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If you’ve ever heard of someone taking an ice bath, you’re likely picturing an athlete or health enthusiast. You’re not wrong to think of ice baths as something that is exclusively practiced by fitness aficionados; as ice baths are most well-known for assisting muscle recovery. However, taking an ice bath is something that anyone can practice for a wide range of health benefits – whether you’re a cross trainer, or you’re someone that wants to practice contrast therapy.

So, what are the benefits of taking an ice bath? Within this article, Rimba Sweat are here to provide a detailed guide to iced bathing, and how you can implement ice baths or contrast therapy into your self-care routine.

Table of Contents

  • What is an ice bath?
  • What are the benefits of an ice bath?
  • What are the benefits of an ice bath after sauna?


What is an ice bath?

An ice bath is exactly what it sounds like – a bath full of icy cold water! Ice baths are a type of cold-water therapy in which people submerge their body in ice and cold water (around 10 – 15 degrees Celsius). An ice bath usually lasts between 5 and 15 minutes and is primarily used as a recovery procedure after physical activity or a sauna as part of contrast therapy.

What are the benefits of an ice bath?

1. Reduced Inflammation

Ice baths have been proven to modulate the inflammatory response in muscles which can reduce the production and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). This blunted response was found to effectively reduce muscle inflammation and swelling.

Ice baths are also believed to limit the inflammatory response by constricting blood vessels which can, in turn, reduce the onset of soreness and muscle pain. One research paper published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2012 found that cold water immersion can reduce muscle soreness by 20% compared to passive recovery

2. Improved Recovery Time

Ice baths are a trusted recovery tool for some of Australia’s top athletes and sports team. From the traditional morning trip to the beach post-match, to the more sophisticated hot-and-cold plunge pool setups enjoyed by top AFL and NRL teams.

Exercise and hard efforts through sports and exercise create micro-tears in the muscle which cause the inflammatory response. Ice baths have been proven to reduce the inflammatory response which can effectively delay and reduce the onset of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) allowing athletes to reduce the time between sessions and ‘back-up’ faster between hard efforts.

3. Increased Circulation

Ice baths have been shown to enhance circulation, a beneficial side effect. Research featured in the Journal of Physiology, focusing on the impact of cold-water immersion and contrast water therapy on recovery from team sports, revealed that immersing in cold water boosts blood flow to muscles. This effect is observed both immediately and in the post-exercise period, aiding in more effective recovery.

4. Mental Health Benefits

Ice baths have been enjoying a bit of a moment in 2023 with the strong correlation between positive mental health improvements and overall well-being. Ice baths can be effective stress relievers and can help to facilitate the release of endorphins, promote mental clarify, and mindfulness practices which contribute to stress reduction, improved mood, and greater clarity.

Many of the individuals who regularly practice ice baths report that improved mental health is the most important by-product of ice baths and the number one reason for practicing immersion therapy.

5. Pain Relief

Pain relief as a by-product of ice baths is closely correlated to the reduction of inflammation and muscle soreness. Research papers on the pain relief aspect of ice bath therapy is less publicised as the improved recovery time and reduced inflammation tend to take centre stage.

6. Improved Immune System Function

A 2018 study into the effects of ice baths on immunology found that ice baths could increase the production of white blood cells which are key to fighting infection in the body. The same studies have found that ice baths improve overall immune function and can be effective in reducing the severity of upper respiratory tract infections in otherwise healthy adults. For serious health issues, it’s always best to consult with your medical professional before adding ice-cold therapy or immersion therapy to your routine.


  • Bleakley, C., McDonough, S., Gardner, E., Baxter, G. D., Hopkins, J. T., & Davison, G. W. (2012). Cold‐water immersion (cryotherapy) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  • Higgins, T. R., Greene, D. A., & Baker, M. K. (2017). Effects of Cold Water Immersion and Contrast Water Therapy for Recovery From Team Sport: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31(5), 1443-1460.
Benefits of Ice Baths

What are the benefits of an ice bath after a sauna?

Ever heard of contrast therapy? It’s essentially the practice of going from hot to cold temperatures to generate a wealth of health benefits for your mind and body.

If you’re a loyal client of Rimba Sweat, you likely know that we integrate ice baths into our contrast therapy practice at our Neutral Bay studio.

Taking a dip into ice-cold water saunas is a fantastic way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Here are three of the many benefits of ice baths after a sauna:

1. Increased Metabolism: The metabolism describes the rate at which a body burns calories, even when you’re not exercising. When practiced regularly, the intense fluctuating temperatures caused by contrasting saunas and ice water stimulate the metabolism of calories in the body.

2. Improved Adaptability: Taking an ice bath after sauna allows your body to train and adapt from hot to cold conditions and reverse. This makes your body more comfortable when going from one extreme environment to another. 

3. Improved Stress Level: An ice bath after a sauna helps to reduce physical and mental stress. The extreme temperature difference can help your body to relax, as it cools the body down from the intense heat of a sauna in cold water. This provides you with a sense of relaxation after every session.

Benefits of Ice Baths after Sauna

Ice baths with Rimba Sweat

Surrender to both the intense warmth and profound cold in our newest contrast therapy offering, The Remedy Room. Our large communal contrast therapy room is complete with a custom made Finnish traditional sauna, two ice baths, and a pail shower.

Each session includes up to 1 hour of recovery, and can be booked individually or if you’re feeling social you can book this room for a group of up to 4 people at one time. Please note, unlike our private infrared sauna suites, the Remedy Room is a communal space.

Are you ready to experience the wonders of contrast therapy with Rimba Sweat? Book a session online now, or call us at (02) 8959 0672.