You struggle to breathe for a moment, and the freezing water stings your skin. Ice-cold water cleanses body and mind, at least that’s the claim by cold treatment fanatics. Why are so many people hooked on this increasingly popular cold treatment?
As winter is gradually turning into spring, it is time to rinse off the darkness of winter with ice-cold water to get ready for the new season. You don’t have to be a hardened winter hero to manage cold treatment – even people who always tend to be cold can do it. Before you have time to say “Never!”, give this chilling hobby a chance and learn the effects you can become hooked on.
Natural Cold Therapy
Ice-cold water is an extreme environment for humans. The sudden change in temperature is an intense experience, which is why cold treatment sounds like an extreme sport. The health effects of cold treatment have not been scientifically studied in the long term, but improvements in cold tolerance and peripheral blood circulation and relief for back and neck pains are just a few of its potential benefits. Exposure to cold may also increase the amount of brown fat in your body, protecting against obesity, because brown fat consumes energy.
Many enthusiasts say that feeling invigorated, in body and mind, are the best things you get out of it. They attribute being ill less often, not feeling cold and no longer having migraines to their hobby, but in the absence of accurate scientific evidence, the only way to find out how your body will react is to allow yourself to be caressed by the icy water.
Still a bit crazy, you may be thinking. As being in cold water voluntarily is not what people do naturally, it is true that you have to steel yourself to do it and venture beyond your comfort zone. Even if you were not convinced about the physical benefits, overcoming yourself is a great feeling that may encourage you to give it a go.
However, before taking any cold showers or plunging into ice-cold water, you should know that people with any heart conditions or asthma should first consult a healthcare professional.
In Search of Peace of Mind
Our quick-paced society that demands high performance is keeping our brain in high gear all the time. When you are busy, thoughts fly here and there, and end up controlling us, and not vice versa. This often throws your body and mind off balance.
Standing up once in a while, shaking your body and taking a few deep breaths can restore calm in your mind. But sometimes you need a radical change in your physical environment to get your feet back on the ground – such as a cold shower in the middle of the day, or taking a dip in a lake. As for a moment you will not be able to think of anything than the coldness of the water, you head will be cleared of any other thoughts.
Afterwards you will feel serene as the icy water was washed away your worries. The joy of warmth and life will make your body purr like a cat. It is easier to simply exist, and nothing else.
Getting used to cold is easiest gradually in the shower. If you are use to steaming hot showers, start by lowering the temperature gradually and first only shower yourself very briefly with cold water. Your body and mind will get used to cold in a few weeks.
The best way to get used to cold is right after the sauna. As you have just been sweating, coldness is not so intimidating, and the mere thought of getting back in the sauna will spur you on. Some spas also have cold water pools. If you have any natural waters closely to you, such as a pond – even better! Walk to the edge of the water with shoes on to prevent from getting cold on the way. Flip-flops will do fine, but the best choice is neoprene shoes, which you can also wear while swimming.
Wearing a beanie is also a good idea. If you begin to have second thoughts, try repeating a single thing in your mind, like “Go!”, giving your mind no excuses and leaving no room for the coldness.
First just get briefly into the water, and gradually increase the time you spend in the water. Give you body a moment to adjust to the temperature of the air around you, before rushing back indoors.