Free Enterprise

Utah Legalizes Cold Plunges

One of the stranger bills passed this year was a bill to, as we put it, “Legalize Cold Plunges.” As absurd as that may sound for such a harmless activity, the need for legislative intervention was very real for some spa owners in the state.

Cold plunges are a unique form of health treatment where a person sits down into a bath of ice, lowering the person’s body temperature and increasing circulatory activity. Beyond the cardiovascular benefits these types of therapies boast, one witness in committee testified that cold plunges have slowed the debilitating symptoms of her multiple sclerosis (MS). 

But in Utah, the public pool laws were written in such a way that even cold plunge therapy could be considered a public pool, as was determined by the Utah Department of Health. This determination meant that spas offering cold plunge services were subject to a slew of pricey requirements, like putting up fencing, hiring lifeguards, and more, as one would expect for a public pool. When one such spa applied to the Utah sandbox for a waiver of the law, but the waiver was rejected by the Health Department. 

Fortunately, this year Utah’s legislature passed SB 106, sponsored by Senator Curt Bramble, to amend the law and take cold plunges out of the public pool regulatory requirements. While the bill is a major win for cold plunge therapies, the entire experience of cold plunge spas serves as a reminder of why regulatory sandboxes are so important to step in and catch instances of clearly mismatched regulations.