infrared sauna vs ice bath

Infrared Sauna vs Ice Bath – Which Is Better?

Taking the plunge in an ice bath or unwinding in an infrared sauna session stand out as two of the trendiest wellness and recovery methods at the moment, and there’s a solid reason behind their popularity. 

Whether you’re leaning more towards the exhilarating chill of an ice bath or the comforting heat of an infrared sauna, in this blog, we will help you understand the key differences between both as we dive deeper into the benefits associated with each and highlight which could be better for your health and recovery depending on your health and wellness goals.

What is a Sauna?

Simply put, a sauna is a small room or space designed to provide dry or moist heat sessions, typically for relaxation, health and wellness purposes.

Saunas have been around for a long time and are found in various cultures around the world, the two main types being dry saunas and steam saunas. For further clarification around the differences between the two types, check out our debate on infrared sauna vs steam sauna.

3 person infrared sauna from Sun Stream Saunas UK

At Sun Stream Saunas UK, we have multiple locations across the country for you to try an infrared sauna before you purchase, so you can experience what it actually feels like and the benefits you will get from having one!

What is an Ice Bath?

An ice bath, also known as cold water immersion or cryotherapy, is a therapeutic practice involving immersing the body, typically up to the chest, in ice-cold water for a set duration. The water temperature is usually around 10-15 degrees Celsius. 

Health Benefits Comparison

Both infrared saunas and ice baths have varying benefits. Let’s take a look at the key advantages of both:

Infrared saunas benefits include:

  • Deep Relaxation: The gentle, radiant heat of infrared saunas induces a deep state of relaxation, helping to reduce stress and tension.
  • Anti-aging: A classic use of infrared light is to help increase collagen production in the skin and reduce scarring. 
  • Detoxification: Infrared saunas promote deep sweating at lower temperatures, facilitating detoxification of metals and impurities from the body.
  • Skin Purification: The increased circulation and sweating during sauna sessions can contribute to clearer and healthier-looking skin.
Small 1 person infrared sauna UK from Sun Stream Saunas UK

Ice bath benefits include:

  • Enhanced Alertness: The shock of cold water can stimulate the nervous system, increasing alertness and mental focus.
  • Reduced Muscle Soreness: Immersing the body in cold water can help alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness, especially after intense physical activity.
  • Accelerated Recovery: Ice baths are often used by athletes to speed up the recovery process by promoting muscle repair and minimising downtime between training sessions.

So, What is Actually Better?

It could be said that infrared saunas may have a slight advantage over ice baths as they can offer a more comfortable and enjoyable experience, making them a preferred choice for individuals who find extremely cold water challenging, particularly in winter.

However, when choosing between the two, it ultimately comes down to your overall health and wellness goals. Both have scientifically supported benefits for athletic performance and recovery, weight loss, metabolic and mental health, sleep… the list goes on! 

If you are looking to buy an infrared sauna for your home, get in touch with us today!