6 Simple Tips for Using an Ice Bath for Injury Recovery (2023)

  • June 14, 2022
(Video) Ice Bath Science with Dr. Andy Galpin - "Proof" Ep.1

Ice baths are just as they sound – a bathtub full of ice and freezing water. They are a great way to heal injuries and muscles, making them popular amongst endurance trainers and athletes. If you have suffered an injury, or if you feel as though areas of your body are sore or strained, an Alamo City Urgent Care in San Antonio may recommend an ice bath. They help muscle tissue repair itself and remove lactic acid from the body – the main culprit of muscle fatigue.

Ice Bath Tips

If you are thinking of giving yourself an ice bath, there are some things you should do to avoid running out of the bathtub.

(Video) Ice Baths for Athletes | The Benefits and Side Effects

  • Fill the tub to your thighs, then dump in about a pound of ice. This makes it easier to deal with the added ice versus jumping into an ice-filled tub.
  • Use a little bit of ice and slowly add more, increasing the ice level as your tolerance builds. This will help you ease into taking ice baths regularly if you plan on using cold therapy as a form of treatment.
  • Try to stay in the ice bath for as long as you can, but do not exceed 15 minutes. It is recommended to work up to the recommended 15 minutes without pushing your body beyond its limits.
  • Wear warm clothing on the top part of your body to keep the exposed areas of yourself warm. You can drink hot liquids, like tea or decaffeinated coffee, to help keep your body temperature from dropping too low.
  • Avoid taking a shower right after an ice bath. It is better to let the body warm up on its own instead of shocking it with hot water.
  • If after several minutes you cannot seem to get warm on your own, take a warm shower to raise your internal body temperature.

If you have an injury or inflammation that keeps you from performing at your best, try an ice bath to repair and strengthen the muscles. Visit an Alamo City Urgent Care near me if your pain worsens or does not get better with rest and elevation.

(Video) PRO Recovery Tips for Athletes - Workout Injuries, Pain Or Inflammation | Ice Bath Tub For Athletes
(Video) What ICE BATHS Do To Your MUSCLES!


Do and don'ts of ice bath? ›

Do: Aim for an ice bath time of around 2-5 minutes maximum. You don't have to sit in there for a long time to reap the benefits, and unless you're using it as a recovery tool, your ice bath doesn't need to be longer than 5 minutes! Don't: Be careless about staying too long in an ice-cold tub.

How do you ice bath for recovery? ›

Also called an ice bath or cold water therapy, the practice involves immersing yourself in a tub of ice water that's between 50 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Athletes generally sit in the bath for 15 minutes max after a competition or an intense training session in hopes of speeding recovery.

How do you do a ice bath for beginners? ›

Go easy on the water temperature and stay in your "cold tolerance" temperature. Instead of jumping into 39°F water right away, it's okay to start around 60 degrees. Get out of the ice bath slowly and do some light movement like jumping jacks or bodyweight squats to help regulate your temperature.

Do ice baths help injury recovery? ›

Ice baths can also help speed up your recovery time for injuries. The cold temperature reduces the circulation flow of the injury, which is what helps to reduce the inflammation and swelling of an injury. As your body warms up after the ice bath, the blood flow returns to normal circulation.

What not to do after an ice bath? ›

Avoid taking a shower right after an ice bath. It is better to let the body warm up on its own instead of shocking it with hot water. If after several minutes you cannot seem to get warm on your own, take a warm shower to raise your internal body temperature.

What not to do when taking an ice bath? ›

Cold Tub Ice Baths are associated with health benefits from promoting overall well-being to the relief of symptoms from various medical conditions.
  1. Don't: Ice Bath Before Your Workout. ...
  2. Don't: Do Not Overdo It By Staying In Too Long. ...
  3. Don't: Quit After One Dip. ...
  4. Don't: Take A Warm Shower Immediately After.
Oct 8, 2021

What does a 2 minute ice bath do? ›

When you take an ice bath, the cold temperature narrows your blood vessels. This decreases blood flow to your muscles, which may reduce inflammation and swelling. And research suggests that the cold-therapy technique lowers post-exercise inflammation better than other methods like compression socks.

What is ice bath method? ›

Ice bathing is a process where a stock pot of hot food is placed into ice water. Ice wands are filled with water, frozen, then used to stir hot food. Combining these methods, ice bathing while stirring food with an ice wand, provides very effective cooling for soups, sauces, and beans.

How do you make a cheap ice bath? ›

  1. Cut the Lid. ...
  2. Sand the Top Edge Smooth. ...
  3. Add the Spout. ...
  4. Add Support and Elevate the Base. ...
  5. Place and Elevate your Ice Barrel. ...
  6. Fill the Ice Barrel. ...
  7. Add Ice and Get the Water to Temperature. ...
  8. Jump in and Chill Out!
Jan 28, 2022

Can a ice bath just be cold water? ›

Cold-water immersion, also known as an ice bath, is a recovery regimen usually done following intense exercise where you dunk yourself in a tub of cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.

What to do before ice bath? ›

Getting into the cold water too quickly can shock your system and may make your heart race too fast. Give yourself time to adjust to the cold by slowly entering the water. As you get into the bath, take slow, deep breaths to stay calm. Start with your feet, then ease the rest of your lower body into the water.

Is 20 minutes too long for an ice bath? ›

SOLOMON says: The maximum time for an ice bath is 20 minutes. More than that might cause frostbite. After 20 minutes, the blood vessels constrict and the body experiences decreased circulation.

How long should you soak an injury in ice water? ›

Immerse affected area for 20 to 30 minutes per session. Do not use an ice bath if there is an open wound, bleeding, or a skin infection.

Should I wear clothes in an ice bath? ›

You'll need to wear clothing, like shorts and a T-shirt, during your ice bath to protect your skin. Some people also choose to wear a sweatshirt and booties to keep their torso and toes warm.

How cold should an ice bath be? ›

How cold should the water be? Water turns to ice at 0 degrees Celsius / 32 degrees Fahrenheit. For an ice bath, the water should be around 10-15 degrees Celsius (around 50-60 Fahrenheit).

What are the risks of ice baths? ›

Safety. There is agreement in the medical and scientific communities that ice baths can pose serious risks to health. Risks include hypothermia, shock and the possibility of sudden cardiac death.

Who should not take ice baths? ›

The water should be no colder than about 53 degrees Fahrenheit (11.6 degrees Celsius). If you're new to ice baths, though, Dr.
Who shouldn't take ice baths
  • Heart disease.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Peripheral neuropathy.
  • Poor circulation.
  • Venous stasis.
  • Cold agglutinin disease.
Mar 21, 2022

How long should you take an ice bath for? ›

The magic number to aim for is 15 minutes. Research has shown this has the most effective time to get the most out of the cold treatment. After 15 minutes, the effects are diluted just as the ice soon will be.

Can an ice bath cause damage? ›

Side effects and risks of ice baths

“The decrease in core temperature and the immersion in ice constricts blood vessels and slows the flow of blood in the body,” he says. This can be dangerous if you have decreased blood flow, which Gardner says places you at risk for cardiac arrest or stroke.


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