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March 16, 2023
6 Reasons Why Celebs Like Madonna & Lady Gaga Do Ice Baths Regularly
Ice baths may be popular among celebrities right now, but this trend is nothing new. Humans have been relying on cold water therapy in some form or another since at least Ancient Greece (1). In the 1700s, Scottish physician William Cullen became one of the first experts to popularize cold “shower baths,” and the ritual has held steady since then (2).
“It’s fantastic for your immune system because it’s improving your body’s ability to handle stress,” he told WTVR News in Richmond. “In our modern world we like everything nice and comfortable, between 66 degrees to 75 degrees,” he explained on the broadcast. “But our native ancestors would expose themselves to extreme temperatures...So we’ve lost a lot of resiliency. In doing so, it’s negatively impacted our immune system. So you can use cold water immersion to actually improve that. Just like you go to the gym to get stronger muscles, you can do the same thing with your immune system” (3, 4).
Ready to try it for yourself? In this blog, you’ll learn the 6 potential benefits of ice baths, tips for ice bathing, and why celebs like Madonna and Lady Gaga can’t get enough of them.
6 Potential Benefits of Ice Bathing
The benefits of ice bathing are in constant debate, but there’s one thing we know for sure: thousands of people find them mood-boosting, pain-reducing, and rejuvenating. Here are 6 health benefits you can look forward to…
Some experts believe that ice baths can help you live longer. With its effects on pain, immunity, and more, it’s easy to see why!
2. Could Reduce Inflammation
Experts have differing theories surrounding cold water’s effects on inflammation. Some believe that it helps lower the intensity of your body’s inflammatory response after exercise. Chronic inflammation is linked to several dangerous health conditions, so it’s ideal to avoid it whenever possible (5).
3. May Boost Your Immune System
Chilly water may help stimulate the immune system, which could potentially boost your ability to ward off illness. One study found that cold water therapy may help build a better response to stress over time, which could in turn help with immunity (6). Other studies have indicated that cold therapy may build up anti-tumor immunity over the course of several weeks or months.
4. Could Improve Your Mood
Research has found that cold water swimming may help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety (7). Other research has found that cold showers could have a similar effect (8). Because cold water is so invigorating and can ease pain, it’s hard not to feel more present—and potentially more joyful—after spending some time in an ice bath. One study even indicated that cold water baths could increase dopamine in the blood by as much as 250%, and the effect can last for hours (9)!
5. Soothes Muscle Soreness
Athletes who take ice baths have been found to experience less muscle soreness. Studies have indicated that ten minutes in cold water after intense exercise can help soothe aches later on (10, 11). This is because the cold temperatures cause your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow to injuries or muscles that have just worked themselves. This helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.
6. Could Speed Up Your Metabolism
A Few Tips for Ice Bathing
If you’re ready to join the ranks of the ice bathers, here’s what you need to know to get started. The most important thing is to ease yourself into it and start slow.
How cold is too cold?
An ice bath should be 50-59°F (or 10–15°C) (14). Any colder than that could be unsafe unless your doctor has given a go-ahead. You should also limit your time in the ice bath to 10 to 15 minutes. (If you’re trying an ice bath for the very first time, start with 1 to 3 minutes and gradually increase from there.) Use a thermometer to make sure your water is at the right temperature.
Can I just take a cold shower?
A cold shower may not be as cold as an ice bath, but it can still have health benefits. Some pros suggest warm-to-cold showers: start out showering in warm water and gradually lower the temperature over the course of a few minutes. However, if you’re jumping into the shower straight after a workout, you may want to skip the warm water and go straight for the cold.
Is it safe for people of all ages?
Parents should get the approval of a health professional before giving their kids an ice bath. Regardless of your age, ice baths do come with risks for people with certain health conditions or who take certain medications. Sudden temperature change is not safe for everyone. Remember, cold water constricts blood vessels. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, circulation issues, venous stasis, peripheral neuropathy, or cold agglutinin disease, do not take an ice bath before clearing it with your doctor. If you take any medications that may pose a problem, check with a pro about that too.
If you want to take an ice bath to soothe an injury, make sure that it is a minor one. Deeper injuries with underlying issues, like torn tendons, won’t get any better with ice baths, and their healing may even be delayed.
When in doubt, ask your doctor. It’s always better to make sure you’re being safe.
How do I get started?
First, fill up your tub (with cold water) to thigh level. Gather about a pound of ice cubes. Add a small amount at first, then slowly add more as you adjust to the temperature. You can start by just immersing your feet and calves, then build up to immersing up to your chest.
Do not stay in the ice bath for longer than 15 minutes. When you’re just getting started, don’t worry about sticking it out for too long—just stay immersed as long as you can, and know that next time you’ll be able to make it even longer!
After your ice bath, let your body warm back up at room temperature. If you still can’t get warm again after several minutes, take a shower with warm water.
11 Celebrities Who Love Ice Baths
These stars rely on regular ice baths for health and healing…
1. Katharine Hepburn
As a little girl, Katharine Hepburn used to start each morning with a chilly swim in the Long Island Sound. When she got older, she turned to cold showers, which she is said to have described as “exhilarating”!
2. Miranda Kerr
The model told Beauticuate that she loves cold showers. “It feels so invigorating and is so good for your scalp and your face, it really wakes you up. I even do it in winter I just have to make sure my clothes are ready for when I get out.”
3. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga’s post-show wellness routine involves a 5-10 minutes ice bath, followed by a hot bath, then a compression suit full of ice packs.
Madonna also loves a post-show ice bath dip, especially to help soothe aches and injuries.
5. Kim Kardashian
Kim was recently spotted in an ice bath at Remedy Place, a wellness center that encourages a “six-minute challenge” where you fully immerse yourself into their top-of-the-line plunge tubs.
6. Wim Hof
Known as the Ice Man, Dutch athlete Wim Hof helped bring ice baths to international fame. Hof has broken world records for prolonged body contact with ice and even swimming under ice. He regularly enjoys ice baths and teaches others to improve their endurance through his Wim Hof Method.
7. Ashley Tisdale
In early 2020, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak converted a chest freezer in his backyard into an on-the-fly ice bath. He introduced several of his celebrity clients to cold plungings, including Ashley Tisdale, who has since become a fan of the ritual.
Lizzo is a fellow client of Pasternak. When he introduced her to ice baths, she loved them so much that she bought her own plunging tub! She often mentions her regular ice bath ritual on social media.
9. Brad Falchuk
Gwyneth Paltrow’s husband, Brad Falchuk, has a cold plunge tub in their home spa. “Brad is an obsessive cold plunger,” she told Architectural Digest.
10. Andrew Huberman
Neuroscientist and thought leader Andrew Huberman regularly recommends ice baths to his followers as a way to sharpen their focus and improve mood.
11. Chris Hemsworth
Hemsworth regularly shares that he likes to take ice baths after workouts. Sometimes he skips the bath altogether and just spends some time in the snow!
The Bottom Line
Ice baths are a great way to boost your mood, metabolism, and more. They’re not for everyone, so talk to your doctor before taking the plunge. If they give you the okay, take a 10-15 minute dip in 50-59°F water.
I’m curious…has this blog post convinced you to try ice bathing? Drop a comment below letting us know.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.