Disclaimer*- this column is not meant as medical advice, please consult your medical professional before embarking on any physical activity or program. This column is meant as informational only.
Awhile back I watched a video on Facebook of Russel Brand talking about ice baths/cold plunges and the benefits to one’s health.
He discussed the Wim Hof method of breathwork followed by doing a cold plunge.
He states, “after 10 days it alters your psyche,” and says the practice can increase the metabolism, decrease swelling and inflammation in the body and boost the immune system.
Brand goes on to say the practice of cold plunges can reduce buildup of brown adipose tissue and can help with fat loss, balancing hormones, improving sleep quality and can release endorphins to increase positive moods.
Tony Robins is another well-known person who recommends this practice.
The Wim Hof method includes doing breathwork of 30 breaths – inhale to hold as long as you can, then exhale the final breath, expelling and holding as long as you can, followed by a big inhale.
Brand states he then gets into the cold plunge for 5-6 minutes. You can see Brand’s full interview with Wim Hof on his podcast on Youtube if you look up, “Heal Yourself with the Ice Shaman.”
My older brother, who is also a yoga teacher, has participated in winter polar plunges for many years and has enjoyed the results. I caution you to not try this without a partner to ensure your safety.
I have never liked being cold. I lived in Wisconsin for 35 years after living on the east coast for the first five years of my life, before relocating to Texas for the past 11 years.
I have felt cold! To this day I do not like air conditioning blowing directly on me or having to put an ice pack on my body, but I understand the benefits.
rior to COVID I would visit King Spa in Dallas where they have a variety of sauna rooms, an ice room and a cold plunge pool.
I would do the cold plunge after soaking in the extremely hot pools of mineral water – and it was rough!
I’m sure I whimpered as I got into the cold pool a little at a time. I avoided the ice room altogether. I did notice a feeling of Zen and relaxation after getting out of the cold water.
On September 30 I was fortunate to go on a day yoga retreat in Emory.
One of the planned activities was a cold plunge.
We did yoga and a long breathwork session. Then it was time for the ice plunge.
Part of me likes to do things to challenge myself, but most of me really likes comfort! Getting into cold water did not sound very nice, even though it was 100-degrees outside.
I got my bathing suit on and partnered with another lady named Elizabeth to take the plunge. I womaned-up and got into the big water trough filled with ice cold water and ice. One leg, then the other…. Oh it was brutal. Then we immersed our entire bodies into the icy bath.
We stayed in for possibly two of the longest minutes I’ve experienced this decade; I talked and sang to distract myself and was a silly mess, but I made it through.
After we got out, many other pairs took the plunge. Close to the end of the activity, there was one person without a partner, so I offered myself up, determined to do just a little better to focus on my breath and try just a little harder to focus my mind. It was amazing. I got in again and was able to shift my focus much more to my breath and less to my discomfort. I felt amazing the rest of the day through more yoga sessions, followed by a deep tissue massage and a wonderful, relaxing sound bath. It was truly a blessed experience for my mind and my body.
Wishing you all good health and safety.
P.S. I am organizing a yoga fundraiser to raise money to pay for the surgery for one of my rescue dogs who recently had to have a leg amputated.
If you’d like to learn more, please visit my Facebook page and share the information about the event. We are working on securing a venue before setting the date.
https://www.facebook.com/ladyliz10 or look up “Liz Jones Wellness.”
Liz Jones is the owner of Liz Jones Wellness LLC, in Hunt and Rockwall counties, and is building Jones Wellness Ranch north of Greenville. She can be reached at Liz@LizJones.co or through her website at LizJones.co.