How to set up your own ice bath at home

Here’s How You Can Set Up Your Own Ice Bath At Home

It doesn’t take a lot to set up your own ice bath at home. If you feel like this form of recovery is for you, here’s how you can start!

Cold-water immersion, also more commonly known as the “ice bath”, has been a common form of recovery among athletes and fitness enthusiasts for a long time. Professional athletes are often seen having conversations while submerged neck-deep in ice-cold water like it’s nothing, showing just how used to it they are from their routines. But lately, ice baths have been becoming more and more common given the simplicity and accessibility it takes to set one up at home.

So if you’ve been thinking of setting up your own ice bath at home, and if you’ve done your research on the benefits, the limitations, and the considerations, here’s a quick guide on how you can do just that.

READ MORE: What Benefits Do Athletes Get From Ice Baths?

Get a tub

Of course, you will need a tub before anything else. If you don’t have a bathtub or anything similar at home, you can find many affordable options online, from child-sized portable swimming pools to foldable bathtubs, or even bins (a meme F1 driver Pierre Gasly doing an ice bath in a tall trash bin went viral once). The main thing you’ll want to consider when getting your own tub for this is the size, as you’ll want one that will allow you to sit up to neck-deep in the water comfortably.

Fill the tub with ice
(Photo credit: Lumi Recovery on Instagram)

And the other obvious bit: you’ll need ice.

Studies and experts generally recommend that when taking ice baths, the ideal temperature is anywhere between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. When setting up your own ice bath at home, we highly suggest having a thermometer on hand to make sure you’re precise with your temperatures for safety, but generally, you can achieve this temperature range with a water-to-ice ratio of around 3:1. Depending on your size, this might require one to three bags of ice.

Schedule your baths

Athletes mainly use cold-water immersion as a form of recovery, especially after hard workouts. If you are after the same effect, you’re going to want to time your ice baths at home correctly. Experts have suggested that it’s best to get in an ice bath as soon as you are done with a workout or a competition to achieve the most benefits.

While filling a tub with ice seems like an easy enough task, it actually might take more time and effort than you think, especially when it comes to getting the right temperature. So, it may be best to schedule your ice baths ahead of time.

Set an alarm

When taking an ice bath at home, you should definitely set an alarm before getting in so that you stay in for your desired amount of time correctly. Experts recommend staying in a bath for up to 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your tolerance for cold water. Don’t stay in any longer than you are able, and remember that any more than 15 minutes can increase your risk of hypothermia, so it’s best to stick to this time frame.

Take the plunge!
(Photo credit: Lumi Therapy on Instagram)

Once the temperature is just right and you have your alarm set up, it’s time to get in. This may be the most daunting part of the whole thing, but we say to just get in, whether you want to slowly submerge yourself or do it in one quick go. Submerge yourself neck-deep to get the most potential benefits.

The toughest part is usually the first minute or two as your body adjusts to the cold temperatures, so take deep breaths to stay calm during this process. And before you know it, you’ll start to feel a little more comfortable (and a little more numb) in the bath. As mentioned, you can stay in the bath for up to 15 minutes, so you can use this time to meditate or do some breathing exercises to maximize the potential mental health benefits of cold-water immersions.

Get out slowly

Once your time in the ice bath is done, your body will be numb so get out slowly. We recommend having someone around to help you get out of the tub safely.

You’ll feel cold after you step out of the ice bath (no kidding) and while it may be tempting to warm up with a hot shower at home, many recommend letting your body’s temperature rise back up gradually and naturally. After stepping out of the bath, you can do some active movements to build some heat in your body, dry off with a towel, replace your ice-cold clothes with fresh clothes, or even drink a warm beverage to help you get comfortable.

A few things to consider before taking the plunge

While ice baths have been a popular method for recovery for a long time now, research on the topic is still relatively limited and still varies, so before creating your own ice bath at home, it would be best to consult a healthcare professional, especially if you have any physical concerns to worry about.

If you’re planning on taking an ice bath for the first time, we recommend doing it under the guidance of a professional. Spending 10 to 15 minutes in ice-cold water is not easy, and having someone with experience can help you get through it before you start going at it by yourself at home.

Ultimately, your recovery all comes down to you. Ice baths aren’t for everyone, but many people do enjoy the benefits they get from this method of recovery. At the end of the day, you should do what feels right for you, don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with, and listen to your body as you go along.

Banner image from Ice Barrel on Instagram.

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