Ice Barrel – Rejuvenate Your Body and Mind With the Power of the Cold

Image Courtesy of Ice Barrel

Cold water has the powerful ability to transform both your body and your mind. As an athlete, your body’s performance and the laser-like focus of your mind are what give you an edge in competition and training. 

A tool that effectively trains both together is a potent recipe for success.

But finding convenient ways to take a quality ice bath at home has always been a roadblock to maintaining the consistency you need to maximize the results of cold water therapy.

This article covers everything you need to know about the benefits of ice baths and the challenges of cold water therapy at home. We’ll also take you through the journey of Ice Barrel CEO and founder Wyatt Ewing’s elegant solution to the challenges of home ice baths.

Benefits of Ice Baths for Athletes and Fitness

From early Nordic cultures plunging into freezing lakes to the frigidarium of ancient Roman bathhouses filled with ice-cold water, experiencing the benefits of cold-water immersion is a practice that dates back centuries.

It has only been in recent history that we now have the tools at our disposal to examine the physiological and cognitive benefits of cold exposure therapy. And research in this growing field of study is beginning to clarify the potential benefits for athletic performance and general health and well-being. 

As a quick introduction to the adaptations that occur in your body from cold exposure therapy like ice baths, we’ll outline ten of the most exciting benefits discovered that cold water immersion could provide.

Benefits of Ice Baths and Cold Therapy:

  1. Promoting Muscle Recovery
  2. Decreasing Inflammation
  3. Enhancing Immune Function
  4. Improving Protein Synthesis
  5. Activating Antioxidant Enzymes
  6. Improving Glucose and Lipid Metabolism
  7. Increasing Brown Adipose Tissue
  8. Improving Cognitive Performance
  9. Triggering Mitochondrial Biogenesis
  10. Promoting Hormesis

Even though the benefits from ice baths and cold water therapy creates an impressive list, the real challenge has always been the lack of accessibility for maintaining a consistent ice bath practice.

Challenges of Cold Exposure Therapy at Home

Many athletes find themselves faced with a unique challenge when it comes to their relationship with ice baths. They love how it makes them feel and the benefits they get out of it. But at the same time, they run into all sorts of difficulties trying to keep up their cold exposure practice at home.

Drawbacks of Cold Showers

In warmer climates, the temperature coming out of your showerhead never quite feels cold enough. And even if your shower temperature is freezing cold, you always find half of your body isn’t exposed to the cold water. As a result, you struggle to match that same feeling of deep penetrating cold therapy that you get after a quality ice bath.

Shallow Bathtubs

Trying to make an ice bath out of most standard bathtubs has its own set of unique difficulties as well. The short length and shallow depth may work great in a pinch to isolate your legs. But for full-body immersion, you find yourself with an “either-or” decision of sitting upright to immerse your legs fully or sliding down to submerge your torso while your knees bend and half your legs rise out of the water. Even worse, lying down in an unnatural position is a massive obstacle to focusing on your breathing patterns.

Attempting DIY Home Ice Baths

Some athletes have even gone as far as running to their local farm and fleet store to convert steel livestock water troughs into a DIY ice bath at least large enough to immerse the entire body. It usually does the trick at first, but not for long. Without proper maintenance and finishing, it only takes a few weeks or months before it starts to rust and corrode, potentially introducing zinc and other minerals into the stale water. The water begins to turn for the worst, and it’s only then you realize how difficult it is to lift a steel tank full of water to attempt to drain and clean it.

It’s usually at this point in your ‘search for the perfect ice bath’ that you start looking for a reliable and professional solution to solve your ice bath woes. 

The Go-to Home Ice Bath for Athletes

When it comes to finding accessible ways to incorporate cold water therapy into your training recovery strategy, the Ice Barrel is the simplest solution. 

It checks all of the boxes for a quality ice bath experience: easy to use, large enough for upright full-body immersion, durable, portable, simple to maintain, and possibly the most important; it looks really cool too!

Unlike steel water tanks susceptible to rust and corrosion or inflatable bathtubs that could pop under stress, the Ice Barrel has a portable and durable design of high-quality recycled LLDPE plastic (the same low-toxicity plastic used in medical-grade applications). And with its 105-gallon capacity that allows you to sit in an upright position, it’s become the go-to ice bath for athletes. 

But the benefits of ice baths span much further than just your athletic performance and recovery. The health and general well-being effects of cold exposure could possibly be even more important.

To provide you with a unique perspective on the sometimes life-changing effects of cold water therapy, we’d like to introduce you to Ice Barrel’s founder and give you some background on the importance of the Ice Barrel’s design.

The Ice Barrel Journey – Wyatt Ewing

Ice Barrel CEO and Founder Wyatt Ewing

We spoke with Ice Barrel’s CEO and founder, Wyatt Ewing, to talk about his own unique experience that led him to discover the powerful benefits of cold water immersion for himself.

Working in a high-stakes corporate job, Wyatt found himself burning the candle at both ends. The high pressure was eventually transforming into stress, anxiety, and depression. 

He knew the stress response was taking its toll on his health, and he felt like he needed to find some kind of ‘reset button’ for his body.

He found that reset button when a stranger at the gym recommended that he try taking cold showers. At this point, Wyatt was willing to try anything to see if it would help. So he took the stranger’s advice and stepped into the cold for the first time.

“I immediately came out feeling better. And for someone dealing with anxiety and depression, just being able to say ‘I feel better right now’ is huge.” 

That initial invigorating experience kept him coming back each day. After six to eight months of cold water exposure, he noticed his mood dramatically change for the better. His attitude became more positive, and the stress response from both his mind and body had reset. He felt great!

“I wanted to take my cold water practice deeper. I wanted to get out of the cold showers, get out of the family bathtub, and figure out the best way to take an ice bath. 

It engages the mind just as much as it engages the body, so I wanted to create a dedicated space that allowed it to be meditative and allow you to really focus on it, instead of being surrounded by shampoo bottles.”

So he began experimenting and designing a product that fits all of the requirements for an optimal ice bath experience. It needed to be simple to use and maintain, durable, portable, and most importantly, large enough to use in a vertical position.

“I knew that I wanted to stay upright instead of lying down in an uncomfortable position. I could see and feel the benefits of keeping the spine straight. I could control my breathing better and stay in a concentrated flow state.

Knowing exactly what he wanted from a quality ice bath design, Wyatt threw in the towel on his corporate job and went full throttle on developing the Ice Barrel and sharing that same cold water experience with the rest of the world.

The Ice Barrel Design

The Ice Barrel has all of the essential features Wyatt originally set out to include. The vertical design allows you to stay upright and keep the spine straight (which also means it takes up a smaller footprint than a horizontal tank). Its lightweight material makes it incredibly portable when empty. And its drainage system makes maintenance a simple process to keep the water fresh and always ready to go.

But most importantly, just like saunas and hot tubs, the Ice Barrel allows you to have a dedicated space for your cold exposure sessions.

What may seem like a minor feature is a key factor in producing an ice bath’s mental benefits. It gives you a place that allows the mind to focus and build the brain-body connections that boost your everyday ability to contend with stress.

Its small footprint and lightweight design simplify creating that dedicated space and can even allow you to move it from place to place during different times of the year. 

Features and Specifications

The complete Ice Barrel set comes with the Ice Barrel, a lid, stand, step stool, and protective cover. You’ll have everything you need conveniently in one package to jumpstart your cold water therapy sessions. 

Specifications of the barrel itself:

  • Holds 105 Gallons of Water
  • 42″ High x 31″ Wide
  • 25″ Wide Opening
  • 55lbs Empty and 750lbs With 80gls
  • Easy-to-Use Drainage System
  • Made in Ohio, USA
  • Made From Recycled Materials

Its high capacity and wide opening make it ideal for maintaining an upright position to stay focused and concentrate on your breath.

Since it’s been brought up several times in this article, if you want to learn more about why exactly your breathing is so beneficial in combination with your cold exposure practice, we’ll link to a copy of the renowned Wim Hof’s new book The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential in the ‘Mobility Athlete’s Ultimate Ice Bath Picks’ Amazon grid below the article.

Final Thoughts on the Ice Barrel:

Maintaining consistency in your ice bath practice is key to maximizing the benefits it brings to your athletic potential and general well-being alike.

Convenience is sometimes the single most critical factor that determines whether you’re going to get your ice bath in regularly or not. Having a dedicated space that’s always ready to go is the best way to start building the habit of cold exposure therapy into your routine.

Just like myofascial release or sauna use, there are both benefits of short-term use as well as benefits from consistent long-term use. Simplifying the process removes resistance from procrastination and the common excuses that keep you from engaging with the uncomfortable stressors that ultimately bring you powerful benefits.

The Ice Barrel is one of the most straightforward ways out there to simplify your cold exposure practice at home. Adding it to your arsenal of training and recovery devices could be what helps you transform your mind and body through the benefits of the cold.

If you’re interested in simplifying your home ice bath practice, when you use one of our links from this post, we get a small commission from Amazon (at no additional cost to you!) So if you appreciate the work we do and the information we provide in articles like this, it helps us keep the lights on. Thanks for your support!

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