The 7 Finest Ice Bathtubs of 2023 for Sore Muscle Aid

Soaking in an ice bath to treat muscle and joint pain is nothing new.

"The routine of doing cold jumps after an intense workout or competition has been common practice for centuries," says Matthew Kampert, DO, resident physician of sports medicine and endocrinology and director of exercise medicine at the Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute. "More recently, however, these practices have been better studied through research that assesses the pathways activated or deactivated by this frigid environment."

What does an ice bath do?

After a workout, your body needs to repair itself to prepare for the next workout. It does this with the help of blood vessels, which carry oxygen to your muscle tissue while also removing exercise by-products – the most common being lactic acid.

Too much lactic acid build-up can cause your muscles to function poorly and often leads to fatigue. An ice bath instantly reduces swelling while flushing lactic acid from your body.

When you sit in an ice bath, the cold causes your blood vessels to constrict. This helps drain lactic acid from tired muscles. When you come out of the bath, your muscle tissue reheats, resulting in a return of oxygenated blood, which should theoretically help muscles recover.

Benefits of the Ice Bath

According to Kampert, ice baths can be an effective tool for your workout, but it depends on what your goal is.

Relieves pain and inflammation

While celebrities and athletes tout ice baths as a panacea for recovery, the science is a bit lukewarm.

Ice baths can be beneficial "when the athlete is trying to improve recovery by reducing inflammation after an acute injury or workout," Kampert notes. It makes sense that Keanu Reeves would jump into an ice bath after filming stunts for John Wick: Chapter 4, but inflammation isn't always a bad thing.

Certain types of inflammation are important to your body's repair and adaptation processes. Ice can't tell good inflammation from bad, just like antibiotics can't tell good bacteria from bad.

While massage can dull adverse inflammation, ice hits them all. However, if you're attending a multi-day event, ice cream is a great way to keep your muscles fit.

reduce pain

Slipping into ice baths after training is not just a sporting initiation rite. As mentioned earlier, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise, it can relieve muscle soreness and stiffness and prepare you for your next fight.

boost energy

Kampert suggests going for an ice bath early in the morning or before a workout to keep the body energized. In response to the shock of cold therapy, your body releases endorphins ("feel good hormones"), which can help bring clarity of mind and elevate mood.

support weight loss

A Scandinavian study (where else?) found that immersing yourself in cold water followed by a rest in a hot sauna can provide a weight-loss benefit. In the study, the researchers monitored the vital signs of a group of young men who swam in cold water twice a week for at least two years and compared them to a control group who didn't swim. They found that those who swam regularly and then sat in a sauna burned more calories via brown fat (the kind that keeps you warm). In short: a cold water bath followed by a hot sauna session can increase energy consumption and promote weight loss. If your gym has a cold bath and sauna, make this part of your regular routine.

ice bath cons

"If the goal is to build strength and muscle mass, athletes may prefer not to use ice baths post-workout," Kampert says. A Journal of Physiology study showed decreased long-term muscle mass and strength gains when using cold dives.

How long do you make an ice bath?

Ten freezing minutes is the magic number to recover from consecutive days of training, per ACE, whether you're running, power biking, or weightlifting. In a six-week study, ice bathers were more able to adjust their exercise levels from day to day than those who only took hot showers.

Some Helpful Hints: Those that were iced for 20 minutes had no better results than those that were soaked for 10 minutes. Try to take a bath within two hours of your workout. And if you're having trouble staying in the cold, ice in 10 one-minute increments.

How cold an ice bath should be

In studies examining the effects of cold dives, the ice bath is typically 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to ensure accuracy.

How to take an ice bath

To make an ice bath yourself, get three bags of ice from a grocery store and fill your bathtub half full with cold water. Pour in the ice. (The first few times you take an ice bath, only dip your lower body, from the hips down.

After you become more comfortable sitting in the ice bath, slowly begin to lower your torso until it's submerged (to your neck if you can handle it.) Work your way up to 10 minutes.

te: If the ice bath is too intense, you can alternatively do an ice massage.

  1. Buy a case of paper cups and fill two or three with tap water, leaving an inch of space at the top.
  2. Put in the freezer. After your workout session, grab a cup from the freezer, tear off the paper around the top, and massage the muscle you worked.
  3. As the ice melts, you can slowly tear off more paper.
  4. Massage in for at least 10 minutes.

If you don't want to take over your bathtub, there are plenty of ice bath cleaners that you can buy.

"The most common method is to keep a tub or keg outside and add ice accordingly," Kampert says.

Start by outfitting yourself with a portable ice bath that suits your needs and budget. Here are our favorite ice tubs, perfect for a quick, healing soak in the comfort of your own home.

The 7 Best Ice Bathtubs of 2023

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MURO ​​​​is a great option if you want to dip your toe in ice baths without making a huge financial commitment. The inflatable tub is made from PVC and probably won't hold up well outside, but it's small enough to fit in a garage or large bathroom - which also means you can't lie down in it.

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PEAKn is an inflatable tub, making it less durable than other options, but also fairly mobile and easy to store. This is a great option for, for example, traveling athletes or those who only want to soak in the cold during the summer months. PEAKn is also large enough to sit in and priced is another great entry-level ice tub.

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This luxury bath is a combination of the best qualities. It is inflatable, portable and fits in a backpack. It's also sturdy, capable of chilling the water to 37 degrees or heating it to 105 degrees. A built-in filtration system keeps the water clean and you can set it all up within 15 minutes. The company even offers virtual demos.

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If you want a tank with an ice bath - one made from virtually indestructible plastic and designed to hold cattle feed - then this is for you. Available in 100 and 150 gallon sizes, the Rubbermaid tub has no frills. An oversized drain plug makes it easy to drain and clean.

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Specially designed for cold dives, Ice Barrel is a freestanding plastic tub meant for crouching. At 105 gallons, it's big enough to seat over six feet of anyone in an upright seating position. Aesthetically, its subtle black design also blends easily with backyard decorations.

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If you want a spa-quality cold tub, Renu Therapy offers a freestanding unit that also lets you customize your base and top colors (and add a light). The "Super-Tuff Exterior" is intended for outdoor use and can cool water down to 36 degrees. It's one of the most stylish options available and perfect if you know cold diving will be part of your routine for years to come.

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Another good budget option is the portable foldable Kiseely bathtub, which is made of PVC, heat-insulating cotton and thick waterproof lining. The tub can be used indoors or outdoors (for either cold or hot water) and is unlikely to puncture or leak. Assembly required.

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