When we say “cold” we mean anywhere below 16°C. A typical “ice bath” is 5-10°c. Brass Monkey Ice Baths can be set anywhere between 0.1-10°c. The rule is, it has to be cold enough to be uncomfortable, to create a feeling of “Sh*t, I need to get out, but I can stay in, safely”.
Only you know what that feeling is like, it’s personal to every individual, and your threshold of discomfort will get higher as your tolerance for the cold increases. Seek out a feeling of discomfort, whatever is for you personally. It’s important to note that this will change from time and day to day based on your mental state, level of tiredness, where you’ve done a workout, or been in the sauna, etc. For example, evening cold showers are typically harder than morning showers. Cold showers after a bout of illness can feel harder than before you fell ill. Common sense applies at all times.
Know your “Why”
It can sound a little ‘new age’ when someone says, ‘know your intention’, but in the case of cold water immersion, it’s very useful. For some, the cold is simply a tool. For others, it’s a way of reducing inflammation after intense exercise. For many of our clients, it’s a pain management tool or
a way of keeping their symptoms in check. It’s also a mental health aid for those who find respite in the kick of norepinephrine and dopamine generated naturally in the body from cold exposure. Evidence also suggests it builds mental resilience. Your method doesn’t matter. What does matter is knowing your “why”. This will encourage you to stay committed and to help measure its effects on your mind and body.
Do it deliberately
When we talk about ‘deliberate cold exposure’, the word ‘deliberate’ is key. In our Deliberate Cold Exposure (DCE) Guide, by ‘deliberate’, we mean fully and intentionally immersing the body in cold water in order to gain health benefits. It matters in how our mind and body connect. Our mindset changes our beliefs about something we do and how it affects our physiology. There is a difference between something we choose to happen to us versus something that happens to us that we don’t want or expect. Belief even changes our biochemistry. Check out Dr Bruce Lipton if you’d like to know more about that.
It’s about the journey
Cold exposure can be a part of your journey to build a stronger mind and body consciously and measurably. So, take it slowly. DCE as a therapy is a practice. If it doesn’t leave you with a ‘wow feeling’ then you are probably missing the benefit. Yes, it should be challenging, and uncomfortably cold, and it can be kept fun – and it’s important that it is! It’s your responsibility to ensure you’re doing it safely and, you must know your own threshold, and you can only do that by experimenting. So please, be cautious at first. Focus on cold showers or ‘warmer’ bodies of cold water (10°C or
over). Always be sensible. Diving into an icy lake is not a good first step, though this is something you can absolutely work towards, and much faster than you think. Whenever you push your boundaries, it can be wise to have a buddy in attendance who can be on standby if needed.
If you’d like to continue reading, check out our FREE full Deliberate Exposure Guide.