As a wellness trend cold water therapy isn’t new, but a raft of endorsements – from Lewis Hamilton, Rita Ora, Madonna, Kate Winslet, The Princess of Wales and many more – is helping to keep ice baths trending on social media and in wellness circles.
Many custom-made baths cost around £5,000, and as a result we’ve seen hacks to transform chest freezers into backyard baths for those who can’t afford to splash out.
Gavin Teague, co-founder of Lumitherapy, decided there was another way to bring cold water therapy to the masses, without the hefty price tag.
‘I wanted to have my own ice bath at home and when I looked on the market the price point of baths was just not accessible for me and many others’, he tells us. ‘My goal is to introduce as many people to cold water therapy as possible and for them to reap the benefits!’
Cold water therapy involves immersing yourself in water below 15ºC – whether in a river, the sea, an ice bath or simply a cold shower.
With an ice bath it’s easy to set the temperature and immerse the body, or parts of the body, in ice-cold water for a very specific period – no longer than 15 minutes.
There are some people who should avoid ice baths for health-related reasons, so please do your homework.
Advocates of ice baths – and of cold water therapy more generally – list improved sleep, lowered anxiety, reduced muscle soreness, lowered inflammation and a natural boost in dopamine as just some of the perceived benefits.
More research is required to establish the mechanisms, optimal protocols and long-term effects of cold water therapy, but one thing is for certain: ice baths build mental resilience to help us deal with the other challenges life throws at us.
You can keep cold water therapy as an isolated wellness practice or, as is suggested by the popular Wim Hof method, combine it with breathwork and meditation, focusing on the mind-body connection to enhance integration of physical and mental wellbeing.
While Wim Hof is bringing awareness of cold water therapy to the masses, Gavin is following up with an affordable range of ice baths – starting at under £100 – that are available to everyone. His top seller is the portable ice bath.
Ice baths need to be emptied every week or two, and should ideally be used in the garden to avoid waste. ‘Simply rinse, refill and you’re ready to go again!’, Gavin says – and the whole process should be as stress-free as the price tag.