TREND: Baby It’s Cold: Ice Plunges & Cold Therapies Are on Everyone’s Wishlist
The pandemic and its threat to global health accelerated our fascination and experimentation with any practices that promised to build resilience, combat stress or improve immune functions. One of the hottest therapies to come out of this happens to also be one of the coldest: extreme, ice-cold, whole-body immersion.
The concept of cold plunges, ice water swimming and cryotherapy was gaining traction among certain extreme wellness seekers long before the pandemic. In fact, in 2017, the Global Wellness Summit featured a lively keynote by Wim Hof (aka “The Iceman”) and predicted that the fascination with cold and ice would begin to go mainstream in its 2018 “Extreme Wellness” trend. A trend that proved true as we watched the “Wim Hof Method,” a practice combining breathwork with cold temperatures to build resilience, find an enthusiastic group of followers using cold immersion not only for physical health, but also as a way to feel present, mindful and more alive.
With cold already getting hot, the pandemic accelerated Wim Hof’s message and helped introduce the power of cold to a new and expanded audience, making cold water plunges and ice baths de rigor among fitness and wellness seekers. This enthusiasm has created a new market for cold treatments – from cryotherapy to at-home ice baths to natural cold plunges.
Though you can easily practice cold immersion at home by simply adding ice to a bath or taking a very cold shower; new products are being introduced to better serve this growing market, offering temperature consistency, sustainability and sanitization. Companies like Ice Barrel, Plunge, Blue Cube and Renu Therapy are serving this burgeoning marketing and touting celebrity users like Gwyneth Paltrow, Lizzo and elite athletes.
The founder of Blue Cube, Thomas Schiffer, dubbed the race to win market share as the “cold wars” in a New York Times article, saying he believes cold plunges will be as “ubiquitous as the Jacuzzi.”