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❄️Mastering the Art of Ice Baths: Optimal Time, Frequency & Temperature of Cold Water Immersion⏰

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Welcome, cold water warriors, to Canuck Cold's chilling attempt to make cold water immersion more accessible. Today, we dive into 3 of the most intriguing questions on almost every new cold plunger’s mind:

1) How many ice baths should I take per week?

2) How long should each cold water immersion session last?

3) What is the ideal water temperature for cold plunges?

Fear not, for we're about to unveil the study-backed answers to these common cold plunge questions, empowering you to embrace the icy waters with utmost confidence!

To start, the answer to all 3 of these questions is a function of knowing your body’s limits. What is safe for one, might not be safe for another, so let’s first talk about the signs that you're pushing your body too far.

Cold Water Immersion Safety: Avoiding Hypothermia

Hypothermia is definitely the biggest risk of cold water immersion (duh), and it definitely isn't on our list of fun winter escapades! So recognizing symptoms is one of the best ways to get the benefits of ice baths without putting your health at risk. When it comes to hypothermia, shivering is one of the first signs that your body might be saying, "Hey, I love the chill, but let's not get frostbite, okay?" We’ve all shivered at some point, so obviously you’re not full-blown hypothermic at the first chatter of your teeth, but experts recommend being mindful of shivering and exiting the cold tub at that point. If you insist on “pushing through” some shivering, make sure that you immediately exit at the point where shivering becomes non-stop, your speech begins to slur, your body movements slow noticeably, or your skin turns red - this is your body telling you that you are in danger!

Choosing your Ice Bath Routine

But fret not, fellow ice aficionados! Countless brave souls indulge in daily cold plunges with no issue. The secret to their success? Easing into it and listening to what your body is telling you! With that in mind, it’s also important to understand that the ideal length, frequency, and temperature of your ice baths will vary based on your age, health conditions, cold-tolerance, BMI, and several other factors. So, ease into the practice and find your unique rhythm.

With that said, ice baths aren’t meant to be easy… They are as mentally challenging as they are physically, with that little voice in your head often screaming “Abort!” before you even dip a toe. Just remember, overcoming that challenge is where half of the benefits of ice baths come from (physically and mentally). So push yourself, but not past your limit, and only after easing into the practice. Just like with working out.

The Optimal Time, Frequency & Temperature of Cold Water Immersion

Now, the moment you've been waiting for—what's the Optimal Time, Frequency & Temperature of Cold Water Immersion? A recent study by Dr. Susanna Søberg (Cell Reports Medicine, 2021) and mentioned in Andrew Huberman’s Podcast (The Huberman Lab Episode #66) suggests that as little as 11 minutes of cold water immersion per week, spread over 2 - 3+ sessions, can deliver most ice bath benefits. These cold water immersion benefits include an immediate 250% increase in noradrenaline & dopamine (lasting hours), which positively affects focus, energy & mood. The study also observed a significant increase in brown fat activation, which translates to a higher metabolism & burning fat more easily, along with several other benefits.

Beginners can aim for this 11-minute target. Over time, as you gain experience and grow more tolerant of the cold, the 11-minute target might not continue to be a challenge for your body. So, feel free to increase your routine to as many as 6 or 7 cold tub sessions per week, with sessions lasting up to 10 minutes each - safety permitting.

The ideal water temperature for ice baths is also a function of your experience & tolerance, so we also suggest easing into any colder temperatures. Starting around 60°F/15°C still delivers enormous benefits, but experienced ice bathers can get as low as 34°-50°F/1°-10°C. It’s impossible to give rigid min/max numbers because a cold plunge at, say, 3°C for 2 minutes might be far easier on your body than a cold plunge at, 10°C for 10 minutes.

Remember, the key to unlocking the icy magic lies with you, so listen to what your body is telling you.

Best Equipment for Ice Bath Routines

❌ Cutting a hole in a frozen lake might be Insta-worthy, but the time it takes means it’s not a realistic method for keeping a routine, nor is it safe to do on your own, especially in the dark. Whether you're taking a daily plunge, a few times per week, or using ice baths after specific activities, having a system that is always ready when you are is critical for keeping your ice bath routine!

❌ Inflatable tubs can work, but you either need to constantly be buying ice or have a dedicated freezer that you re-fill for every use. They can also be very hard to keep clean/sanitized. The inflatables with chilling & filtration systems are a bit better, but they’re overpriced, ugly and almost always made of inferior materials. ❌ Also, most cold tub systems in the USA & Canada are actually illegal products, as they have not met the required safety & electrical standards that these countries require. Make sure any system (tub + chiller) you buy is certified by a recognized organization like UL or CSA (not CE - this is for Europe). Otherwise, you’re seriously risking the safety of whoever takes the plunge.

Luxury Cedar Cold Plunge for Home
Luxury Cedar Cold Plunge for Home

For these reasons, we suggest using a Premium cold tub system by Canuck Cold. They make keeping your cold plunge routine easy, by maintaining a constant ideal temperature & filtering water for optimal sanitation. Plus they’re a heck of a lot nicer than the alternatives!

To summarize, ideal cold water immersion frequency, length & Temperature are:

11+ minutes | Weekly Immersion Target Time

2 - 5+ | Weekly Sessions

2 - 10 minutes | Time per Session

60°F/15°C | Ideal Temperature (Beginner)

34°-50°F/1°-10°C | Lowest Temperature (Expert)

So, fellow bio-hackers and health enthusiasts, there it is! Embrace the chill, seize your health and fitness goals, and let Canuck Cold's Ice Bath Systems simplify your cold water immersion routine. Let the rejuvenation begin and elevate your well-being like never before!

woman in Ice bath at resort/hotel/retreat


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