Cleansing Daily Rituals Healing Intentions Lifestyle

Home Ice Baths: What are the Health and Spiritual Benefits?

I feel like everywhere I turn someone is talking about ice baths. How they’re so good for your body and mind. So I decided to explore this concept a bit and found there are quite a few health and spiritual benefits to ice baths. And if you decide to try it out for yourself, you don’t have to travel to Norway or Iceland to participate. You can make your own home ice bath. We’ll teach you how here.

First, What is an Ice Bath?

Let’s first answer the question, what is an ice bath? Well, the answer is simple. It’s a freezing cold bath with ice. Ice baths are not a new concept, but the trend of taking ice baths in the fitness and spiritual communities has snowballed in recent years (pun intended). More on ice baths in pop culture later. Ice baths are said to have numerous health benefits, as well as spiritual benefits, and are a part of many athletes’ daily routines. Other names for this therapy include cold water therapy, cryotherapy, and cold immersion therapy.

Ice baths are just one form of CWT (cold water therapy) and is a cousin to cold water swimming and cold showers. The difference is the home ice bath is taken in the comfort of one’s own home and includes ice. Cold water swimming is in open water and may or may not include ice. And cold showers are simply cold showers.

Ice Bath and CWT Origins

According to National Library of Medicine, cold therapy has been used since ancient times by the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians. We have documented evidence of it via the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus dating to 3500 BCE (approximately). In 400 BCE, Hippocrates documented the benefits of the ice in medicine to stop bleeding and to bring down fevers.

If we look at traditional Chinese medicine, we see the concept of hot and cold and yin and yang energies, respectively. The idea there is that everything can relate to cold or hot including people’s bodies, diseases, herbs, medicines, etc. So, if someone’s body is “hot” which might relate to inflammation or infection, it would require something “cold” to cool it down and relieve symptoms.

Going beyond the physical and medicinal concepts of ice baths, let’s explore the spiritual properties of ice. First, ice is cold. Freezing cold. It’s solidified water and can be creative and destructive all at once. When it hails or sleets, the ground and everything is covered in ice and therefore things are destroyed. Yet underneath the icy destruction, things are also being cleansed and nourished with water. So…there is also creation. In the Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees by James Mooney, we see just how important bathing during sacred ceremony was to the Cherokee tribe. Even if they were forced to break through ice to get to the water.

Ice Baths in the Mainstream

Apparently, ice immersion therapy gained popularity around 2018 when investigative journalist Scott Carney did an expose on the “Iceman” Wim Hof. The Iceman is a Dutch athlete who crafted his own means of immersion therapy along with breathwork to create physical and mental resilience. Hof even claimed his ice bath therapy could heal certain diseases by boosting the immune system. Some of the science behind cryotherapy, in this case, has to do with training the body to identify and then suppress fight-fright-flight responses in order to build up resilience in conditions like extreme cold.

Famous podcaster comedian Joe Rogan talks about the physical and mental benefits of ice baths often on his show. He even posts selfies following his routine ice baths. In this video, Rogan talks to Gordon Ryan about his experience with cold water therapy. Ryan claims he doesn’t necessarily feel better physically immediately after, but always feels sharper mentally for at least 24 hours following an ice bath. And that it also depends on how cold the water is and how long you stay in the water. But Joe Rogan and Gordon Ryan aren’t the only celebrities that got on the ice bath train. Here’s a few others:

  • Lady Gaga
  • Lizzo
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Harry Styles
  • Madonna
  • Joe Rogan
  • Gordon Ryan
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Usain Bolt
  • Andy Murray
  • Naomi Osaka

WARNING: speak to a licensed/qualified healthcare provider before trying a home ice bath if you have preexisting conditions.

Physical Health Benefits of Home Ice Baths

The physical health benefits of home ice baths are many. In addition to boosting one’s immunities, reducing inflammation in the body, weight loss, increasing one’s libido, and much more. Two things happen when we take home ice baths: one, our blood vessels constrict and cause less blood flow to muscles in the body. And two, it triggers a neurological response of endorphin excretion. When it comes to inflammation in the body, inflammation is a natural part of the healing process. HOWEVER, when inflammation is chronic it can cause pain and disease rather than be beneficial. So, to reduce inflammation in the body may relieve and even cure illness, in some cases.

According to the National Library of Medicine, there are studies that prove the physical benefits of home ice baths and cryotherapy overall. “One hypothesis proposes that a lifestyle without certain physiological stressors may cause inadequate functioning of the brain and lead to mental health problems, such as depression. The known increases in plasma noradrenaline, beta-endorphin and synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain due to stress induced by CWI, may therefore have a positive effect on mental health and brain development.”

Therefore, the following health benefits of home ice baths are a real possibility for those who are in the physical condition and voluntarily take up the practice:

  • Boosts the immune system
  • Reduces inflammation
  • For athletes and after intense work-outs, relieves and prevents sore muscles
  • Reduces stress and relieves symptoms of depression
  • Increases metabolic rate and therefore supports healthy weight loss
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • May protect against or prevent neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimers
  • Supports a healthy thyroid and thyroid hormone levels
  • One study shoes cold immersion therapy like ice baths may reduce insulin concentrations and increased insulin sensitivity, meaning it improves metabolism and the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels
  • May reduce pain or increase pain tolerance over time (3 months+)

Spiritual Benefits to Home Ice Baths

Ice is a powerful manifestation of the water element. And if you choose to take a home ice bath or engage in some form of CWT, you’ll reap ice bath spiritual benefits, as well as the physical. The spiritual benefits of home ice baths include:

  • Purification (it cleanses the body, mind, AND aura)
  • Focus and concentration
  • Reminds us of our primality (of survival and self preservation)
  • Home ice baths cool off a “hot” mind or attitude (if you’ve been feeling particularly angry)
  • Gives us an abrupt pause and forces us to self reflect and become self aware
  • Connects our minds to our bodies when we feel disconnected
  • Ice is binding when used in magical practice and therefore can be used to bind oneself from harm of any kind or prevent from partaking in toxic habits
  • Connects us to our Northern ancestors and to the rune ISA
  • It can serve as a different kind of ritual bath with more intense purpose

How to Make and Take a Home Ice Bath

You don’t need much to create your own home ice bath. You’ll need a clean tub, running cold water, and ten to fifteen pounds of ice. You can purchase the ice or use what you have from your own freezer or ice maker. A thermometer is helpful if you want to bring your ice bath to a certain temperature. Typically you’ll be able to bring your home ice bath down to the 50s or 60s Fahrenheit. If you want it colder, consider seeking out a local business that offers ice baths as a service.

What you’ll need:

  • Bathtub
  • Cold water
  • Ice: ten to fifteen pounds

What to do:

  1. Fill your tub about halfway with cold water.
  2. Pour your ice into the tub.
  3. If this is your first time, slowly enter the tub. I like to dip my feet in first, then sit slowly in, then submerge my body entirely over a period of a few minutes. As you do this, try to stay calm and breathe slowly. The key is to try to relax through the discomfort.
  4. Stay in the bath as long as you can tolerate. Up to five minutes is great for your first time.
  5. Don’t stay in an ice bath longer than ten minutes.
  6. Emerge and record your experience to compare with future ice baths.

How to Make and Take a Home Ice Bath (but Make it Spiritual)

Taking a home ice bath with additional spiritual benefits is as simple as following the rules above PLUS adding a few other ingredients and mindfulness:

  • Bathtub
  • Cold water
  • Ice: Ten to fifteen pounds
  • Herbs: lavender, rose petals, chamomile, jasmine, calendula, etc. (consider choosing herbs that align with your intentions for the bath)
  • Muslin bag or sachet
  • NOTE: If you don’t have herbs and a bag, you can also use ten drops of essential oils instead

What to do:

  1. Draw your bath halfway with cold water.
  2. Pour your ice into the tub. With your finger, draw the rune ISA in the air above your home ice bath OR directly into the water.
  3. Add your herbs to your muslin bag/sachet and drop into the tub.
  4. State your intentions for the bath 3 times.
  5. Slowly lower yourself into the bath until your body is submerged. Breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly. Focus on your intentions rather than the seering cold of the water.
  6. This ritual will test your ability to focus your energy. But even when you can only focus on the cold, visualize your energy (shivering, teeth chattering, etc.) being directed towards your goal.
  7. Stay in up to ten minutes then emerge and record your experience and results after.
Home ice baths: health and spiritual benefits and tutorial

1 Comment

  1. Erica

    August 7, 2023 at 8:08 am

    Great info! I’ve never tried an ice bath at home. I have, however, jumped in a cold lake in the middle of March.

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