How to achieve and maintain the optimal temperature for your ice baths are important things to know to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit.
What is the ideal ice bath temperature, and how do you keep it at that temperature? This article answers these questions and explains how to maintain an optimal temperature in different climates. You’ll also find alternative suggestions for beginners and those with certain sensitivities.
What is the ideal temperature of an ice bath?
The optimal ice bath temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). This is the temperature at which cold water is considered therapeutic and begins to offer mental and physical benefits, but some ice bath enthusiasts prefer even colder temps.
Many regular ice bathers tend to use temperatures between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit (4-10 degrees Celsius) as they become more adapted to cold.
For beginners, we recommend starting at or even above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and increasing your exposure over time to colder temperatures or longer ice baths.
How can I get (or keep) my ice bath cold?
Optimal temperature is achieved through the proper initial set-up. We recommend:
- Choosing a location that is not in the path of direct sunlight.
- Clean your Ice Barrel before using, as an unclean barrel may contain substances that are unhealthy and affect the temperature of the water.
- Use the lid and UV cover when you’re not using your barrel to help maintain your water temperature.
Most ice bathers use one of two methods for getting their water cold: ice or a chiller.
- Ice is an obvious choice. It can be made easily and at a low cost at home, although it may be difficult to produce enough ice to get your ice bath to your desired temperature. Using larger ice blocks, rather than small cubes is one way to keep the water colder for longer.
- A chiller is a mechanical device that will cool, circulate and, depending on the model, filter the water in your ice bath to keep it at a desired temperature. These can be a great option for people who don’t want to continually buy or make ice for their ice bath.
How much ice should I add to my ice bath?
You will likely need to add 40-100 pounds of ice. This is the average amount of ice our customers report using, but this will vary depending on your location, the season and how cold you want the water to be.
During the winter months in colder climates, you may not need to add ice at all. If you reside in a warm climate that rarely gets cold, you may need more.
Can an ice bath be too cold?
Risk of hypothermia or other cold injury (such as frostbite) will depend on not just the temperature, but the duration (length of time) that your body is exposed to the cold. We recommend spending no more than 10 minutes in your ice bath.
Cold therapy and ice baths should only be practiced with proper safety precautions. Always listen to your body and consult with a physician before beginning a cold therapy routine and as needed if you have any issues.
Alternative temperature and duration suggestions
There isn’t a single perfect way to practice cold therapy. Some people naturally tolerate cold water. Others might prefer to modify their ice bath routine to suit their personal needs and preferences.
We encourage anyone interested in experiencing the benefits of cold therapy to experiment with different times and temperatures, taking note of how they feel during and after each experience, to build a routine that’s unique to them.
These suggestions also may also apply if you have certain sensitivities to cold. Cold sensitivities may be a factor to those with anemia, hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, or if you have been diagnosed with Raynaud’s phenomenon or another vascular disorder. Also, certain medications can cause a sensitivity to cold.
If you have sensitivities to cold, you may still be able to safely enjoy cold therapy by:
- Starting at warmer temperatures – Our general guideline is to aim for below 60 degrees, but people with sensitivities might try a water temp as high as 93-95 degrees Fahrenheit (34-35 degrees Celsius). You can always lower the temperature of your water as you become more comfortable or adapted to the cold.
- Taking shorter ice baths — Even just 30 to 60 seconds can provide some benefits.
- Build your cold tolerance over time – For instance, you can reduce the temperature by one degree each day and/or increase the duration by 30 seconds to one minute until you reach your goal.
Bottom line: Your ideal ice bath temperature is unique to you
The goal of an ice bath below 60 degrees is simply a guideline for healthy individuals. Increasing the temperature of the water or shortening the amount of time that you spend sitting in your ice bath may be what you need to do. You will still feel the positive effects.
The main thing to keep in mind is to not compare yourself to the way another person is using their ice bath. Do what is best for you!
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Oct 20, 2023
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