3 Ways to Elevate Your Ice Bath Experience
Did you know that the ancient Romans used to take ice baths?
As a matter of fact, they had a variety of bath rooms, each with a specific purpose. A typical Roman's day at the baths would begin in the changing rooms, followed by the anointing room, where they would be generously covered in oil by hand servants.
Afterward, they’d get in a workout session in the Palaestra or gymnasium before entering a steam room to sweat out the oil and the sweat from their workout.
Finally, they’d move into the frigidarium which is basically a small pool of cold water kept at a bone-chilling temperature using snow. This process was carefully curated to enhance the ice bath experience of this ancient civilization.
Today, we’re going to delve into a personalized guide that draws inspiration from the practices of the ancient Romans and improves on them using modern technology to elevate your ice bath experience. We’ll also cover:
- How to leverage both ice baths and infrared saunas to accelerate muscle recovery and improve mental clarity
- A post-ice bath routine that will have you looking forward to your next ice bath
- Phenomenal music choices that you can use to create a strong mind to body connection and get through ice baths effortlessly
Let’s dive straight into the chilly depths of the only ice bath guide that will elevate your cold therapy sessions to unforeseen heights.
1 - Use Biohacking Tools for Enhanced Immersion
A world where scientists have figured out a way of harnessing the invisible infrared rays of the sun and using them to improve our health by causing us to sweat.
The truth is, while all these advancements are incredibly powerful on their own, they become 10 times more effective when used together.
Ice baths, for instance, offer a more pleasurable experience when they’re optimized and accompanied by the following biohacking tools:
Did you know that the first smartwatch was made by a man named Steve Mann in 1998? It was a wondrous creation that was controlled through a joystick-like device like in arcade games.
Smartwatches have come far since then and are capable of magnificent things, such as making and receiving phone calls, accessing smartphone apps, and, most importantly, tracking fitness goals.
Most smartwatches are water-resistant or waterproof. For instance, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is designed for recreational scuba diving and swimming, making it perfectly safe to wear during an ice bath.
Let’s imagine for a second that you’ve recently purchased our 7ft Oval Ice Bath and you’re gearing up for your first cold therapy session.
Your goal is to measure your initial reactions, gauge the rate at which your tolerance is building, and determine whether you should adjust the temperature for your next session.
As you submerge yourself into the tub and the shock of the icy plunge envelopes your body, you glance at your smartwatch and observe your heart rate dramatically spiking. You decide to employ a breathing technique to help you adapt to the cold and your heart rate steadily slows.
When it’s time to leave the ice bath, the timer you had set on your watch and you immediately hop out of the ice tub. The data collected from your smartwatch is automatically sent to your Health app and you’re able to track your progress as time goes by.
This real-time feedback proves invaluable because you’re able to fine-tune your approach without pushing yourself too far.
Stepping out from the chilly depths of your ice bath and hopping into an infrared sauna might seem counterintuitive, but the benefits are beyond anything you can imagine.
When you take an ice bath, your blood vessels contract, slowing down your blood circulation to conserve the heat within your body.
On the other hand, infrared saunas use infrared light—the invisible light of the sun— to directly warm your body, relieve tension, and relax your muscles.
The use of both cold and hot therapy is known as contrast therapy and it offers you the following benefits:
- Muscle recovery: Ice baths cause your blood vessels to constrict and infrared saunas cause them to dilate. This alternating process acts as a massage for your muscles after an intense workout, reducing muscle soreness and promoting faster healing.
- Mental clarity: The shock of the icy plunge followed by the sauna’s revitalising warmth triggers an increase in the production of endorphins, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and mentally sharp.
Stress reduction: The transition offsets a series of biological responses in your body that balance each other out to minimise your stress.
The cold therapy triggers your “flight or fight response” while the sauna session causes you to enter a “rest and digest state” Consequently, you become incredibly relaxed and your stress levels deplete significantly.
At The Peak Athletics, we pride ourselves in making biohacking tools accessible to people like us who aspire to improve their quality of life and uncover the best version of themselves.
In the following table, you'll find a comparison of the benefits of ice baths and infrared saunas, providing insights into their differences and similarities:
|Induces deep relaxation, reduces stress, and tension
|Promotes relaxation but through different mechanisms and sensations
|Dilates blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow and cardiovascular benefits
|Enhances circulation through vasoconstriction followed by vasodilation
|Relieves muscle and joint pain through deep tissue penetration
|Eases pain by numbing nerve endings and reducing inflammation
|Immune System Support
|May strengthen the immune system by increasing white blood cell production
|May enhance immune response due to stress adaptation
|May help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health
|Can temporarily increase heart rate and stimulate cardiovascular adaptation
|Promotes mental clarity, reduces anxiety, and may alleviate symptoms of depression
|Offers mental resilience through exposure to extreme cold and psychological benefits
2 - Establish a Holistic Wellness Post-Ice Bath Routine
Let’s be honest, taking an ice bath is not the easiest thing to do in the world, and we can all benefit from a little motivation to get us into that ice tub.
One effective way to accomplish this is to create a soothing and revitalising post-ice bath wellness routine that’ll serve as a well-deserved reward for taking care of your health by doing something hard.
Nothing screams holistic wellness like herbal tea and Epsom salts.
Here’s how you can incorporate these relaxing and rejuvenating elements to create a comprehensive wellness ritual that improves your overall well-being.
Did you know that when you take an ice bath, magnesium is released from your bones and into your bloodstream, providing essential energy to your mitochondria?
These mitochondria use this energy boost to maintain your core body temperature, protect you from the cold, and help you relax.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer which is why adding Epsom salts to your ice bath will make the icy plunge more bearable.
Let’s say you’ve just completed an intense uphill hike, and you can already feel soreness settling into your muscles.
You decide to enhance your ice bath with Epsom salts. As you add the salts to the icy water, they break down into magnesium and sulfate, and are readily absorbed through your skin.
Almost instantly, you may notice your muscles loosening, tension dissipating, and the shock of the cold plunge feeling less intense than before.
After your rejuvenating Epsom salt ice bath, there’s nothing quite like a piping hot cup of herbal tea to get you warm and snug from the inside out.
For centuries, herbal teas, such as chamomile, green tea, and lemon balm, have been cherished for their calming and stress-reducing properties.
After your ice bath, gently towel off and slip into fresh clothes. Brew a cup of chamomile and lemon balm and add two tablespoons of honey to taste. Find a comfortable spot with your favorite book or a podcast, and savor every sip of your delightful tea.
3 - Build a Mind-to-Body Connection Using Binaural Beats
Binaural beats are a sound illusion that occurs when your brain interprets two slightly different tones in each ear.
When these two tones are combined in your head, they generate a rhythmic pulse that enhances your awareness of bodily sensations and fosters a deeper sense of mindfulness.
Establishing a strong mind-to-body connection is crucial when it comes to taking ice baths. In fact, it's this connection that enables iconic biohackers like Wim Hof to endure freezing-cold ice baths for up to two hours.
Binaural beats have different brainwave frequencies that are associated with various mental states and levels of consciousness, including:
- Delta (0.5-4 Hz): Deep sleep and unconsciousness
- Theta (4-8 Hz): Deep relaxation, meditation, and creativity
- Alpha (8-12 Hz): Calm awareness, relaxation, and light meditation
- Beta (12-30 Hz): Active, analytical thinking and problem-solving
- Gamma (above 30 Hz): High-level cognitive processes, perception, and consciousness
To illustrate how these different frequencies can help improve your ice bath experience, let’s address the desirable mental states that may elevate your cold therapy session.
Let's say you're preparing for a hike, and you'd love to return home to find an ice bath ready and waiting for you.
Upon your arrival, you slip on your headphones and cue up a Theta (4-8 Hz) playlist, designed for relaxation. As you lower yourself into the icy water, you align your breath with the pulsing of the beats.
Surprisingly, your body is able to adapt to the cold with greater ease as your mind unwinds, and your body follows suit. The elevated mental state induced by the beats helps you maintain your composure, and the minutes seem to fly by faster than before.
Maintaining focus inside an ice bath is what helps you build tolerance over time. It’s necessary for your focus not to slip so you don’t talk yourself out of finishing your designated ice bath time frame.
Here's where the magic happens: By integrating binaural beats set to the gamma brainwave frequency, you have the ability to elevate your focus as you challenge your mental resilience within the ice bath.
As you dip into the icy water, the intense beats sharpen your concentration and your mind and body narrow down to completing this one challenge.
You level your breathing as the revitalising beats allow you to stay composed and alert as you push through this mental test.
4 - Additional Resources and Reading
We founded The Peak Athletics to provide top-tier tools and resources to individuals like us: biohackers.
Whether you’re a parent, student, entrepreneur, musician, nurse, freelancer, or athlete, if you aspire to lead a better life with increased energy to care for your loved ones, you've come to the right place.
We not only offer an extensive catalogue of the finest chillers and ice baths for sale in the UK, but we are committed to educating the masses about the advantages of biohacking and why anyone can do it.
For instance, we have compiled the following resources to equip you with the best research-based information on all things ice baths and cold therapy.
- The dos and don’ts of taking an ice bath
- Do ice baths help workout recovery?
- The Science & Use of Cold Exposure for Health & Performance
- Ice Bath at Home: How to Take an Ice Bath
- The Truth About Ice Baths: Can They Really Improve Your Health?
Break the Ice and Celebrate Your Cold Therapy Journey
Ice baths may not be the easiest thing to do, but they play a big role in helping us build resilience, remain disciplined, and biohack our way into the best version of ourselves.
With that in mind, any help we can leverage to help us make the experience less daunting and more rewarding is welcome.
We have covered how you can harness technology, binaural beats, and traditional herbal remedies to transform your ice bath experiences into invigorating and relaxing rituals both before and after the plunge.
Here at The Peak Athletics, we pride ourselves on being biohacking professionals who rigorously evaluate the industry’s best ice bath kits and chillers to cater to all your biohacking needs, delivering them straight to your doorstep.
We are so confident in the quality of our products that we offer our customers a 30-day no-regret policy.
If, within 30 days, you don't find yourself completely in love with our ice baths (though we're 99% sure you will be), we'll take it back and refund your money—no questions asked.
Visit our website today and browse our captivating catalogue of ice baths for sale.