The Hot Craze About Ice Dips
Social media is a treasure for wellness trends, and the latest fad that’s catching the fancy of celebrities is the ice bath or cold plunging baths. A notable list of enthusiasts, including Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, and Madonna, have openly embraced the invigorating experience of cold water immersion. Whereas, Bollywood actors like Vidyut Jammwal and Kartik Aaryan publicly acknowledged their affinity for cold plunges in extremely cold environments, contributing to the growing popularity of this wellness trend. As celebrities share their experiences and tout the benefits of cold plunges, the trend continues to gain momentum.
Beyond the glitzy celebrity craze is a foundation of scientifically backed benefits that support the appeal of bone-chilling practice. Kate Middleton’s commitment to this practice aligns with research suggesting that cold exposure can lead to a reduction in anxiety levels. Additionally, the habit has been associated with aiding in the fight against symptoms of depression, providing a potential natural remedy for mental well-being. On social media, one can see athletes, celebrities, and fitness influencers taking a cold immersion in lakes or pools, or taking an ice face dip first thing in the morning to share their experiences.
Cold plunges are trending right now and are all over the internet, remarks celebrity wellness expert Blossom Kochhar, founder of Blossom Kochhar Aroma Magic. Mentioning the effects of this interesting practice, she explains, “It has a positive effect on the skin as cold water can constrict blood vessels and decrease inflammation, which can give the skin a temporarily more radiant appearance. I think it is fine to go for cold plunges if your body allows it. There is no harm in doing cold plunges or ice dip until and unless you have any heart disease, high blood pressure, or are pregnant.”
Adding a word of caution, she says, “The most important thing one should do before going for a cold plunge is listening to your body. Start with short periods (one to two minutes) and gradually increase as your body adapts to the cold. It will take time for your body to adapt but in case you feel cold or you start shivering it is advised that you come out of cold water and make yourself warm enough so that you don’t fall ill.”
One of the notable advantages of cold plunges is their positive impact on the immune system, a benefit that resonates with health-conscious celebrities. Exposure to cold water is believed to stimulate the body's defense mechanisms, potentially contributing to a strengthened immune response. According to Dr Rahul Agrawal, Sr. Consultant, General Medicine at CARE Hospitals, HITEC City Hyderabad, “Cold plunging, also known as cold exposure or cold therapy, has gained popularity as a wellness trend involving brief exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Believed to offer benefits like enhanced circulation and reduced muscle soreness, it has become a home practice for many. If attempting cold plunging at home start with it gradually by acclimating the body to shorter durations and less extreme temperatures. Ensure a safe environment, use appropriate equipment, and have someone nearby for assistance. Monitoring your body’s signals is crucial; if discomfort arises, exit the cold plunge promptly. Stay hydrated, practice controlled breathing, and follow with a warm-up using layers of clothing and beverages.”
Tread With Caution
Ideal conditions involve a controlled environment, starting with milder temperatures, and gradually increasing exposure duration. Pay attention to your body. Dr Shradha Malik, founder of Athena Behavourial health, recommends cold plunges at home by immersing oneself in cold water for reduced anxiety and an enhanced immune system. She says, “To try it at home, it is recommended to start with short durations and then gradually increase. As a wellness expert, I appreciate its potential, given its scientifically-backed advantages, but also I would caution beginners to ease into it. Cold plunges are generally safe, but precautions are essential. Do start slowly, avoiding prolonged exposure, especially for those with health concerns. Frequency depends on tolerance, but 2-3 times weekly is common. Always enter warm, hydrate well, and never plunge alone. If pregnant or dealing with any sort of heart condition, one must consult a healthcare professional. Moderation and awareness are important for a safe and beneficial experience.”
DIY Ice Bath
Unlike any expensive treatment, this one doesn’t need a fancy setup to enjoy the benefits of cold water immersion.
A simple DIY ice bath can be created by adding ice cubes to a bathtub filled with cold water. Just be sure to monitor the time and temperature to avoid overexposure. In terms of safety, take proper precautions with breathing techniques and monitor your body’s response. Avoid overdoing it, especially if new to cold exposure. Never force yourself and, if possible, have someone nearby for assistance.
The frequency of cold plunging varies individually, with some incorporating it a few times a week. Cold plunges and ice baths are more than just a chilly thrill – they offer a spectrum of potential health benefits, from improved recovery to enhanced mood.
ICE, ICE, BABY
• Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Vidyut Jammwal and Kartik Aaryan publicly acknowledge their affinity for cold plunges
• Some health benefits of ice baths include reduced anxiety, enhanced immune system, lesser muscle soreness, reduced inflammation, radiant skin