The difference between a cold shower and an ice bath

Lady in Brass Monkey ice bath

Cold showers are a great entry point when you’re starting your cold water immersion journey. Most people have access to a shower and you can easily play with the temperature and length of your cold exposure. 

Can I get the same benefits from a cold shower as an ice bath?

If the water is cold enough and you stay under the flow for long enough, it can go some way to providing many of the same benefits. When you’re building your practice, aim to take the water as cold as it can possibly go and stay under the flow for 2 to 5 minutes. 

Remember you can start warm and take the temperature down gradually until it gets very uncomfortable. There’s no need to give yourself an extra barrier of walking straight into a freezing shower from your cosy bed. When the water is cold enough to take you to your current limit, then start your timer. 

Progressing from a cold shower to a cold water bath

When you’re reaching this time consistently and feel great with no repercussions (shivering or vascular issues) then try in a cold bath. 

If you’re starting your immersion by filling your household bathtub with water and domestic ice cubes (from a bag in your freezer), it’s a good idea to get a floating thermometer. Your body will start to heat the water the moment you step in, so if you’re interested in seeing your progress, a thermometer will help you keep track and how much ice you need to take it to the next step. 

Cold water is four times stronger than cold air at extracting heat, so start the water in your bath a little ‘warmer’ at 5°C or a little warmer. Try a minute or two at this temperature and see how you feel. Next, start experimenting with the length of the dip and the temperature of the water. 

A Brass Monkey Ice Bath can reach temperatures as low as 0.2 °C so you have a much greater control over your temperature and the way the water has contact with your skin. 

So what’s the difference?

The difference lies in the experience. In a shower, the water is primarily hitting a couple of areas of the body, whereas the bath provides a full immersion experience. The best thing to do is to mix it up, try both and explore what works best for you.

Whatever your method, getting your cold on is unequivocally good for you, and we’re here to support your journey with advice and information to help guide you on your way.