If someone asked you to get into a bath of water at 4 degrees and then told you you'd really like it, at first, you probably wouldn't believe them.
However, if they began to list the benefits of such a practice such as reduced anxiety, decrease in muscles soreness, better quality sleep and boost your immune system, you might think about giving it a go.
Cold Water Immersion Therapy is one of the oldest recovery techniques about, especially in Ireland where we have no shortage of cold water for most of the year.
It has become a huge trend in todays world for the other multiple health benefits it can bring and has been championed none more so than by the 'Ice Man' himself, Wim Hof.
Wim Hof is a Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete known for his ability to withstand ultra cold temperatures through a combination of breathing techniques, yoga, meditation and frequent cold exposure. Breaking it down in simple terms, mind over matter. His method has been shown to help with depression, mood, mental focus, pain management and anxiety.
So while an Ice Bath might sound stressful and cold at first, it can have the opposite effect and leave you feeling focused and in a good mood.
The Wim Hof Method isn't exclusively about jumping into cold water, the breathing techniques play a major role in it too, particularly by helping you stay in the water for longer by regulating your heartbeat.
Aside from Wim Hof and his Method, Ice Baths has been used as a method of sports recovery for years. Im sure you've seen plenty of pictures of your favourite athletes immersed in ice after a particularly tough game or competition.
The name most recently seen praising the benefits of Ice Baths is one of the biggest sports stars in the world and arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Tiger Woods. Tiger raved about the benefits of Ice Baths back in April after completing his first round at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, his first competition since his horror car crash in February 2021. He was 'freezing himself to death' to be able to walk the course and keep the swelling down in his leg which almost had to be amputated following the smash.
At the JP McManus Pro-Am in Adare Manor last week he was seen telling Limerick Hurlers Geared Hegarty and Barry Nash to use Ice Baths and that they are what keeps him going.
With Tigers extensive injury history, which include 4 back surgeries (including a lumbar fusion), to still be even playing golf is impressive but to be doing so still at such a high level is nothing short of a miracle, and he credits regular ice baths for helping him do so.
The benefits of reduced inflammation and decreased muscular soreness are key contributors to him prolonging his golf career but the mental element of pain management, which he probably has a lot to deal with cannot be understated.
So don't be put off by the thoughts of immersing yourself in freezing cold water and come check out the short and long term benefits of Ice Baths at Recovery One.