For thousands of years, cultures across the globe have known the benefits of cold water bathing — in fact, all the longest-lived people of the world consider cold immersion a staple of their healthy lifestyles. Now, here in the west, an increasing number of health advocates as well as athletes have come to appreciate this simple but powerful practice. The benefits of cold immersion include:
- Better circulation
- Improved immune function & lymphatic flow
- Faster recovery & less post-exercise muscle soreness
- Greater mental clarity & reduced depression
Best of all, you don’t have to take an arctic plunge to enjoy these benefits — even brief exposure to cold water can enhance your health, your performance, and your outlook. In fact, by alternating hot & cold (known as “contrast showers”) you can actually deepen the benefits, as the natural expansion & contraction of the muscles allows for greater circulation & improved lymphatic flow, making the practice even more powerful.
How To Do It…
- Start with at least 30-60 seconds of a warm or hot shower, being sure to warm all the areas of the body.
- Turn the water as cool as you can manage, ideally all the way, again being sure to cool the whole body. Do this for 30-60 seconds before switching back to warm or hot.
- Alternate as often as you’d like, being sure to end with cold for greatest benefits.
- For even greater support of the lymph system, pay extra attention to the areas where the majority of lymph nodes are located — i.e. the backs of the knees, base of pelvis, under the arms & the base of throat/collar bone. You might also wish to work from the periphery in, again, supporting the natural flow of lymph.
So give it a try — it’s a great way to start your morning, to recover from a challenging workout, or simple to refresh your energy after a long day. Perhaps like many, you too will find this is a simple but amazing way to strengthen your immune system, speed recovery & invigorate your mind….