Over the past year or so, the interest in ice baths and cold water therapy has soared. Perhaps thanks to the social media platform TikTok, podcaster Joe Rogan or the famous Wim Hof, creator of the Wim Hof method.
According to Hof, sitting in an ice bath is an intense but accelerated type of meditation. You gain control of your nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems allowing you to feel happier, stronger, and healthier.
You don’t need to live in the Arctic to take an ice bath, as there are many amazing options in the UK market.
Cold water therapy isn’t just for athletes, either. Anyone of any age can benefit from cold water immersion.
Keeping reading to find the best ice baths for cold water therapy.
Best ice baths for cold water therapy
Cold Water Swim has reviewed the best ice baths for cold water therapy on the market in the UK.
First, we have the Cold Pod tub, a 250-litre portable tub. Other notable dimensions for the Cold Pod include 75cm height and diameter, 3.5kg net weight, and a suitable user height of 6,7 feet. So, this ice bath is ideal for most!
Cold Pod’s tub can be kept inside or outside, as the tub has a fitted lid to keep debris and bugs out, allowing you to have fresh water for longer. If you want to change the water, a drain-down tap will empty the tub in minutes.
The Cold Pod is a small business based in the UK; the popular brand promotes the health-boosting benefits of its cryotherapy, such as improved sleep, faster recovery time, and better mental health.
- Three layers of waterproof and tear-resistant materials.
- Easy drainage system.
- Small business based in the UK.
With a 4.4 out of 5 rating on Amazon, the Explore Ice Fitness Bath is popular with many UK-based cold water swimmers and athletes. Explore’s ice bath is the largest one sold on Amazon, with a total capacity of 400 litres.
Explore’s Fitness bath is ideal if you are looking for a durable bathtub. With triple-layered fabric is a refreshing change from flimsy material tubs that some brands try to flog. The neck pillow will help you stay comfortable in the cold plunge pool.
The cold plunge tub can double up as a hot tub, as it can withstand temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius. So, you can enjoy the benefits of submerging in hot and cold temperatures, as both have been proven to help reduce swelling and soreness.
Explore’s cold plunge tub has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, with many positive reviews. The brand has provided its customers with easy-to-follow videos demonstrating how to set up the bath tub.
- Triple-layered fabric.
- 400-litre capacity.
- 4.5-star rating on Amazon.
- Withstands hot and cold temperatures.
Due to its competitive price and quality, the Lumi Recovery Bath Tub is a bestseller in the United Kingdom market. The insulated pod incorporates three layers of thermal TPE protection to keep the water at a stable temperature.
Cold therapy is a form of meditation proven to reduce inflammation, and you don’t need to travel far. All you need is a Lumi tub in your back garden.
Don’t have a back garden? The Lumi tub is portable and leak-secure, so you can put it anywhere.
The UV-resistant skin-friendly PVC inner lining and the fitted lid will protect you from the sun and keep unwanted debris out of the water. Lumi also offers more high-market products (at an additional cost) and other products, such as a step stool.
- PVC lining.
- Suitable height of 2 metres.
- Thermo lid to maintain lid.
4. The Ice Tub
If a cold shower isn’t pushing your limits anymore, you may want to try The Ice Tub. A luxury ice barrel that can be placed indoors or outdoors. Marketed as a cold therapy training tool, The Ice Tub is one of our top picks!
The ice bath experience has been scientifically proven to increase dopamine, decrease muscle soreness and promote weight loss even after just a few times.
The inflatable tub is compact and lightweight. So those who don’t want to dunk daily can benefit from the foldable bathtub.
The easy-to-use drainage system is ideal for outdoor use, as you can empty the foldable bathtub quickly. The sub-zero cooling technology will keep the ice water at a temperature for long periods.
- 66 5-star reviews.
- Holds 270 litres of water.
- 75cm high and 80cm wide.
The Tubble inflatable bath tub is different to other ice tanks on the market, as you lie down rather than stand up. Like a stock tank, the Tubble Royale inflatable bathtub allows for optimum cold exposure.
Designed in Amsterdam, the Tubble tub is easily inflated with an electric pump in a matter of minutes. The ice bath holds 56 gallons of water, or 255 litres, and is ideal for individuals of up to 6.2 feet.
The Tubble tub comes in three different colours to match the aesthetics of your home. Many individuals also use this tub as a thermal bathtub, as it can withstand up to 45 degrees Celsius, bath salts and oils. You can turn your Tubble bath into a relaxing sauna!
- Choice of three colours.
- Suitable for hot and cold water.
- Allows individuals to lie down.
The most expensive ice bath on our list is from The Barrel and Chiller. At a whopping £5k, this is perhaps more suited to passionate ice dunkers rather than newbies.
However, this big-budget bath has impressive features, which might make you think twice before dismissing this option.
The fashionable wooden barrel, handmade in the United Kingdom, is for outdoor use and holds up to 500 litres of water. Fitted with a filtration system, the ice barrel has a continuous sanitation process. The filter can be recycled and replaced.
You can control water temperature through a wireless connection via an app, with options for cold and hot settings. Other features include vacation mode, over-the-air updates, maintenance reminders and scheduling.
- £5,750 (yikes!).
- Ozone and filtration cleaning.
- Forty-seven inches (120cm) depth.
- Impressive durability due to wooden build.
How long should you spend in an ice bath?
The recommended length of time that you should spend in an ice bath is around 10-15 minutes.
If you are new to ice baths, you may want to ease yourself in by only spending a couple of minutes at a time submerged.
More experienced cold water enthusiasts may be able to withstand long periods in the water, but please do so with caution.
How cold should an ice bath be?
The temperature of an ice bath should be between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius) to be effective.
It’s important to note that the temperature can vary depending on the individual’s tolerance and the specific purpose of the ice bath.
If you are unsure about the ideal temperature for your specific needs, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional or a trained sports therapist.
Additionally, it’s important to monitor the duration of the ice bath and avoid staying in for too long to prevent any adverse effects.
Can you use cold water for an ice bath?
You can use cold water for an ice bath, but it may not be as effective as using a combination of ice and water.
Using only cold water for an ice bath may not be cold enough to provide the same benefits as using ice water.
Adding ice to the water helps lower the water temperature more quickly and provides a more intense cooling effect on the body.
Cooler water can help to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation and promote recovery after physical activity.
However, if you do not have access to ice or prefer not to use it, cold water can still provide some benefits. Especially, if you use it to cool down after a workout or reduce swelling.
What are the health benefits of ice baths?
Here are some potential health benefits associated with using an ice bath:
- Reduced inflammation: Cold therapy, such as an ice bath, can help reduce inflammation. Reduced inflammation is beneficial for athletes or individuals who experience muscle soreness or joint pain.
- Improved muscle recovery: The cold temperature of an ice bath can promote muscle recovery after exercise. It does this by constricting blood vessels and reducing swelling and inflammation, which can lead to faster healing.
- Increased circulation: Although the cold temperature of an ice bath initially causes blood vessels to constrict, the body responds by increasing circulation to warm up the area. So, increased circulation can improve overall blood flow and help deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues.
- Enhanced mental health: Cold therapy has been shown to have potential benefits for mental health. It can help reduce stress and anxiety levels and may even boost mood by triggering the release of endorphins, increasing metabolism and calming the nervous system.
- Reduced risk of injury: Using an ice bath as a recovery tool can help reduce the risk of injury by promoting muscle recovery and reducing inflammation in the body.
It’s important to note that ice baths are not suitable for everyone and should be used cautiously.
If you have any medical conditions or concerns, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider before using an ice bath.
Are ice baths worth the investment?
If you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast looking for ways to improve your recovery and reduce muscle soreness, ice baths may be worth a try.
There are many options on the market, with standard outdoor pools starting at just £20 and high-end ice baths, such as the Odin ice bath, reaching up to £6,000. So, no matter what your budget may be, there are options to meet your requirements.
However, there are other recovery strategies that are effective and less intense, such as foam rolling, stretching, and massage guns. These options may be more accessible and cost-effective for some people.
Ultimately, the decision to invest in ice baths will depend on your individual needs and preferences.
Are there any disadvantages to an ice bath?
There are a few risks to using an ice bath to consider:
- Discomfort: Ice baths can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for those who are not used to cold water. The shock of the cold water can cause shivering and an intense burning sensation in the skin. Make sure to only spend a couple of minutes at a time in the water, and get out if you start to feel unwell.
- Hypothermia: Prolonged exposure to cold water can cause a drop in body temperature, which can lead to hypothermia. This is especially true for those with a lower body fat percentage, as they have less insulation to protect them from the cold. We recommend wearing a wetsuit or thermals.
- Risk of injury: The shock of the cold water and the slippery surface of the bathtub or container used for the ice bath can increase the risk of injury, such as slipping or falling.
Overall, ice baths may be useful for some athletes and fitness enthusiasts. However, they are not without their drawbacks and may not be suitable for everyone.
If you want to give cold water swimming a try, we would recommend having a companion present. Other tips include only staying in the water for a couple of minutes and ensuring you warm up properly after.
Ice baths have been increasingly popular due to their proven health benefits for the mind and body. Cold water swimming is an adventurous activity, but it is an inclusive hobby that anyone of any age, shape, or gender can enjoy together.
We have reviewed the best ice baths for cold water therapy, so you can cold water swim (or dunk) from the comfort of your own home. We recommend taking a morning dunk as part of your wake-up routine!
For tips on how to cold water swim safely, read our informative article!