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How Long Should You Take an Ice Bath to Freeze Fat Cells?

Many people started exploring cold therapy recently because of the claims that cold exposure can improve mood, boost energy, relieve muscle soreness, and help with fat reduction. But trying out ice therapy can be a painful experience without the right preparation, so individuals need to know first what to prepare and how long to stay submerged in extreme cold.

So how long does it take for an ice bath to freeze the fat cells? Cold water immersion therapy at home requires individuals to dip themselves in cold water for up to 10 minutes at a time. Doing this helps the body burn white fat cells, but cold water therapy at home doesn’t lead to the same results as a professional fat freezing treatment like CoolSculpting.

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Weekly Ice Bath to Freeze Fat: How It Works

Unwanted body fat and cellulite are common beauty concerns for most people. And while a CoolSculpting treatment is known to eliminate about 20% to 80% of the localized fat cells in the problem areas, many people still want to know if it’s possible to replicate its results at home using an ice pack or a weekly cold plunge. 

Body cryotherapy treatment is one of the most popular temperature-based modalities used in the sports medicine and fitness industry today because it offers lots of benefits for the body. Many people even invest in a float tank, infrared sauna, liquid nitrogen, ice bath, and more to get the treatment right and achieve their ideal body shape. 

Fat removal with cold temperature or localized cryotherapy is possible, but it doesn’t lead to the same body contouring results as CoolSculpting treatments by professionals. It’s also risky to try it at home without the right preparations. 

a) Do Ice Baths Freeze Fat?

Healthy weight loss and fat reduction are largely dependent on an individual’s diet and lifestyle, but there are also a few treatments and strategies that can help people eliminate some of the stubborn fat cells in their stomachs, thighs, arms, and other body parts.

One of these fat loss strategies is ice bathing (or cold water therapy), a technique that uses extremely cold water to lower an individual’s body temperature. But note that ice bathing doesn’t freeze and destroy fat like CoolSculpting does. Instead, it forces the body to find other ways to keep itself warm, like burning up the calorie storage.

Another ice bath benefit is the production of brown fat cells. These cells are metabolically active so they help burn and oxidize white fat cells, resulting in weight and fat loss.

b) How Ice Baths Help With Weight Loss

Ice baths help reduce fat cells through a process called cold thermogenesis. This refers to the use of fat metabolism to maintain body warmth during exposure to cold temperatures. During cold thermogenesis, the body dissipates energy as heat by producing more brown adipose tissue to activate UCP1 (uncouple oxidative phosphorylation) from ATP synthesis.

Additionally, these brown fat cells can also convert the white fat cells whenever an individual is exposed to cold temperatures. With the help of “irisin,” the brown adipose tissues convert white adipose tissues to have the same characteristics as them. These new cells burn more calories than normal white fat, so they eventually contribute to body fat reduction and adaptive thermogenesis.

c) How to Prepare for an Ice Bath

Taking ice baths at home can be painful if done incorrectly – it may even bring more harm than good to the body. The key to successful ice bathing is to start small. Even Wim Hof, who’s known for using cold exposure therapy and running marathons at -22° Fahrenheit in his underwear, took small steps to get there.

Before taking a cold plunge in an ice barrel or a tub filled with ice cubes, it’s best to start with a cold shower first. After taking a normal shower, switch your tap water to the coldest setting possible and try to stay there for at least one minute. Do this repeatedly until you get used to the coldness.

Once you’re used to the cold showers, the next step is to fill the tub with the coldest tap water. Get into the tub and try to stay submerged for about a minute or two. Slowly increase the duration of your cold bath over the next few days or weeks until you can stay there for about 10 minutes without shivering. 

d) How to Make an Ice Bath at Home

After the body gets used to the cold temperatures, it’s time for a real ice bath in a tub or ice barrel. Purchase a few bags of ice from a local store first or make your own ice in a freezer. Fill the tub with cold water first and slowly add ice into the tub until the temperature reaches about 54° to 60° Fahrenheit.

Once the ice bath tub is prepared, sit there for about 10 minutes at a time. Most people tend to take shallow breaths as they cope with the cold, but try to stay calm and take deep breaths slowly. These deep inhales help oxygen and blood flow better around the body. 

After the ice bath, don’t take a hot shower immediately. Dry your body using a towel and let it warm up slowly. Some people drink coffee or warm tea to help soothe their bodies after a 10-minute ice bath.

e) Benefits of Ice Baths and Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy and cold thermogenesis are often known for their fat loss benefits, but they also have other positive effects on the body such as:

  • Balanced hormone levels
  • Improved lean body mass
  • Better blood pressure and adrenal function
  • Muscle pain relief
  • Improved immune system
  • Relaxed sore muscle groups after a workout

f) The Risks of Ice Baths and How to Avoid Them

Ice bathing is safe in general, as long as individuals try them responsibly using the right knowledge. However, it’s not recommended for patients who are highly sensitive to a cold environment, those who had surgery recently, and anyone with cardiovascular and circulatory issues.

The cold temperature of the treatment constricts the blood vessels, which might lead to a serious medical emergency. Staying in an ice barrel for too long also puts individuals at risk of hypothermia so always make sure to monitor the time.

For safer ice bathing, make sure that the water temperature stays between 54° to 60° Fahrenheit. Start slowly by putting your feet and legs into the tub before working your way in. Limit your stay in the ice bath to about 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

Why You Shouldn’t Try Fat Freezing at Home

Although the occasional ice baths every week are effective in reducing unwanted fat in the body, fat freezing treatments like CoolSculpting are best left at the hands of an experienced provider. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t try at-home fat freezing treatments:

1) It Might Not Work

Triggering fat cell death using fat freezing treatments requires holding the fat tissues at a certain temperature for a specific amount of time. Ice baths make this difficult since there isn’t a specific and hyper-controlled cooling.

2) It Might Not Be Safe

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to at-home ice bathing is the increased risk of frostbite or hypothermia. On the other hand, CoolSculpting is a medical aesthetics procedure so professionals need to follow the right steps to ensure that their patients achieve the best results. Following protocols also help reduce the risks and side effects of the fat freezing treatments.

3) You’re Only Wasting Time and Money

Ice baths might seem like the perfect CoolSculpting alternative at home that won’t require individuals to spend thousands of dollars. However, ice bathing doesn’t achieve the same quality of results in a given time. It’s best to get CoolSculpting treatments immediately to sculpt the body instead of spending weeks hauling ice cubes around just to bathe in cold water for about 10 minutes.

Fat Freezing at Home vs. CoolSculpting: Which is Better?

Fat freezing at home doesn’t work in the same way as CoolSculpting treatments performed by professionals. However, many people still attempt to freeze and reduce their unwanted body fat at home in hopes of cutting down costs. To help you understand why professional CoolSculpting is better, here’s how both approaches compare:

How It Works

The biggest difference between ice bathing and CoolSculpting is that they reduce fat cells in different ways: an ice bath forces the body to keep warm by burning calories while CoolSculpting’s cryolipolysis involves using extreme cold to destroy fat cells, allowing the body to flush them out naturally.

Ice bathing also requires a lot of preparation – from building the body’s tolerance against the extreme cold to buying all the needed ice cubes and other materials every week. On the other hand, CoolSculpting only requires clients to visit the office in comfortable clothes. It’s up to the provider to eliminate localized fat cells using the CoolSculpting device.

What Results to Expect

CoolSculpting treatments can eliminate around 20% to 80% of the unwanted fat in the problem areas after a few weeks. It’s a highly effective fat reduction treatment that improves the patient’s physique and desired body shape even without the need for plastic surgery.

Ice bathing is also an effective fat loss treatment, but it takes a few months to achieve an individual’s body goals. But note that aside from fat reduction, this treatment also offers a lot of other health benefits like improved blood circulation, increased energy, and more.

Possible Risks

Both approaches are relatively safe as long as they’re done correctly. With ice bathing, people run the risk of hypothermia and frostbite if their body fails to adapt to the cold properly.

CoolSculpting is also associated with common side effects like swelling, pain, and discomfort in the treatment areas but they usually subside after a few weeks. Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia is an unusual complication of CoolSculpting, but the incidence is extremely rare. This uncommon side effect is also treatable with procedures like surgical or laser-assisted liposuction.

Eliminate All Your Stubborn Fat With NJ Center for CoolSculpting

Ice baths aren’t a necessary weekly routine for anyone who wants to get rid of unwanted body fat, but it’s a technique that’s worth trying in moderation – as long as you have the right knowledge to perform it correctly.

But if you’re looking for a quick and convenient fat loss treatment that’s already been proven to work, then consult our experts at NJ Center for CoolSculpting today to know more about our cryolipolysis treatments. Call us now to book an appointment.

Freeze Away Your Stubborn Fat Like Never Before

Up to 25% Fat Reduction With CoolSculpting: Treat Yourself Today!


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