We're sorry to break it to you, but when it comes to ice baths, there is no substitute for direct practical experience. Nevertheless...
What does the science say?
Reduced Muscle Soreness - (Sport Month)
Study found cold immersion following high-intensity workouts was more effective than massage in reducing muscle soreness.
Decreased Inflammation & fewer Flu-like symptoms -
(National Academy of Sciences, USA)
Participants practicing cold immersion and breathing techniques experienced a reduction in inflammation, fewer flu-like symptoms, and a faster normalization of fever and cortisol levels.
Improved Metabolism & Weight Loss - (National Institute of Health)
Participants who exposed themselves to cooler climates for prolonged periods of time found increased levels of brown fat, yielding greater metabolic efficiency.
On the Body
On the MIND
Reduced Stress - (The Journal of Physiology)
Participants practicing cold exposure became less likely to breathe quick and rapid (sympathetically) to physical stress and began breathing slow and deep (parasympathetically).
Decreased Symptoms of Depression - (Nat. Library of Medicine)
Research found cold immersion yielded relief to depressive symptoms, with no side effects or dependance issues.
Anxiety Management - (N. American Journal of Medical Sciences)
A review of studies from 1986-2012 found substantial evidence that hydrotherapy, or cold immersion, can effectively improve asthma, obesity, and anxiety.
Improved Male Fertility - (International Journal of Andrology)
In a study of infertile men, 100% experienced a doubling of their sperm count after 8 and 12 weeks of testicular cooling.
Increased Testosterone - (Journal of Strength & Conditioning)
Athletes saw an increase in testosterone after a single session of
On SEXUAL health
ICE ON SLEEP
Reduced Heart Rate - (Journal of Medicine)
Subjects who underwent cold water immersion saw decreases in their heart rate, making for more ideal sleeping conditions.
Deeper Sleep - (Front Sports Act Living)
Endurance runners who underwent cold immersion after simulated running exercises experienced less night-time arousals during rest.
Breathing vs Sleep Aids - (Frontiers in Psychology)
"Breathing and relaxation techniques are a more powerful tool than sleeping pills."
(Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine)
Participants who practiced regular yoga and breathing practices experienced higher levels of melatonin, an increased marker for better sleep.
Paced Breathing for Improved Sleep Quality - (Journal of Medicine)
Half study used social media, while the other half practiced breathing for 15 minutes each evening. The breathing group had better sleep and experienced a variety of additional health benefits.
on the mind
Breathing to Treat Panic Disorder (Journal of Psychiatric Research)
Patients with diagnosed panic disorder were treated with breathing therapy and saw significant improvements in their panic and anxiety.
Belly Breathing to Reduce Anxiety (Perspectives in Psychiatric Care)
Participants practiced breathing exercises for 2 months and reported less anxiety, reduced heart rates, and healthier respiration rates.
Alleviate Severe Depression (Journal of Clinical Psychology)
A pilot study found promise in treating patients suffering from depression with breathing exercises when they did not respond to antidepressants.