Can you take cold showers instead of ice baths?

Can you take cold showers instead of ice baths?


Many athletes and people who do regular intense training all swear by ice baths, and for good reason too. There are tons of great benefits that come from taking an ice bath. However, not many people want to or can submerge their entire bodies in a bath filled with freezing water and bags of ice for many reasons. It could be that they don’t have the facilities to make and store that much ice or are able to buy it all the time. It could also be that they don’t have a bathtub, in that case, they can visit if they want to purchase one. 

Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of people who wonder if taking an ice cold shower can also do the trick that ice baths do. The short and slightly disappointing answer for many is, no. An ice cold shower will not bring many of the same benefits as an ice bath, though that could depend on why you want to try this form of cold therapy. Icy showers may be refreshing, but they won’t do too well to lower your core temperature, which is needed in cold therapy. In this blog post, we will explain more.

Muscle recovery after working out

Taking a cold shower after having a good workout will be very refreshing and will cool you off for sure. However, if you know your workout will leave your body aching the next day, immersing yourself in cold water will help recover your muscles better. There have been multiple studies done that show how much faster muscle recovers when soaking in an ice bath after it has been damaged by vigorous exercise.

Getting rid of stress

It’s not new news that ice baths are a great way to help your mental health as well as helping your physical health. An ice cold shower can surely help shock your nervous system to relax for a little while, but those effects are not much compared to what you can achieve with an ice bath. A cold shower won’t get your body temperature to drop as low as you need it like an ice bath can. This is important because the lower your temperature drops, the more effective the activation of the nerve that is the most important for your stress levels will be, that nerve is called the vagus nerve. You will, in the end, be a lot more relaxed than you would be after a cold shower.

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