Cold Therapy And How it Can Help You With Wyatt Ewing
Cold therapy has been around for a long time, and it has a lot of great benefits. The Ice Barrel is the best way to take an ice bath. It's the easiest and most accessible product out there when it comes to cold therapy. Joining Bob Roark to discuss the benefits of cold therapy is The Ice Barrel’s Founder, Wyatt Ewing. Together, they talk about the positive effects of cryotherapy on the body. Wyatt also tackles its role in staying healthy, mental conditioning and growth, and dealing with the work-from-home stresses of life. Interested to know more about cold therapy? Then tune in to learn more.
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Cold Therapy And How it Can Help You With Wyatt Ewing
We were incredibly fortunate. We have a returning guest, Wyatt Ewing. He is the Founder and CEO of The Ice Barrel. Welcome back. It’s good to see you.
Thank you, Bob. It's great to be here.
You were one of the first guests in the first cohort of being on the show and you had the distinction of being one of the most widely downloaded episodes. Congratulations. Well done on that. Lots of interest in what you had to say. For the folks that didn't read the first episode, tell us about The Ice Barrel. Tell us about your business and who you serve.
The Ice Barrel is the best way to take an ice bath. It's the easiest and most accessible product out there when it comes to cold therapy. It’s simple what it is. It's The Ice Barrel. We take this unique-made barrel, we fill it with ice and water, and we all jump in it, sometimes on a daily basis. Cold therapy has been around for a long time and it has a lot of great benefits. That's who we are.
For the folks who are going like, “That's unique.” There has been a recognition of the benefits of cold therapy, there's been Wim Hof, who's from out of Europe that does a lot of cold work. There's Tony Robbins that has punched tanks that he has by his house that are chilled as well. We have Tim Ferriss that does the ice in the bathtub routine. Cryotherapy is gaining because there are franchises around. For the folks that aren't aware of the benefits of cold therapy or ice baths, share with us the benefits as you understand them.
Cold therapy has been around for a long time, though it's new to some people in the US. It's not a fad. It's something that's been tried and true for a long time. It's not popular here in the west because we like to be comfortable. Whereas in this practice, the point is to get uncomfortable, which also is the best place as a human to grow is an uncomfortable situation. There are a lot of unique benefits to cold therapy that people are taking advantage of. Immune system support is a huge thing. It's one of the strongest anti-depressant and anti-anxiety practices. It’s amazing for elevating the mood, focus and clarity. There are a lot of top performers out there, both in sports, but also in business, that use it as an extra edge to get to that next level and to gain full mastery over the mind and body.
I got interested as well after our episode. I went digging around. Some of the research that's out there, there's pH level change, increase in mitochondria production, there's all of these various and sundry benefits that come from cold therapy. My first observation, when you'd see the Scandinavians, they would be in a hothouse of some kind. They'd go and jump in a hole in the ice in the middle of winter and you go, “That bunch is collectively crazy as well.” As folks are going, “What in the world?” Going back to the beginning, walk us through the steps from where you started the idea and where you are.
[caption id="attachment_5655" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Cold Therapy: Cold therapy isn't a fad. It has been around for a long time, and it's a tried-and-true practice.[/caption]
I started several years ago. I was at a low place in life. I got off of a very successful aviation career. Life wasn't going the way that I was wanting it to go. The money and the rise were not as I had hoped it would be, and it was not fulfilling as I thought it would be. I was back into that place of who am I and where am I going in life and refocusing. Thankfully somebody came to me at a gym and they were like, “You don't look good. Let me give you some breathing exercises.” I graciously accepted their advice and their insult. I was like, “I need to make some changes in life.” I started with some breath work and some cold therapy. The breath work was from Dr. Andrew Weil, who has good information, both in breathing exercises and in cold therapy. I started off taking cold showers and go into the bathtub and wanting something that was more accessible, something that I could practice on a daily basis, something that was not a stock tank, big and bulky, but my own space where I could go and practice this meditation in a barrel.
That’s how it all started. I was looking for something different. I saw a barrel and I was like, “This would be the perfect thing.” We went out, we'd had a wood prototype. We ran with that for a while and it was good and there was a lot of interest in that, but we also wanted something that we could scale. The wood one was a lot harder than this new product because we could only make about five a week. Whereas with this new product, we can do 15 to 20 a day. We wanted something different and we put the work in, many hours and a lot of time and energy. We were able to pull out this new product and made it durable, portable, accessible for anybody in any place. You can have it in a nice home, or you can have it out in your apartment complex on the 30th floor, out on the balcony. We tried to make something that would be for everybody that has interest or is already practicing some form of cold therapy.
In practical terms, anybody that's ever moved a large wooden barrel fully appreciates the logistics of trying to get that done. I can remember the first time you got in The Ice Barrel on the back porch. It is a pretty barrel, but you go, “That’s got to weigh a ton.” They do. I grew up not far from the Jack Daniel’s distillery. I'm aware of empty barrels. I didn't empty them, but I know what they look like and feel like. For you, you prototyped, and you have a much lighter version that's shippable, easy to move around with, durable, because we have dry climate, you leave it empty, then the barrel staves shrink on a wooden one. You've got all that going on. That's then. For the business, you're seeing your clientele. What are the types of clients that are buying The Ice Barrel? Who is that cohort?
We have a wide range, but for the majority of it, we have cool clients. There are people that are on the top of their industry, a lot of top athletes, top performers both in acting and music and also entrepreneurs and business owners. We ship quite a few products to Silicon Valley. Our customers are people that are looking for that additional edge. They're looking to master the mind and the body. They're intentional and focused people. I love when they reach out to us because they always have something fascinating to say, and I always liked learning from them.
The potential user of these things, there's a big focus. A lot of folks are restricted on travel. You have a growing family, about to grow larger soon. Congratulations on that. That's a good thing. I think about the stress of being cooped up and trying to stay healthy. What type of feedback are you getting from the folks bringing The Ice Barrel to their home to try to deal with the work from home stresses of life?
I'm very fortunate that I thoroughly enjoy being with my wife and kids. The more time we get together, generally, the happy we are. With that being said, there's no doubt, in family and in relationships, there are challenges. There are a lot of us that are at home with our families during this time. We have seen quite a few clients purchase the barrel and wanting to maintain a form of balance and sanity while they're all together, especially during the holiday season, which is cool because you have this place in your home where you can go out and you can let the stress and the pain affect you. You can feel it. You can get all out in the barrel. As soon as you get out of the barrel, your wife is happy to have you back. Your kids are happy that their dad is smiling. That's our experience. Nobody takes an ice bath and doesn't come out smiling. I've never seen it. We've given out hundreds and hundreds of ice baths and I've never seen anyone get out not smiling.
Why do you suppose that is? Is it relief that you survived or glad you're out?
Either one of the two.
[bctt tweet="Cold therapy elevates your mood, focus, and clarity." username=""]
I think about the premise that you have to take and put yourself in stressful situations to grow. You hear time and time again, various folks will say, “The status quo doesn't help you. You have to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow.” For the mental side of the house, in the ice drill, how do you think that contributes to that mental conditioning or growth?
It's a unique practice that you can quantify. We're in such a unique time in history where not only are we wanting instant gratification, but we're also trying to quantify our results. We're trying to measure how we are better than we were yesterday. People are always looking for that next thing. This isn't a fad. Cold therapy has been around for a long time and it's a tried-and-true practice. For that mental edge though, to be able to recondition the mind and the body to what real stress is, is important. Money, family, things like that are not stressful. What is stressful is being chased by a bear and falling into an icy river and not knowing how to deal with it. That's stressful. If we can recondition our mind and repattern our body to what real stress is, things that we deal with outside real problems, we deal with it better. We maintain a sense of balance and peace, which is important when dealing with life's challenges.
I think about comparisons. I'm a former military. At some point in time, if you don't have dirt in your food, you don't have to sleep under a tree and don't get rained on all the time, you have a definition of what a bad day looks like. It's easy to understand what a reasonably good day looks like. I think about the ability to consciously go, “I'm going to immerse myself in this bucket of ice water.” That's a mental shift. You have to get ready for that mentally. When you're getting ready to get in the barrel and then subsequently get in the barrel, is there a mental process or mindset that you adopt in route to doing that?
The first thing that always goes through my head is, “This 5, 10, 15 minutes is going to be the hardest part of my day. I'm going to take this short burst of stress and get some long-term relief out of it.” I get focused around it. I tend to be more of an extreme personality. I'm not the one that stands around and thinks about it all the time. I dive right into the barrel, sometimes headfirst if I have to. That does get me in trouble though at different times, but for this practice, it seems to work. I do know that for a lot of people, they have to convince themselves and work their way to getting into the barrel, which is okay because the battle with this practice starts in the mind. As soon as you conquer that battle in the mind, getting in and experiencing the relief and the endorphins, it's a powerful thing.
There are a lot of things I think about, as far as getting in and getting out, having done cold therapy before he goes, “I know it's going to end, and I know I'm not going to die.” You go, “What's the worst thing?” He'd go, “This is good for me.” You go through and you do a bit of suffering. I think about the energy use. You touched on it a bit on weight loss. What's the theory behind cold therapy and weight loss?
Cold exposure promotes brown fat. Brown fat is the good stuff that your body can burn. The shivering also helps because your body is trying to stay warm, and so your body is burning up the fat. One thing that I always talk about, it's important that you stay consistent. Whenever you're on a weight loss journey, consistency is the key. It's about making those little decisions every single day and sticking to them. Getting in The Ice Barrel is one of those small decisions every single day, or if it's three times a week. Being consistent with it is key. You have to allow your body the time to get reconditioned and to start producing brown fat. When you're using it and you're looking at it from a weight loss standpoint, it's important for you to be realistic with your expectations. It's going to take time and consistency, but the goal is to get your body to work for you. As soon as you trigger your body to go into the rest and repair mode, because it already knows what the stress mode is, it will start burning up that energy. You want to be in the rest and repair mode when your body is needing that extra energy to burn.
I was thinking about times that I've seen it. We've all seen the commercial where there are two people getting in and one is in NFL. They're getting into a tank full of ice and they do it all the time. For the athlete out there performing, what's the benefit of The Ice Barrel for that athlete? You see them get in after a game, what's the benefit?
A lot of people know athletes take ice baths after a heavy workout. If you twist your ankle, you put an ice pack on it. The idea of cold therapy being good for your muscles and for recovery, that's been around for a while and people are fairly familiar with that. The angle that I like to look at it and that I also see with a lot of top performers, they're using it for the mental edge. When you're hot and your body is heated up from a hard workout, getting into an ice bath is relaxing. It feels good. Especially being out here in Ohio, after a hot day of working outside and cutting up some trees, getting in The Ice Barrel feels amazing. The unique part about it as well, more so than the physical benefits or the mental benefits, fighting that battle in the mind up front of getting in the barrel and also practicing it when you're not after a heavy workout. When that athlete is using it on a weekly practice to get the mental benefits out of it, they create a much better attitude within themselves and they master that part of their mind.
[caption id="attachment_5656" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Cold Therapy: Cold exposure promotes brown fat. Brown fat is the good stuff that your body can burn.[/caption]
As a physical thought, how many gallons does the barrel hold?
A little over 80 gallons. You don't have to fill it all the way up, depending on your size. You can fill it up with 50 gallons. If you're a smaller person, you might sit down lower in it.
I'm thinking, “Here I have a barrel, I filled it up with water. In my case, I might be able to put two gallons in and I'll fit in and fill it up.” You take and do that. Is a 10-pound, 12-pound bag of ice enough?
It all depends on climate and location. Out here in Ohio, I don't need any ice. It's only in the southern states that you're going to need ice during the wintertime because it drops below freezing at night. Down in Florida, you're going to need a bit more ice to get the water to the desired temperature. Out here, due to the weather, I take my ice baths right around 34 degrees. I do not recommend that for everybody. A good temperature to start with is around 60 degrees, get acclimated to that. You're getting tremendous health benefits at 60 degrees. It's not the cooler you go, the healthier it is. It's the more consistent you are, the more results you're going to get. Starting with 60 degrees and work your way down, it doesn't take a lot of ice to get it to 60 degrees, maybe two 20-pound bags. I know out in the hotter climates, they'll put in 80 to 100 pounds, 4 to 5 bags of ice, but it depends.
I have to have a home to do this. The reality is, if you're in an apartment, you can get it into your apartment, put it on the deck of your apartment and function fine that way.
We shipped one out to a New York skyscraper. They were up on the 80th floor and that wouldn't want to be right below them.
You want to make sure it's not slippery when you got to get in. That could be bad news.
[bctt tweet="Nobody takes an ice bath and doesn't come out smiling." username=""]
They fit perfectly out on an apartment patio. Also, we have a neat drain spout on the bottom, you can hook a hose to it and then run the hose into your shower pan and drain it right there so you're not flooding the neighbors below you, or you can run it off to the side.
For the folks that go, “That's cool,” how does shipping work for the barrel?
We ship it UPS. We're at a 2-to-3-day turnaround on shipping, but worst-case scenario, it would be 7 to 10 days. We'll ship it UPS right to your door.
We knew that we were going to segue here. We couldn't let you out of the episode without having you jump in so everybody can see you suffer. They have a name for that of some description. For the folks before we get you in the barrel, how do people find you and The Ice Barrel on social media?
You can find us and read all about the benefits. One of my favorite pages on our website is the customer review page. If you look up www.TheIceBarrel.com, you'll be able to go, scour our website, make sure you click on the Reviews. You'll see tons of pictures of smiling faces, people in an ice barrel. You can also find us on Instagram, which we're active on. Our handle is @IceBarrel. You can find us on Facebook, @TheIceBarrel.
How many Ice Barrels do you think you have out across the planet?
It seems to be growing by word of mouth.
[caption id="attachment_5657" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Cold Therapy: The goal is to get your body to work for you. As soon as you trigger your body to go into the rest and repair mode, it will start burning up that energy.[/caption]
As soon as we announced the new product, we didn't have...