Chill Out
I Tried An Ice Bath & Cryotherapy Is Not For The Weak

A Play-By-Play Of An Ice Bath From A Girl With Zero Pain Tolerance

I think I found my new personality trait.

I have always been someone with an extremely low tolerance for being uncomfortable. If my tummy hurts, everyone will know. If my hands feel even the slightest bit dry, I will wreak havoc on whomever is in my periphery. So the idea of sitting in an ice bath for any amount of time sounds like my worst nightmare. Why would I dunk my body into a *freezing* tub... on purpose??

Obviously, there has to be a method to people’s madness. Athletes like Patrick Mahomes are habitual ice bath users; Harry Styles took the plunge in 2022; months later, Kendall Jenner opted for the same because, in her own words, “self-love is so important”; and her older sister Kim Kardashian often touts its benefits.

“This is wild that I’m doing this,” Kardashian said of her ice bath foray at Remedy Place, a social wellness club located in West Hollywood, California, and in New York City’s Flatiron neighborhood, in September 2022, noting that it didn’t feel overly uncomfortable once she got past the initial shock.

For Many, The Pros Of Ice Baths Outweigh The Cons

According to Dr. Scott Palmer, an internal medicine physician (who has been a medical team physician for the Chicago Bulls and White Sox since 2005), an ice bath is like a “natural bio hack to help our bodies improve our health.”

I love a good hack, so he had my attention. “A little bit of stress — whether it’s cold or heat — can be very beneficial,” he says. “That stress helps to ramp up pathways so you’re invigorated.”

Kim Kardashian/Instagram
Kim Kardashian/Instagram

Palmer also calls out its benefits for muscle recovery, blood flow, and pain reduction. I’m not normally a fan of stress, but this sounded like the good kind.

As an added bonus, in a study published by the National Library of Medicine, researchers found that cold water immersion can actually have positive effects on brain functioning, even resulting in a mood boost.

So, it was settled. I was going to partake in a yassified ice bucket challenge.

What To Expect In The Moments Leading Up To Your Ice Bath

Like Kim K, I headed to Remedy Place for my cryotherapy experience and was welcomed by the warmest professionals who comforted me about the journey ahead. One led me to a Zen room filled with ice baths, and pointed me to the tub where I would be spending the next six minutes.

I selected a Charli XCX medley for my soundtrack (“Ice, Ice, Baby” was in the running but felt too on the nose), and soon enough, my facilitator was saying, “Three, two, one.”

This experience was like no other, so I documented my pre-, mid-, and post-ice bath thoughts so you can decide whether you want to dive into this chilly, chilly world. (Spoiler alert: It kind of rocked.)


1 hour before: Do people shave for an ice bath?

It all started with the age old question: Do I shave for my gyno? Then: Do I shave for a Harry Styles concert? Now: Do I shave for an ice bath? I went for it, since I was wearing a high-cut swimsuit that really shows all.

10 minutes before: I have to stay in there for how long?!

I had assumed that this was more of a jump-in, jump-out situation. But with only a few minutes to spare, my facilitator explained that it lasts six minutes.

“Oh, but people don’t stay in there the whole time, right?” I asked. She responded by sharing that she’s never had someone *not* stay in there the whole six minutes, and I could not be the person that ruined her streak.

I just pictured her having to say to the next person: “I’ve never had anyone not stay in the whole six minutes. Oh, except for this one girl...” Couldn’t be me.

1 minute before: I know what has to be done.

Working out, running errands, climbing my NYC walk-up — usually I do the bare minimum in terms of effort. But every so often, I enter what I refer to as Beast Mode, where I really go hard, giving kind of unhinged frat-boy energy.

I knew that in order to make it through these six minutes, I would need to be my beast self. “LFGGGG,” I said, internally.


I’m pretty sure these were the first words that came out of my mouth after splashing in.

Two seconds in: I’m so happy with my song choice.

I’m 100% sure that these were the second words that came out of my mouth after splashing in. “Speed Drive” by Charli XCX was the move.

1 minute in: This is extremely horrible.

This is right around when my Beast Mode started to wear off and I realized how terrible my body was feeling. What did I think I was doing, cold plunging like this? I can’t even take a lukewarm shower. I’ve washed my hair in the sink, more than once, because of this issue.

2 minutes in: Let me make conversation with my ice bath facilitator so as to not feel my bodily sensations.

If you’re seeing this, I hope your dance auditions went well, and thank you for distracting me from the pain I was feeling.

3 minutes in: I think I’m actually going !@#$%.

I tried to chat with my new bestie, but I was acting like a looney tune. My teeth were chattering. My lips were turning purple. I was saying absolute nonsense. I started telling her about how I wanted to look really hot the following night and asked whether the ice bath would help with that. Not my best social interaction ever, one might say.

5 minutes in: Hooray for no feelings.

“I’m starting to feel numb,” I told my new friend. “That’s good,” she said. “It will make it hurt less.” We both laughed. From my nipples down, I had little to no feeling — I was completely here for it. This was a turning point in my ice bath. Beast Mia was back.

5 minutes, 57 seconds in: OHMYGOD, I CAN COME OUT?!

The most exciting words I could ever hear came out of my facilitator’s mouth; I could have kissed her.

1 minute after: No one in the world is as strong as me.

I can do anything. “You did so great!” she told me. On the outside I said thank you, and on the inside I thought, “What, like it’s hard?”

10 minutes after: Should I become an ice bath person?

I’ve been looking for a new personality trait, and I think this may be a great option for me. You feel better than everyone else who didn’t do an ice bath that day, plus there are awesome health benefits. A win-win.

If you’re looking for a sign to try an ice bath, this is it. I promise, if I — Zero Pain Tolerance Girl — can do it, so can you.

Juan Algar/Getty Images

Expert cited:

Dr. Scott Palmer, board-certified physician in internal medicine

Study cited:

Yankouskaya, Ala, et al. “Short-Term Head-out Whole-Body Cold-Water Immersion Facilitates Positive Affect and Increases Interaction between Large-Scale Brain Networks.” Biology, vol. 12, no. 2, 29 Jan. 2023, p. 211,