Over the past few years, cold water immersion has gone from the extreme niche of polar plunges to the hottest wellness trend. The market research company Transparency Market Research put the cold plunge tub market at $378 million in 2022, and it’s expected to grow to $550 million by 2031.
It might sound like torture to some, but the benefits are out there: One review of studies found there are potential preventative health effects like tolerance to stress and respiratory infections, improvements in the cardiovascular system, and improved insulin sensitivity. Others have found cold water immersion can lower depression and anxiety.
Mark Palchak is a cold water devotee. Wanting the option for a quick shower or bath brought down to the cold temperatures required, he noticed a lack of options to get the water from his tap in his bathroom down far enough. So he made the option himself and started Silient.
Silient is the only product that gets you a cold shower and a cold bath in your own tub by hooking up directly to a home’s water line. There’s no biweekly maintenance, filters, reused dirty water, or filling outdoor water troughs with ice. Not to mention no need to dedicate backyard or garage space to said tub.
Temperature control down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit that comes straight from the tap lines already in your home. Convenience is key here. It only makes sense that fewer barriers in the way of getting in that cold water means fewer excuses to actually taking the plunge. Silient is about as barrier free as it can get: there are no chemical treatments or filter like what’s needed for a pool, and since it’s coming from the tap you don’t have to change the water each time.
Without Silient, exactly how cold your standard tap water gets depends on where you live, the season, and what the weather is like outside. The Cleveland Clinic puts the average down to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit–far from the temperature that dedicated cold enthusiasts desire. In-house piping leads to water that’s at about the temperature the thermostat is set, while underground piping leads to water around 55 degrees. Where your water comes from also matters, as outdoor reservoirs send in warmer water in the summer than the winter. In short, there are a lot of variables that go into how cold your tap water gets. Salient manages those variables for consistently cold water on demand.
Silient is usually connected to the hot water line for older homes, so pushing the knob all the way to one side and pressing the cold on button through the app will release the cold water (new home builds can have a separate cold line, however). The water is available at the touch of a button since it waits in an insulated tank. Once it’s emptied, the tank automatically refills and chills again–a process that takes between two and four hours depending on ambient conditions and if the home has the Silient Model L or Model LM.
The Model L is for those who just need cold showers, and can hold cold water for up to a 12 minute shower as low as 40 degrees. The larger Model LM holds enough water for a 20 minute cold shower or to fill a bathtub up to 80 gallons. The Model L has an insulated 45-gallon tank, while the LM has an 80-gallon tank. Both have all of the connections needed, control through the Silient app, as well as delivery and installation with a ship time of up to two months. With normal use, Silient adds 50 to 60 cents per day to energy bills.
Cool Material caught up with Palchak to learn more about the motivation for starting Silient and the benefits it has over the many tub options available.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Cool Material: What was your motivation for starting Silient?
Mark Palchak: My primary motivation was I wanted one, and I searched around online for an option to cool my shower and it just wasn’t available other than a couple of random DIY sites. I don’t have time for DIY and wanted an off-the-shelf option.
There’s not a ready-made option on the market in terms of competition, but cold therapy has definitely trended up in conversation for the past couple of years. Why is now a good time to launch a product like Silient?
This is a short term trend that is based on a timeless practice. This to me doesn’t represent a fad when it lines up with something that people have done for 2,000, 3,000 years. There’s that short term press in the moment, but behind it you have thousands of years of people doing this and that gets me excited.
When you actually do it, you see that no, this is not bullshit. After you get done, you feel like a complete badass. If you do it in the morning then you’re going to have a better day, it’s very simple. And philosophically, doing hard things makes other hard things easy. So if the first thing you do in the morning is jump in 40 degree water, you can bet that 11 o’clock meeting is going to go smoother.
Can you tell me more about the temperature goals here? Why down to 40?
We wanted it to be useful for the most hardcore cold therapy enthusiasts. You can do it at 45, or at 55, or slowly decrease the temperature [on different sessions] over time so you get more and more benefit. For the most hardcore, 55 degrees does not feel that cold. We wanted to make sure that we have a premium top of the line offering for all people to experience cold therapy conveniently in their own home.
What makes Silient stand out from the other cold immersion options available for homes?
We wanted to give people the option for both at a reasonable price point compared to the higher end baths out there. When I’m coming back from a run, I just want something very quick and immediate. I want to shower off and experience the absolute euphoria of cold therapy immediately following a workout. Or to get that cold immersion right when I jump out of bed.
But there are some people who already have a cold bath, and they just want to be able to take cold showers. So we needed a selection process for anybody who’s out there.
Also, nobody else is really going to be able to do this as good as we are because of the patents that will protect the technology and delivery system. We’re building this to be a 10-year product with the most premium core components. It’s something you never have to think about, it just works every day for a long period of time.
What has been the response so far?
The response has been enormous. People love the idea of it–especially in geographies where you can’t get easy access to really cool water year-round. Even in Chicago in the summer, your cold water coming of the tap is around 70, 75 degrees. That’s not going to get you the benefits of cold therapy for those months out of the year.
Lead image courtesy of Silient