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Cold Therapy for Weight Loss: Do Ice Baths Burn Fats

Cold Therapy for Weight Loss: Do Ice Baths Burn Fats

You’ve heard about how saunas and heat therapy can help burn fat. But how about cold therapy for weight loss? Cold plunges and regular ice baths have gained attention as unique methods for weight management. How does it work? Let's explore this cool side of weight loss together.

What is Cold Therapy? 

Cold therapy involves using low temperatures for various health benefits. It could include applying ice packs to sore muscles, taking cold showers or cold-water immersion. But does it work for weight loss? Let’s break it down.

The Role of Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) in Weight Loss

Our bodies contain two main types of fat: 

  • white adipose tissue (WAT) 
  • brown adipose tissue (BAT) 

White fat cells (adipocytes) are the main component of WAT and are typically associated with weight gain.

BAT, or "brown fat," is metabolically active and burns calories to generate heat, helping maintain our core body temperature.

How does cold therapy reduce fat?

  1. A scientific study shows that cold exposure can boost metabolic rate and activate BAT, potentially leading to increased calorie expenditure. 
  2. Cold exposure can cause our blood vessels to constrict, which may improve insulin sensitivity and lead to better blood sugar control – a factor linked to weight management and reducing insulin resistance.
  3. Norepinephrine, or noradrenaline, helps regulate our body's fight-or-flight response. During a cold plunge, norepinephrine levels can rise, stimulating the breakdown of fat cells and increasing the use of stored fat for energy. 

This hormonal response and the activation of BAT contribute to the potential weight loss benefits associated with cold therapy. 


  • More research is needed to fully understand cold therapy's long-term effects and optimal application for weight management. 
  • Effects are likely modest and work best alongside a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Cold Plunge Benefits 

Cold plunges offer a range of wellness advantages that can indirectly support your weight loss journey.

  1. Boosts the Immune System
  • Regular cold water exposure may enhance your immune system, helping avoid common illnesses. This means fewer sick days and staying active and focused on your fitness goals.
  1. Boosts Metabolism and Increases Energy Expenditure
  • Cold exposure increases metabolic rate and kinetic energy expenditure as your body works to maintain its core temperature. 
  1. Improves Mental Health
  1. Reduces Chronic Inflammation
  1. Reduced Muscle Soreness
  • Cold plunges can reduce muscle soreness after exercise, leading to faster recovery and consistent weight loss training.
  1. Improved Sleep Quality
  • Getting enough sleep is essential for regulating hormones that influence hunger and metabolism, making it a valuable tool for weight management.

Considerations Before Taking the Plunge

While the benefits are tempting, it's essential to consider the risk factors before diving into a cold plunge. 

People Who Should Avoid or Not Cold Plunge

  • Individuals with heart disease: People with known heart conditions or cardiovascular disease should avoid cold plunges, as the shock of cold-water immersion can potentially strain the heart and lead to complications.
  • People with uncontrolled high blood pressure: Cold exposure can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, which can be risky for those already struggling with hypertension.
  • Pregnant women: The effects of cold plunging on fetal development are not fully understood, so it's best to avoid it during pregnancy.
  • People with uncontrolled diabetes: Cold water can affect blood sugar levels, potentially leading to complications for those with diabetes.
  • Individuals with Raynaud's phenomenon: This condition causes blood vessel constriction in response to cold, and cold plunges can worsen symptoms.
  • Persons with peripheral vascular disease: Cold exposure can further restrict blood flow in people with compromised circulation.
  • Anyone with epilepsy: Cold exposure itself is unlikely to directly impact epilepsy. However, sudden temperature changes might trigger seizures in some individuals.
  • Persons with any underlying health conditions: It's always best to consult a doctor before starting cold therapy, especially if you have health concerns.

Tips for a Safe Cold Plunge

To make the most out of your cold plunge experience minus the potential risks, here are some tips: 

  • Start Gradually: Begin with shorter durations and slowly increase your time in the water.
  • Monitor Your Body: Pay attention to how your body reacts. If you feel dizzy or overly uncomfortable, it’s time to get out.
  • Warm Up Afterwards: Always warm up gradually after a cold plunge to help your body return to its normal core body temperature.

Your Cold Therapy Oasis at Home

With home polar plunges, you can enjoy a convenient cold therapy experience without leaving your house. 

Our Dundalk Plunge Tub Collection

  • Crafted from premium White Cedar
  • Canadian-made
  • Durable construction
  • Spacious interior

The Dundalk the Baltic Plunge Tub

Key Features:

  • Fully assembled upon arrival.
  • Optional electric chiller or manual ice addition.
  • Spacious 150-gallon (570-liter) interior.


  • Luxurious feel for a spa-like experience at home.
  • Convenience of immediate use.
  • Ample space.

The Dundalk The Polar Plunge Tub

Modern or Classic? You Choose:

  • Sleek and contemporary: Opt for a polished 304 Stainless Steel interior look.
  • Timeless and clean: Choose the White HDPE Plastic interior for a classic aesthetic.

Designed for Comfort and Convenience:

  • Easy access design: Ensures a comfortable and hassle-free cold therapy experience.
  • Spacious interior: Holds 190 gallons of water, providing liberal room for a refreshing plunge.
  • User-friendly drain: Connects to any garden hose for effortless cleanup after each use.

Water Chillers for Enhanced Cold Therapy

Invest in a water chiller to customize and maximize your cold plunge experience.

  • Top-Tier Chillers: Consider the Coldture Water Chiller or the Penguin Cold Therapy Chiller with Filter Kit.
  • Built-in Power and Convenience: These chillers boast built-in circulation pumps for even cooling and sturdy frames with castors for easy movement around your area.
  • Precise Temperature Control: Chill your water to a refreshing 37°F for a perfect cold plunge (or heat it up to 104°F for a relaxing hot soak).
  • Control and Customization: Some models offer Wi-Fi control and digital displays, allowing you to easily personalize your cold therapy experience.

DIY Cold Therapy at Home

If you're not ready to invest in a cold plunge tub, don't worry. With some simple DIY methods, you can still enjoy the benefits of cold immersion therapy at home. 

  1. Preparing Ice Baths
  • Add ice cubes to fill your bathtub with icy water.  
  • Submerge yourself in the frigid water for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll lose the chills once you get used to it, and it can be a refreshing way to end a workout.
  1. Scheduling Cold Showers
  • Incorporate cold showers into your daily routine. Start with warm water and gradually turn the dial to cold. 
  • Ending your shower with a minute or two of ice water can help your body adapt to cold immersion therapy. 
  • Pro Tip: alternate between hot and cold showers to make the transition easier.
  1. Water Pools

This makeshift cold plunge pool can be a fun and effective way to enjoy cold immersion therapy during warmer months.

  • Set up a small inflatable pool in your backyard.
  • Fill it with frigid water and add ice. 

Know Your Limits

Knowing your limits is essential when exploring cold water therapy for weight loss. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind: 

  • Gradual Exposure: Start with shorter durations and gradually increase the time spent in icy water or cold showers.
  • Monitor Your Body: Pay attention to how your body reacts. Stop if you feel dizzy or uncomfortable.
  • Warm Up Afterwards: Always warm up gradually after a cold immersion session. Use warm water to help your body return to its normal temperature.

With simple methods, you can transform your home into a cold therapy sanctuary, boosting your wellness and enjoying a spa-like experience in the privates of your home. 

Cold Therapy for Fat Loss: Myths vs Facts

Myth #1: A cold compress reduces belly fat. 

Fact: Cold compress does not reduce body fat. Simply applying ice is insufficient, and spot reduction (fat loss in a specific area) is generally impossible. 

Myth #2: The ice ritual or ice trick can significantly aid in weight loss. 

Fact: The ice ritual or trick involves applying ice packs to the body. While it may temporarily stimulate circulation, it does not impact fat reduction. 

In Summary

  • Science suggests that cold thermogenesis—generating heat in response to lower temperatures—can increase energy expenditure. 
  • Immersing in cold water may help you lose weight by making your body work harder to maintain its core temperature.
  • The cold shock can activate the production of brown fat cells, which burn extra calories to generate heat. 

Regular cold exposure can aid those looking to shed extra pounds. But remember that cold therapy for weight loss is only a helpful supplemental tool, not a replacement for a healthy diet and exercise. Share your favorite weight management tip in the comments!

Browse our cold plunge tubs to create your cold therapy staycation haven. 


Does cold laser therapy work for weight loss?

Cold or low-level laser therapy (LLLT) has been explored for various purposes. However, it's essential to understand that LLLT is not a direct weight-loss solution. Scientific studies on its efficacy and mechanisms are limited and inconclusive. 

How many calories do you burn in a 3-minute and 10-minute cold plunge?

The number of calories burned during a cold plunge varies based on body composition and water temperature. Cold exposure can increase calorie burn slightly but specific numbers for 3 and 10 minutes are not well-documented. 

How often should you cold plunge to lose weight?

There is no established frequency for cold plunges specifically for weight loss. Cold exposure can have metabolic benefits, but it should be combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise for effective weight reduction. 

What happens after 30 days of cold showers?

Individuals may experience improved circulation, increased alertness, and potential benefits to mental health after 30 days of cold showers.

Profile Image Randy Green

Randy Green

Welcome to the creative world of Randy Green, a visionary designer with a passion for transforming spaces into havens of lifestyle excellence. With a rich background in crafting environments that enhance and elevate everyday living, Randy and the Team at StaycationHQ are your go-to experts for turning dreams into functional and awe-inspiring spaces.
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