bath. Given that when using a cryo-chamber your session is limited in time and you have professional assistance, the challenge of pushing yourself to stay in longer is not as existent as in ice baths.
Additionally, there is a low barrier to purchase. Most ice bath users purchase their own at home portable ice bath. However, most cryotherapy users simply book an appointment with their local cryo-chamber provider. Of course, this cost can add up over continuous use.
Benefits of ice baths
Whilst ice baths have initial purchase costs, the maintenance is relatively cheap given the filters and chillers now available on the market that allow for a self-sustaining ice bath with minimal preparation effort.
Mentally, ice baths reap many benefits. This includes boosting mental clarity, and reducing stress levels. It is believed the cold temperature positively affects the brain on a deep level.
Additionally, athletes swear by ice baths for recovery. Expect your blood vessels to constrict when in the water, however blood flow increases as you leave the ice bath, which in turn decreases inflammation and helps ease the pain from injuries.
It is also believed that ice baths increase stimulation of Vitamin A, and as a result stimulates fat-burning in cold conditions.
Differences between ice baths and cryotherapy
The primary difference between the two is the variation in temperature. Cryotherapy chambers operate in much cooler conditions than ice baths.
Additionally, the fight or flight mode is activated immediately in an ice bath, whilst it takes a while, or does not occur at all in cryotherapy. Thus mentally, the benefits of an ice bath outweigh those of a cryo-chamber. However, the physical benefits can be similar.
How we can help
At Xtreme Plunge, we are passionate about providing health and wellbeing through our high quality ice baths. Contact us to unlock your maximum potential with the help of our Xtreme ice baths!