Ice bathing in a small apartment might sound like something difficult or even crazy.
Because if you look online for photos and videos of people doing ice-cold plunges, the majority of what you see might have you believe that it’s an activity reserved for the snowy great outdoors—or those who have the space for outdoor jacuzzis.
Not everyone has access to icy bodies of water. Photo by James Cheney on Pexels.
However, with a little creativity and the right tools for the job, you can easily accomplish apartment cold therapy right at home.
This article will help you understand how to ice bath in your apartment, without having to rely on a bathtub or a spacious backyard.
Let’s get started.
Things to Consider When Doing an Ice Bath in Your Apartment
Ice baths have been used for decades by athletes and fitness enthusiasts as a way to reduce inflammation, speed up recovery, and improve overall performance.
But the costs of going to a contrast therapy (sauna + ice bath) spa can add up quickly if you want to incorporate this practice into your health and recovery routine.
And so, finding a cost-effective solution—like an ice bath in your apartment—would be a game-changer.
Which brings us to the first thing to consider, which is the container where you’re going to do the actual ice bath.
However, not everyone has the option of a full-sized bathtub in their apartments.
Which brings us to:
How do I take an ice bath without a bathtub?
We currently offer our Ice Bath NZ, complete portable ice bath package that’s the perfect solution for apartment dwellers, as it can be easily folded and stored when not in use.
Simply add water with a hose, and then some ice.
Our Ice Bath only occupies an 80cm x 80cm footprint when setup: perfect for smaller spaces, versus most other bulky products that can’t be folded up and stored after use.
Another option is to use a large container like a plastic storage bin, which can also hold some ice and water, and can fit in most small spaces.
However, note that this may not be the sturdiest option after some time since cracks may form from the shifting weight of the water and ice.
Storage bins are usually designed for… storage, and a lot of the cheaper options might just fall apart with the structural stresses that the whole ice bath process can put them through:
- Filling the bin with water,
- Dumping bags of ice inside, and
- The weight of an adult human being stepping inside and possibly shivering.
With all of this weight—hundreds of kilos of water and ice sloshing around—a lot of people wouldn’t feel quite safe stepping inside.
Bigger at-home ice therapy products like “ice barrels”, large wooden tubs, larger plastic containers, or even metal water troughs aren't storage and cost-efficient: a lot of them are meant to be kept outside the home, or in a large garage.
Aside from your container, there are a few other things to keep in mind when taking an ice bath in your apartment.
Other Things To Keep In Mind When Ice Bathing In Your Apartment
Firstly, ensure that you have a non-slip surface to stand on to avoid any slips or falls.
You don’t want to break your bones in pursuit of health and wellness, after all.
Additionally, make sure that the location of the ice bath is stable and level, so there is no risk of the bath tipping over.
This also avoids uneven stress on whichever container you’re using—litres and litres of water and ice exert a lot of force: If you’re using a cheap plastic container, it might crack more easily if it’s not on a stable surface.
You should also consider where you’ll drain the water afterwards.
If you have space in your bathroom where you could keep the ice bath, that’s good, but we suggest doing an ice bath near a well-maintained, unclogged drain so you won’t flood your apartment.
Draining the water after every use also helps keep it hygienic, although you can probably still have a dunk in the water later in the day if you set up and used your ice bath early in the morning.
How do you make a cheap ice bath?
Not everyone has a massive house or lives near an ice-cold river.
Also, not everyone needs an ice bath year-round.
You might live in an area where you can access ice baths naturally some parts of the year, so you’d only really need a portable ice bath for the warmer seasons.
What this comes down to, then, is keeping costs down:
Making a cheap ice bath might be the most practical solution in this case, instead of always going to a spa that has ice baths.
To keep the ice bath affordable, you can use a large container like a storage bin or our portable Ice Bath, which has everything you need to get started.
Like we discussed earlier, you don’t have to buy large, expensive, and bulky ice baths like ice barrels or other very large outdoor tubs that need coolers and freezers and pumps running all the time.
These things require a lot of space and maintenance. They might also realistically turn into household clutter when you’re not in the mood for an ice bath.
So, try out our Ice Bath as a low-cost, low-commitment way to get into the wonderfully replenishing world of ice baths.
Aside from this, the key to making a cheap ice bath is getting ice cheaply.
Because after the initial investment of something like a portable ice bath, getting lots of ice ends up being the recurring cost.
The fastest way to make an ice bath is to use bags of ice that can be bought at your local convenience store.
If you have a large enough freezer, you can also opt to freeze large water bottles or milk jugs so you can keep things sustainable while not having to buy all your ice from a store.
You can also buy reusable ice packs you can keep in your freezer.
These can sometimes stack better than thin water bottles or 2 litre milk bottles, so you can keep a higher volume of ice in your freezer without much of a hassle.
What You Need for an Apartment Ice Bath
Before you jump into your ice bath, you'll need a few things:
Some of these are essential, like the large container, as well as the ice.
But there are other items that would really help make your ice bath experience as effective as possible.
After all, a lot of the documented recovery benefits from cold exposure therapy comes from the water being around 10-15 degrees Celsius.
Any warmer and you would need to stay in the water for longer for similar benefits, or even worse, have quite the lukewarm experience.
On the other side of things, you’d also be wasting money, time, and energy if you put too much ice and bring the water even colder than needed.
Needless to say, you need a thermometer to accurately measure the temperature of the ice bath.
You should also wear some comfortable swimwear so you can focus on the cold therapy, and not your clothing.
Finally, you’d also want to have a timer or stopwatch to keep track of your time submerged in the ice bath.
5-15 minutes is enough to get the prolonged benefits of increased dopamine release after ice baths at 10-15 C, although we recommend beginners to finish their first ice baths within 5-10 minutes.
See also: Do Ice Baths Increase Dopamine?
Benefits of an Apartment Ice Bath Setup
The benefits of cold therapy are numerous, and having an ice bath in your apartment can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.
Aside from the often-praised benefits of muscle recovery, Cold Water Immersion therapy can also improve circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, and even improve sleep quality.
Plus, with a portable ice bath, you can easily incorporate ice baths into your wellness and recovery routine, ensuring you reap the benefits regularly.
Getting your very own ice bath setup in your apartment is a convenient and cost-effective way to incorporate cold exposure therapy into your life.
With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can enjoy the numerous benefits of ice baths even without expensive setups requiring lots of yard space.
An ice bath can be a practical and cost-effective way to improve your overall health and wellness, especially when done from the comfort of your own apartment.
Our insulated Ice Bath NZ is the perfect solution for apartment dwellers, as it can be easily stored when not in use. Just add water and ice. Don't let a small living space hold you back from experiencing the numerous benefits of ice bath therapy: give it a try in the comfort of your own home. Includes a pump, stabiliser poles, user manual, repair kit—delivered overnight straight to your door NZ wide.
Versey, N.G., Halson, S.L. and Dawson, B.T. (2013). Water immersion recovery for athletes: Effect on exercise performance and practical recommendations. Sports Medicine, 43.
Ice Water Photo by James Cheney on Pexels.