Not so-cold truth: Ice Baths

Ditch the coffee every morning and tap into natural ways of increasing energy


Jack Lucania

Ice baths have been proven to have significant health benefits.

Jack Lucania, Staff Writer

Your eyes shoot awake as you hear the buzzing sounds of an iPhone sitting across the room. Of course, there’s no way to stop the annoying, repetitive earworm without having to get up, walk over, and turn it off yourself. 

After clicking the yellow disarm button, the screen illuminates, and the clock reads 6:00. As you navigate through the darkness to your bathroom, you stand in front of the mirror, hands on the countertop beneath, contemplating whether or not you should just go back to the comfort of your bed.

The last thing in the world you want to do right now is sit in a tub of ice-cold water. 

As awful as it may sound, this is how I’ve spent my morning every day for a month now. Some people think I’m crazy, others are just confused as to why I would put myself through something like this. However, there is a reason why the thing I dreaded every morning became the thing I looked forward to most.

I’m no stranger to self-improvement. When I was 14, I started working out on my own, and since then, a lot has changed in my life. Thanks to Covid, all the days I spent on video games and scrolling through apps such as TikTok left me extremely bored, unmotivated, and looking for something more in my life. 

I realized I needed to pay closer attention to my mental health and set real goals to accomplish real things in the real world.

To be sure I had enough sleep to recover from going to the gym and sports, I stuck to a strict schedule of sleeping from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily. 

This worked for a couple of weeks, but soon I was lying awake in bed at night for another 30 minutes to an hour. Combined with the morning rush to get to school for my early bird classes, I decided it was time for a change. 

It was around this time that I began discovering the benefits of various types of cold and hot therapy (Sauna, ice bath, cold shower, steam room, etc.). 

As someone with circulatory issues when it comes to the cold, I knew I wouldn’t be consistent if I didn’t make it part of my routine. I decided to change my alarm to 6 a.m. so I could actually get to school on time, as well as start my day off on a better note. This big shift helped me to start taking ice baths since I found it difficult for small routine changes to stick. 

It’s been a little over a month now, and I take 10-minute ice baths every morning. These are some of the significant changes I’ve noticed:

Huge boost in mood

Ditch the coffee every morning and tap into natural ways of increasing energy. A common misconception is that coffee is a source of energy when in reality, it just blocks the brain’s ability to feel tired.

This is why people who drink coffee when they wake up feel a mid-day crash since all of these signals telling the brain that it’s getting tired have built up so that when the caffeine wears off, your body feels the crash all at once.

Ice baths have been proven to cause boosts in dopamine, adrenaline, and epinephrine for up to 3 hours. This leaves the mind and body feeling refreshed, energized, and motivated to handle whatever comes your way. 

Mental toughness

Discipline is often lacking amongst younger generations such as mine, so it’s never been more important to detach from the digital world and put your energy into something beneficial. 

When we give in to temptations in the form of checking our phones or scrolling through TikTok, we reward our brain whenever it asks. In order to live a happier and more productive life, people must learn how to delay gratification and reward themselves when they really deserve it. 

Higher tolerance of low temperatures

Of course, this would be an effect of sitting in tubs of ice regularly, but I didn’t know the extent to which it helps until I tried it myself. After getting used to colder temperatures, I found myself much more comfortable being outside in the freezing Illinois winter. 

Reduced inflammation and healthier skin

For anyone who struggles with acne, ice baths may be the missing key to clear and healthy skin. Although acne does not bother me, I know many others struggle with treating and preventing acne.

One unintended benefit I noticed after taking ice baths is that my acne and general skin irritation decreased by a noticeable amount. Just like the muscles of your body, your skin is an organ as well, so using cold therapy to aid in recovery from injuries has a similar effect on your skin’s health. 

Of course, ice baths are something that helped me in my life, but it’s not for everyone. No matter what it is, I believe everyone should find their “ice baths.” 

Courtesy of Jack Hirschfield

Find something good for you that you really don’t want to do, whether it’s going for a jog, starting a diet, studying more, or a combination of them all. Devote yourself to sticking to it every single day for one month. The first couple of days are easy, but the real tests start around day three. 

Don’t tell anyone about what you’re doing either, this gives your mind the same feeling of accomplishment before you’ve actually accomplished anything. You’ll hit more walls along the way, but that’s what your mind does when presented with a challenge. Once you get used to taking control of your mind, breaking the walls in life becomes like second nature.

Whenever I think about giving up, I always think back to these words: 

Life isn’t about what you don’t do, it’s about what you do when you don’t want to do it.