Doctor Justin Mullner, 40, dumped his family’s two ice makers into the bathtub at his Orlando, Florida, home, added cold water, checked the temperature with a thermometer, stripped down to his swim trunks, and jumped in.
Blair Heinke afterwards heard him screaming. Marathoner Dr. Heinke dubbed him a wimp. ICE melted. Not cold.”
Scandinavian health nuts and athletes with sore muscles used to enjoy ice-water baths. Social media influencers like Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof, or “Iceman,” actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and ultramarathoner David Goggins have made it popular.
Dr. Mullner and other amateurs are testing cold-water immersion’s stress-reduction and energy-boosting claims. Many must first overcome a challenge. They have no glacial lake to jump into like Mr. Hof.
Instead, they take cold showers, fill kiddie pools with ice, or plunge into backyard pools in winter. They broadcast footage of themselves climbing into trash cans and enormous ice water freezers.
Willie McKenzie, 38, who operates a cannabis firm in Bear Lake, Mich., said Mr. Hof’s ice-cold outdoor excursions sounded like an alternative to daily life’s lack of physical obstacles. “No need to hunt. Mr. McKenzie responded, “No grocery store.” “Many people feel this way.”
He shocked his routine. Finding a location to submerge his 6-foot, 215-pound bulk in freezing water was the primary issue. Mr. McKenzie refused to pay $5,000 for the online ice-bath tub. He constructed a 180-gallon cow-and-horse feeding trough on his veranda next to the hot tub.
He wakes up at 4 a.m. to record himself bathing in icy water with a rubber duck while thinking. He sometimes requires two or three tries.
Before winter, he bought 60–80 pounds of ice at the petrol station every other day. He’ll buy a costly tub with a chiller when it warms up because it wasn’t sustainable.
Lucy McKenzie sleeps. “His consistency is almost annoying,”
The ancient Egyptians used cold-water baths, according to Preston, U.K. researcher Robert Allan. He claimed in a February European Journal of Applied Physiology paper that ancient Egyptians used cold therapy for health, along with Greeks and Romans. He said athletes have recovered with cold therapy since the 1960s.
Matt Goddard, 32, a fitness trainer and former professional boxer from Hampshire, U.K., used to do squats before plunging up to his neck in frigid water. He takes a chilly shower now as a father of two.
He called it a 30-second psychological battle. It feels like self-conquest every time.