In some it causes admiration, in others it merely causes incomprehension. What motivates people to drop their covers at temperatures around freezing and plunge into the icy water? Many get the infamous "kick", some want to do something good for their body. Is ice bathing really good for your health? What should one pay attention to?
What is ice bathing?
In Germany there are about 2, 000-3, 000 ice baths. They all share a passion - bathing at water temperatures around freezing. They meet in small groups and work together to get their circulation going before finally dropping their covers. Depending on your own body feeling, the ice baths stay in the water between a few seconds and five minutes. The season of ice bathing begins in early autumn, so that you can start early with the training for the really cold temperatures.
Ice bathing - a blessing for the health
In the first few seconds, when the body is in ice water, it experiences an intense temperature stimulus. The skin temperature drops drastically, while the core temperature is initially little affected. Now the body starts to react to the new situation. He converts energy that he has stored in the form of carbohydrates into heat energy. The increased production of heat widens the vessels that had abruptly contracted after the first few seconds. This leads to an improvement of the blood circulation and thus to a stabilization of the circulation.
Doctors assume that ice bathing strengthens the immune system and thus the body is less susceptible to infections. When the body regenerates after bathing, it feels most well-being and a heightened sense of life. This depends on the one hand on the better circulation and on the other hand on psychological aspects: The Eisbader feels a satisfying sense of self-control and self-control.
What should one pay attention to?
Ice bathing is not safe. Untrained and inexperienced should slowly approach the cool temperatures. This could happen, for example, with changing showers or Kneipp baths. You should never go alone, but always in groups. After all, there is a risk that the Eisbader could suffer a life-threatening cold shock. Since especially hands and feet lose body heat quickly, you should hold your hands while bathing in the air. Feet can be easily protected with neoprene socks. While you are in the water you should avoid diving your head and hair underwater.
The bath time should not be longer than five minutes, since otherwise the risk of hypothermia would be too large. Warm clothes should be put on immediately after the ice bath. Sport and physical activity is not recommended. The body should be given time to regenerate. People with physical ailments should always discuss the ice bath with the doctor.
How popular is the ice bath?
2, 000 to 3, 000 confessed ice baths in Germany do not speak for a popular trend or mass sports. Nevertheless, the Eisbaden gains in the course of wellness and leisure orientation to notoriety.
In Russia, ice bathing is a longstanding tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church. Every year on the 19th of January the baptism of Jesus is celebrated. On this occasion, outdoor worship is taking place in various parts of Russia. Ice bathing should cleanse the conscience and protect it from diseases and evil spirits. Not all participants have a religious motivation. Rather, the Eisbaden has developed into a trend and leisure pleasure.