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  • Writer's pictureNicola McCabe

Benefits of Cold Water Therapy: What You Need to Know


Cold water therapy - love it or hate it?

Unless you know me very well, you probably won't realise that my teeth chatter, and I shiver all over at the thought of plunging into a cold bath. Call me old fashioned, but baths are for hot water, not cold. Since adding the cold plunge baths to our Cotswold range, I have not even been slightly tempted to try it out. Or have I?


Thankfully, our Facebook followers took the pressure off me and instead they encouraged Tim to take the cold water dip challenge. On Friday, 16th February, he completed it with a hint of pride and a smirk of satisfaction. I was genuinely surprised by his reaction. If you missed, you can watch it now to see how he coped in the first few seconds. Does it inspire you to take the plunge?


 




Keeping it in the family - like father, like daughter

According to recent health studies, cold plunging is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels. Tim’s daughter Chloe and her family have already started their daily cold plunge routine. Chloe begins her day with 2 minutes in a cold bath. Afterwards, she says her energy levels are higher and she is ready to take on the challenge of juggling work and parenting.


After a bit of gentle persuasion, her husband Chris, once a very reluctant cold-tubber, now kick-starts his day with cold water therapy. Chris works in the construction industry and is often aching in the morning – after 2 minutes submerged in the cold water he says his legs feel like new. Too good to be true? Maybe it is mind over matter.


The last in is their 7-year-old daughter, Eliza. A quick dip is enough for her but it makes her laugh and puts her in a happy frame of mind. So essentially, she is in a much better mood for school. For 4-year-old Etta it is a definite No. Hopefully she will grow to like it because one of the benefits of cold water plunging, especially for youngsters, is that it has the potential to help focus a child’s mind.


As you are probably aware, nowadays, more children are reported to be suffering from mental health issues. This is often brought on by peer pressure at school and on social media, and confusion or stress within the family or friendship groups. Under close adult supervision, children can use cold-water plunging to regulate their mood, breathing and thoughts.



According to Wim Hoff, cold water plunging for children will help them build resilience for life. He certainly has an interesting approach to parenting, and I think Etta would leave home if she lived with the iceman! 





How can a 2 to 5-minute plunge help improve your mental health?

 

  • Your mind cannot wander whilst you are in the water. 

  • You cannot stress about your problems because you have to concentrate on breathing and your body focuses on staying warm. Therefore, you are living in the moment for up to 5 minutes. 

  • For some, it may be only part of the day when you are not worrying about something else in your life. 


I'll be honest, the more I research and write, the more this cold therapy is starting to sound fantastic! And a tiny part of me is thinking about dipping my toe in the water - quite literally!

Like all alternative therapies, I believe the real benefits come over time. Long-term, cold water therapy can develop resilience, so you are better equipped to overcome many lifestyle stress factors. 


Watching from a safe distance

I am the first to admit we have a hot tub habit, and I often feel quite low when I cannot get my daily fix. So, I think this therapy will be the same. One week on from Tim’s cold-water challenge and he has been in every day. I watch from the warmth of the hot tub and practise the cold plunge in my mind. At the moment, I am imagining standing in the cold bath, and I need a good reason to give it a go in real life!



1 minute in the cold tub


Boost your metabolism

Actually, I may have already found the reason to kick-start the cold plunge habit. My recent research reveals that daily use of cold therapy can enhance your metabolism. Also, I did not know that there are different types of body fat, or that the brown fat is triggered by the cold water.


Exposure to cold temperatures makes your body work harder to regulate its core temperature. It produces more energy to stay warm, thus burning calories to produce that heat. Additionally, cold exposure may convert white fat into brown fat, further boosting metabolic rate. (The Cold Club) 

So, if I can get into the daily habit, my metabolism should improve. (More pastries for me! - That is an absolute bonus, especially when you live in France). But that is not all - cold therapy is also great for your skin. Lots of us spend time and money on lotions and potions to keep our skin looking fresh or to help ease conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Well, read on...


Are you aware that the skin is your largest organ? Ice baths can enhance blood circulation throughout your skin, resulting in a refreshed, radiant, and healthier appearance within a few minutes. Initially, the cold water causes blood vessels to constrict, but as your body warms up, blood flow improves, contributing to sustained skin health and enhanced circulation. The cold temperature from the ice bath also reduces inflammation, puffiness, irritation, itchiness, and redness.  (The Cold Club)

Bring it on

Right, that’s it - that has sold it for me. Bring on the cold plunge ice bath heaven! Ok, maybe ‘heaven’ is a step too far. But there might be ways to help create a more pleasant cold therapy environment.



2 minutes in the cold tub. Now for the hot water therapy


Perhaps think of it like hot tub bathing and transform your ice bath into a relaxing private spa retreat. 


  • Create a gentle ambience by lighting some candles around your ice tub. The soft light combined with the cold water will create a calming contrast. 

  • You could upgrade your ice bath experience by adding twinkling lights and scented sprigs, such as rosemary, eucalyptus or mint. 

  • Remember, as you immerse yourself in the ice tub, focus on your breathing. Inhale the cold fresh air and exhale the stress. Make it a mindful experience by letting go of all your worries.

  • After you finish, make sure to have a towel and warm dressing gown handy and treat yourself to a refreshing and hot herbal tea for extra warmth.


So, did my research give me good enough reasons to take a cold water plunge? It did, but it was only a quick one. I'll try to build up my resilience in the summer months.




Spring Fayre - Sunday 24th March

Our first event of the year and the new ice tub's debut, will be a local one at the Artisan Market at Moon River Snack et Bar in Saint-Junien (87200). If you would like a stall at the fayre, contact Lynne via Facebook Messenger or email moonriver.vienne@gmail.com, including a link to your website or some photos of your work.


We'll be there and will be hoping to persuade Lynne to fire up the hot tub and sauna, so that very brave visitors can try Hot & Cold therapy on the day. You never know, you might actually like it.

Happy Hot Tubbing!





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