Hydrotherapy Coldwater Immersion
Need a reset? Need to gain a new perspective? Need to cleanse your spirit?
This weekly dose of wellness will invigorate your being, inspire youthful joy, and bring a smile to your face.
From polar plunges to ice baths, hydrotherapy is all the rage these days. Hydrotherapy is essentially water therapy. It can involve immersing oneself in hot or cold water to improve health and well-being. Ask anyone who practices this restorative and relaxing ritual regularly and they will probably rattle off a whole list of benefits and tell you how good it makes them feel.
I have a long history of plunging into cold water. I suppose you can say it’s in my blood, ancestral memory of my Finnish heritage embracing the tradition of heading straight from the heat of the cedar sauna into the frigid cold-water lakes. Growing up in Washington, I learned the benefits of cold water at a young age and spent a lot of hours immersed in the cold salty water on Hood Canal. Around the age of 9, I went camping and anxiously accepted the challenge to jump into frigid water in my quest to earn the Polar Bear Swim patch. I quickly learned that this cold water immersion exercise invigorated me to my core and made me feel alive! It has since become my rejuvenating, renewing reset. Coldwater immersion continued with me into college adventures- diving into alpine lakes and soaking in cold mountain streams. I packed this healing medicine into my first aid kit for life. It is a powerful and primal ritual that ignites my spirit at its very core.
At 45, my lifelong practice is going strong. It is a routine I have cultivated into a habit that has traveled with me around the world. Throughout my career as a wilderness guide, I realized the importance of sharing this exercise with others and started incorporating it into weekly itineraries. Through inviting my community of guests, friends, and colleagues to join me, it became a sort of team-building initiative. I remind others that Katherine Hepburn took a cold shower every day just to build character and that this healing, cleansing ritual, will absolutely leave you feeling amazing afterward. There is also something very powerful about coming together for a ceremonial soak in the sea. Culturally, the world over, humans have been experiencing the healing power of water since the beginning of time. From baptisms to healing renewal and spiritual cleansing, hydrotherapy is a sure way to stimulate your senses and connect to source.
Here are just a few benefits of how taking a vital plunge into cold water can be beneficial to your health:
- Invigorates the mind, body, and spirit
- Improves immunity: cold water helps to increase white blood cell count and protect your body against disease. An increased metabolic rate stimulates the immune response. (www.wimhofmethod.com)
- Causes blood vessels to constrict nourishing organs with blood, and stimulates muscles and increases circulation
- Improves blood flow to the skin, flushes veins, arteries, and capillaries (www.iprshealth.com)
- Strengthens tissues, decreases inflammation, and reduces pain and swelling. According to Medical Xpress, “the cold and pressure on the body from immersion can theoretically reduce the body’s inflammatory response.”
- Improves your overall mood and mental health, and is even said to improve your sleep: Swimming in cold water and immersing yourself in nature’s splendor is just simply good for the soul and will leave you feeling high on life. Saltwater gives off negative ions that produce biochemical reactions and increase serotonin. (www.webmd.com)
To learn more, please read “Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body” by Mooventhan and Nivethitha: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4049052/
3 WAYS TO GET YOUR DOSE OF HYDROTHERAPY
- Try CONTRAST HYDROTHERAPY: Alternate hot and cold water. You can try this for 30 seconds at the end of your daily shower, by simply turning the dial to cold!
- COLD WATER SWIMMING: swim in your nearest body of cold water (Safety is advised. Participants should know how to swim, go with a buddy and be aware of the signs of hypothermia and be familiar with their local body of water: tides and currents, etc. Please visit www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com for more information.
- LEARN THE WIMHOF METHOD: Take cold therapy to the next level with whole-body cryo (ice) therapy and attend a WIMHOF course. Visit: www.wimhofmethod.com to learn more.