Andrew Huberman 8 Reasons You Should Buy an Ice Bath Tub - Ascendment

Andrew Huberman - Why You Should Cold Plunge

Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman is at the forefront of new developments when it comes to optimizing the human mind and body. Studies suggest that cold water exposure has a number of health benefits. But how exactly can investing in an ice bath tub improve our physical and mental performance?

What is Cold Water Exposure?

Cold water exposure is when you purposefully put your body in cold water for a short period of time to reap the physical and mental health benefits it provides. American neuroscientist Andrew Huberman is a big advocate for cold water exposure using an ice bath tub. 

The 8 Main Benefits of Cold Water Exposure

Andrew Huberman and several recent studies suggest that consistent cold water exposure can provide the following benefits:

  • Releases high levels of dopamine for a prolonged period
  • Boosts mood
  • Increases focus
  • Increases motivation
  • Reduces muscle soreness
  • Aids recovery after exercise
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases your metabolism & reduces bodyfat

How to Perform Cold Water Exposure

You can perform cold water exposure by purchasing a dedicated ice bath tub or by having cold showers. Andrew Huberman advises getting in cold water in the first hour or so after waking. He states that cold water exposure “has the advantage of increasing not just adrenaline, but dopamine which is a molecule involved in motivation and focus. So, this is great for waking up.”

By investing in an ice bath and performing cold water exposure outside in the first hour of waking you are also regulating your circadian rhythm. This tells the body when to be alert and when to rest. By getting light exposure first thing in the morning, it tells the body that we are awake. Artificial light can throw off our circadian rhythm but by getting natural light exposure soon after we wake up our bodies know when it’s time to sleep at night. In turn, this can improve our sleep quality.

Huberman mentions there are three main approaches to exposing your body to cold water:

  1. “One is to try to try and relax yourself. To try and practice slow breathing, try and dilate your gaze, go into panoramic vision to essentially try and calm yourself so that it’s not as stressful in the cold.”
  2. “Other people, however, take the approach of trying to ramp up their level of internal autonomic arousal – meaning to get really energized and lean into the friction of the cold. And they find that easier.”
  3. “Other people distract themselves – they recite the alphabet or they do anything to try and distract themselves from the discomfort.”

It doesn’t matter which approach you take because the dopamine release is triggered no matter what and continues even after you get out of the cold water.

In terms of the method you use, Andrew Huberman states that the body being submerged in cold water up to the neck is more effective than taking cold showers where only certain parts of the body will be exposed to the cold water at one time.

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How Long Should I Stay in an Ice Bath?  

Andrew Huberman recommends performing 1-3 minutes of cold water exposure 2-4 times per week. Research suggests that 11 minutes per week spread over multiple sessions is optimal.

Spreading out your cold water exposure between multiple sessions will help to keep your dopamine levels elevated throughout the course of the week.

Does Cold Water Exposure Release Dopamine?

Perhaps the most important benefit of cold water exposure is the increased levels of dopamine that is released into the body. Dopamine is known as “the feel-good hormone” and it’s linked to our mood, motivation, focus and alertness.

Andrew Huberman states that, “There’s a paper published in the European Journal of Physiology and it showed that there’s a 2.5X, a huge increase in dopamine release that is very long-lasting.”

He continues, “2.5X is the amount of dopamine that’s triggered by the use of cocaine. But the difference is cocaine has a very sharp peak on it and then it falls, which is why people become habitual users. Obviously not a good thing to use cocaine at all, frankly. But this long sustained increase in dopamine from cold water exposure of anywhere from 1-3 minutes is really powerful.”

Does Cold Water Exposure Reduce Bodyfat?

Another key benefit of ice baths is they can be a catalyst for fat loss. Andew Huberman states that “When you get into cold water, as long as you don’t stay in there until the point you start becoming hypothermic, you are actually increasing your metabolism and body heat.”

A 2021 study by Susanna Soberg showed that 11 minutes cold exposure per week is the sweet spot for increased brown fat thermogenesis, which can boost core body metabolism. This increase in core body metabolism means more calories are burned.

The study showed that cold water exposure has an effect on the types of fat that are stored in the body. White fat doesn’t burn many calories and it essentially stores energy for when the body needs it later. However, cold water exposure converts white fat into beige and brown fat in the body. Beige fat and brown fat act as fuel that can increase core body temperature. They are very good at raising our metabolism which helps to burn white fat. Having more beige and brown fat can increase the number of calories you burn in a day which speeds up fat loss in the way we know it.

Cold Water Exposure After the Gym

Cold water exposure can help to reduce muscle soreness and boost recovery after a gym workout. However, Huberman says to avoid cold water exposure 4-6 hours after a workout as the anti-inflammatory effects of cold exposure can actually limit hypertrophy.


Taking cold showers or buying an ice bath for cold water exposure have numerous physical and mental health benefits. The exposure to the cold releases the feel-good hormone dopamine into the body. Dopamine levels increase by around 2.5X of normal levels. This boosts mood, increases focus, and increases motivation.

Cold water exposure also reduces muscle soreness which aids recovery after exercise, reduces inflammation in the body, and speeds up our metabolism which can help with fat loss.

The key is performing short 1-3 minute sessions multiple times per week with research suggesting a total of 11 minutes speed across a week is the optimal amount of cold water exposure to reap the health benefits.

Check out the Top 5 Cold Plunges & Ice Baths to Buy in 2024 for All Budgets

Ice Barrel - Shop Now for Cold Plunge Ice Bath Tubs
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