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Cold Water Therapy: How to Start Outdoor Ice Bath UK - bodybud

Cold Water Therapy: How to Start Outdoor Ice Bath UK

The idea of cold therapy is pretty exciting to us, as we are passionate about boosting our well-being with science. Trying cold therapy is easier than you might think. You probably have everything you need to give it a shot right now. Sounds chilling, right? Well, it turns out that it has some pretty cool benefits.

First of all, it gives energy to the tiny powerhouses inside your cells, called mitochondria. It's also great at fighting inflammation, helping you sleep better, stay focused, keep your immune system in top shape, and many more!

So, in this post, we'll teach you how to start cold water therapy and ease into it safely, choose the right method, and share the secrets of staying cool, literally! 

man swimming in spring

What Is Cold Water Therapy?

Cold water therapy, in simple terms, is a wellness practice that involves exposing your body to cold water. It's not a modern trend; people have been doing it for centuries. Think of it as a chilly spa day for your whole body.

Preparing for Cold Water Therapy

Safety is always first, so before taking the plunge into cold water therapy, it's essential to prioritise safety. Even though it's generally safe for most people, it's wise to take precautions:

  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: If you have underlying medical conditions or concerns, talk to a healthcare provider before starting cold water therapy. They can offer personalised advice based on your health.
  • Know Your Limits: Don't push yourself too hard, especially in the beginning. Start slowly and gradually increase exposure as your body adapts. Everyone's tolerance to cold is different, so listen to your body.
  • Buddy System: It’s always better to start cold water therapy with a buddy. Having someone with you can provide support and assistance if needed.

Mental Preparation

Cold water therapy isn't just about the physical; it's a mental challenge too. Follow these tips to help you mentally prepare for that initial shock:

  • Positive Mindset: Approach cold water therapy with a positive attitude. Remind yourself of the numerous benefits you're about to experience.
  • Breathing Techniques: Controlled breathing can help you stay calm in the cold. Practice deep and slow breaths, even before you step into the water.
  • Start Slowly: Begin with shorter exposure times to get used to the sensation. Over time, you can gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
  • Try Visualisation: Visualise a positive experience in the cold water. Picture yourself feeling invigorated and refreshed.
  • Mindfulness: Stay in the moment. Focus on the sensations you're experiencing rather than dwelling on discomfort.
  • Warm-Up Exercises: Doing some light warm-up exercises before your cold exposure can help prepare your body and mind.

topless woman with black and white plaid scarf

Remember, the initial shock of cold water can be intense, but it's temporary. With the right mental preparation and safety measures, you'll be well on your way to reaping the benefits of cold water therapy.

Starting Your Cold Water Therapy

Starting your cold water therapy journey requires patience and a gradual approach. Here's why it's crucial:

  • Build Tolerance: Your body needs time to adapt to the cold. Begin with short exposures, like a few seconds under a cold shower or a brief dip in cool water. Slowly increase the time as your tolerance improves.
  • Avoid Shock: Sudden, prolonged exposure to cold water can be shocking to your system. Gradual exposure minimises this shock and reduces the risk of negative reactions.

Choose Your Method

Cold water therapy offers various methods to suit your preferences and accessibility. Here are some popular options:

  • Cold Showers: The easiest way to start. Begin with your regular warm shower and gradually switch to cold water for the last 30 seconds to a minute. Increase the cold time over days or weeks.
  • Ice Baths: Fill a tub with cold water and add ice cubes or cold packs to reach your desired temperature. Submerge yourself for a set time, starting with a brief duration.
  • Open Water Swimming: For the adventurous, natural bodies of water like lakes or rivers offer a more immersive experience. Always prioritise safety and consider water temperature and conditions.

Essential Products for Cold Water Therapy

Consider having a Thermometer, Timer, and Wetsuit. A reliable thermometer ensures you're aware of the water's temperature, ensuring your safety and comfort. When you're starting out, a timer will help you keep track of your exposure time and avoid overdoing it. For those looking to explore open-water options, a wetsuit can be a game-changer, providing insulation and protection against the cold. 

Use Your Bathtub, or Get the Right Plunge

To start your cold water therapy, all you need is the right plunge tank to dive into the invigorating world of cold plunges. While you can start with basic options like a home bathtub or a small pool, for a truly enhanced experience, consider some premium products. The iCed42 Cold Plunge Ice Bath and Outdoor Cold Plunge Ice Tub offer superior comfort, durability, and performance. 

While a regular plunge tank or bathtub might serve beginners well, for a unique blend of luxury and functionality, consider our Japanese Soaking Tub Double Wall Antique Copper Bathtub with Seats.

Step-by-Step Guide

Your cold water therapy journey begins with baby steps to acclimate your body:

  • Cold Showers: Start by ending your regular warm shower with a burst of cold water for 30 seconds to a minute. Focus on your breathing and embrace the initial shock; it gets easier with time.

Cold Therapy 2016 Study: A study revealed that those taking 30-90 second cold showers for 90 days called in sick 29% less than those who didn't make the switch.

  • Foot Baths: An excellent introduction. Fill a basin with cold water and immerse your feet for a few minutes. It's a gentler way to begin if the idea of a full-body plunge seems daunting.

As you grow accustomed to the cold, it's time to level up:

  • Cold Shower Progression: Extend your cold shower duration gradually. Add a few seconds each day until you reach 3-5 minutes of cold exposure. Remember, it's not a race; go at your own pace.
  • Start Ice Baths: If you're ready for the next challenge, consider transitioning to ice baths. Start with shorter sessions, perhaps 2-5 minutes, and slowly extend the time as your tolerance improves.

Where Did Cold Therapy Come From & What are the Benefits?

This idea isn't something cooked up in a lab recently. Cold water therapy has ancient roots in cultures around the world. Folks have been plunging into cold rivers, lakes, and even ice baths for ages, believing it brings numerous health benefits.

Why would anyone willingly dip into icy water, you might wonder? Well, cold water therapy can work wonders for your body and mind. Below are some benefits:

  • Improved Circulation: Cold water gives your circulation system a kick-start. It nudges your blood vessels to work better, promoting efficient nutrient and oxygen transport.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Excessive inflammation can be problematic. Cold therapy helps dial it down, potentially easing discomfort and aiding in healing.
  • Boosted Energy: Cold exposure can leave you feeling more awake and alert by activating your body's natural response to cold.
  • Weight Management: Cold water therapy may help lower body fat by increasing the metabolic rate, making it an ally in your weight management journey.
  • Hormone Boost: It can also give hormone levels a nudge in the right direction, potentially improving sexual performance and fertility.
  • Balanced Blood Sugar: Some studies suggest that cold water therapy may help lower blood sugar levels.
  • Curbed Cravings: Cold exposure could help reduce food cravings, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet.
  • Adrenal Function: It may even have a positive impact on adrenal function, helping your body deal with stress more effectively.
  • Thyroid Support: For those with thyroid issues, cold therapy might offer some relief.
  • Enhanced Immunity: Cold water therapy can supercharge your immune system, helping you stay healthy.
  • Better Sleep: It's not just about waking up; it's also about getting quality shut-eye. Cold exposure can improve sleep quality.
  • Increased Pain Tolerance: Cold therapy can raise your pain threshold, making it useful for managing discomfort.

ice bath being filled up

So, in a nutshell, cold water therapy is like a refreshing wake-up call for your body, with some pretty impressive health benefits to boot. It's not as crazy as it sounds, and the rewards can be quite invigorating.


Cold water therapy starts with a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Remember, starting slowly and gradually increasing your cold exposure is key to building tolerance. Start your journey today and make cold water therapy an integral part of your daily routine.

And don’t forget to visit our website at bodybud as we offer a wide range of exceptional products to enhance your cold water therapy journey, ensuring you have the tools you need to achieve your wellness goals. Check out our ice bath guide for more info on the history and science of cold therapy!

Affordable Option

Luxury Option




Please consult with a healthcare practitioner before attempting any protocols or methods described in this blog. They are for informational purposes only. The author and publisher are not responsible for any adverse effects resulting from the use or application of this information.
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