Cold water therapy, also known as cold immersion therapy or cold-water immersion, has been gaining popularity in recent years as a method to improve physical and mental health. Cold water therapy comes in different forms, whether that be an ice bath, a cold shower, wild swimming or more.
While cold water therapy can provide numerous benefits, it is important to be aware of the do’s and don'ts to ensure a safe and effective experience.
Do’s of Cold Water Therapy
Do start slow:
Remember, building up your tolerance will take time. Begin with shorter sessions, such as 30 seconds, and gradually increase the time as your body becomes more accustomed to the cold water and you nail your response.
Do stay aware of your body:
Listen to your body and pay attention to any discomfort or pain you may feel. You don’t want to push yourself too hard too quickly. Our top tip is always to exit consciously and whilst you’re still having fun!
Do breathe deeply:
It is going to shock your system and can sometimes take your breath away. If you focus on your breathing, take your time, and really centre your thoughts, you will help to calm the nervous system and reduce feelings of panic or anxiety.
Do warm up afterwards:
After exiting the cold water, warming up your body to prevent hypothermia is important. Try doing some light exercise, Wim Hof’s horse stance or wrapping yourself in a warm blanket.
Don'ts of Cold Water Therapy
Do not overdo it:
Cold water therapy can be beneficial, but it is important not to overdo it. Like anything new, you need to build your tolerance and ensure your safety. Start with cold showers and work up your duration until you’re ready for something colder.
Do not do start without advice if you have medical conditions:
If you have medical conditions, such as heart disease, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before trying cold water therapy. Cold water therapy can have adverse effects on some medical conditions and can be dangerous if not done correctly.
Do not quit after one dip:
Make a routine that works for you and do your best to stick to it. Repetition is where the scientific backed evidence is so you need to find a way to make it work in your daily routine. It gets easier the more you practice and the benefits are delivered by the heaps!
It is important to be aware of the dos and don'ts to ensure a safe and effective experience. By starting slow, staying aware of your body, and following the recommended guidelines, you can reap all of the benefits of cold water therapy while minimising the few risks.
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Continue reading by visiting the journal: A journey into ice water: From cold showering to ice baths