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Sitting in a pool full of ice cold water might not sound like the most relaxing thing you could do for your body, but you’d be surprised to learn that there are quite a few benefits to doing so. This routine actually goes back all the way to Ancient Greece, through a practice called Thermalism; people would take baths at varying temperatures to help with a host of ailments, from general skin conditions to deep muscle pains.
This has endured well into the present day, with many athletes and physically active people fitting these colder-than-normal baths (I.e. ice baths) into their post-workout routines. You’ve probably also seen similar procedures, such as ice baths or cold spas on TV shows and on social media too, and for good reason: in addition assisting with muscle recovery and helping with physical injuries, there is evidence that suggests a good cold plunge can help relax and improve your mental and emotional state, as well support an increase in energy levels and a greater release of endorphins.
Now while you can try and turn your personal bathtub into your own cold plunge pool (or in some cases, an empty trash can), a personal cold plunge pool could be an easy way to recreate the sense of calm and luxury that you’d associate with a trip to the spa.
How Do Cold Plunge Pools Work?
The key to any effective cold plunge pool or ice bath is rather simple: cold water, specifically below 59 degrees cold.
It’s important that the cold temperature of the water is kept constant to get the intended effect. After submerging yourself, your body responds by closing your pores and ramping up circulation throughout your bloodstream. The cold temperature of the water also numbs the nerves surrounding your joints and muscles, which in turn releases hormones and endorphins, helping to alleviate any physical pain or stress you might be feeling in your body. This is why cold plunge pools are an effective tool for athletes or those who engage in high levels of physical activity.
Are Ice Baths Good for You?
Like everything else in life, moderation and patience are key when it comes to taking the (cold) plunge; think of it as a marathon, not a race. If you’re just starting out, we recommend taking some steps to prepare your body for the sensation of taking an ice bath or using a cold plunge pool; try taking some cold showers or baths to begin, especially if you haven’t done this before.
When you are ready to take the plunge, you’ll need to start small (between two and three minutes) and work your way up to longer sessions. Your ice bath should never exceed 10 minutes, and if you begin to shiver, then it’s time to get out. While it’s important to receive the mental and physical benefits of a cold plunge, you should never ignore your body when it’s attempting to communicate with you. Keep in mind that you should always consult a medical professional before you begin any routine.
The Best Cold Plunge Pools
Below is our list of the best cold plunge pools that are available to buy online right now. All of these top-rated cold plunge pools ship directly to your door and set up in minutes, making it easy to find the best ice bath experience for you.
1. The Cold Plunge
The Cold Plunge Pool puts the ‘L’ in luxury; if you’re looking to recreate the experience of a high-end spa, you can’t do much better than this cold plunge pool.
For starters, it’s 67 inches long and 43 inches wide, meaning there is more than enough room to sit comfortably during your session (though if you’d like even more room, you can invest in the Pro XL model). This pool is designed for both indoor and outdoor use, which makes filling the pool easy; you can even use a garden house with the pool’s hookup to either fill or drain it. The powerful cooling and filtration ensures that your plunge is cold and stays that way throughout; there’s also a UV sanitation system that keeps the water and the tub itself clean.
The Plunge offers a lot of man power, meaning that it needs to be plugged in to an adequate power source. This is also quite a heavy plunge pool, weighing over 1,000 pounds when fully filled and 165 pounds when empty, so be sure to take that into account when choosing where exactly to place your pool. Each unit also comes with an insulated cover and outfitted with an underwater light in case you’re in the mood for an evening plunge.
2. WEY&FLY Foldable Bathtub
This foldable bathtub more than makes up for what it lacks in luxury with convenience, with an economical price tag to boot. Thanks to its lightweight composition and easy set up, there’s no need to stress over how you’re going to transport or where you’re going to store this. Made from durable and environmentally-friendly PVC materials, the tub features a built-in insulation layer to maintain the temperature of the water during your plunge.
Unlike the Cold Plunge, this tub is vertical and stands 25 inches tall, so you’ll need to bend your knees or sit cross-legged when you enter the tub depending on your height. If you happen to be taller, you may want to consider a larger option. Still, this is a great portable option for ice baths on the go.
3. Ice Barrel Ice Bathtub
There’s a reason why the Ice Barrel is the “go-to ice bath tub for athletes.” Boasting a 105-gallon capacity and ergonomic design, this tub can fit just about anyone comfortably, while still managing to be easy to transport and store. The plastic exterior, which is made from recycled materials, keeps the barrel insulated, so the temperature of the water doesn’t fluctuate during your plunge. A step stool, protective cover and lid are included. Available in black and desert tan colors.
4. Hydraflate Inflatable Bathtub
This inflatable bathtub was designed with comfort in mind, made from a premium plastic material that’s easy on your back; there’s even a backrest and added cushion on the inflatable floor. If that’s not enough comfort for you, there’s an inflatable pillow also included. Simply use the nifty electric air pump to inflate the tub within a few minutes and fill it with cold water. When you’ve completed your plunge, you can use the tub’s dual drains to quickly empty it.