Cold Plunge:

February 2024 is three years since I have made the decision to make cold water immersion part of my life. I was inspired by the Ice Man himself, Wim Hof, seeing him on some reality show sparked my interest. Wim Hof is a Dutch fanatic of the ice-cold full body immersion therapy, with an interesting life story.

The Cold Plunge, as it is known, is a full body dip into very cold water usually in a specially designed barrel, tub, pool or large modified freezer; if you don’t have the luxury of living near a natural body of water that is cold enough to facilitate this therapeutic value upon your body.

The water must be cold enough to facilitate a physiological bodily response. Anywhere from 52* degree Fahrenheit to 33* degree Fahrenheit. This is a very large range, and the colder spectrum should be practiced by acclimated enthusiasts only, in my opinion. Although many are brave enough to start with the colder temperature water.

The health benefits are tremendous, and all it takes is will power and understanding of how to best acclimate for you specifically, because everyone has a different tolerance to the cold water and starting this practice needs to be as painless and tolerable as possible for you.

According to Wim Hof and to the science, it takes about two minutes of full body immersion to reach the desired physical and physiological effect, that is, a positive effect on the Parasympathetic portion of the Automimic Nervous System. Including, the squeezing and pumping of fluid flow of the lymphatic system, the strengthening of the immune system, effect on heart rate, breathing rate and most importantly the stimulation and corrections of the craniosacral mechanism. Consistency and longevity in the wim hof method will surely improve your health and your life.

The effect of the freezing water is that of vigor, rejuvenation, restoration, regulation and relaxation. It’s a whole body and mind experience. As the body’s function and structure improve so does the communication between the mind-body complex.

Benefits include more focus, clarity, decrease in anxiety, more daytime energy, diminished back and neck pain, improved cardiovascular health, improvement in sleep quality, feeling of calm and relaxation, improvement in various symptoms, and complete reversal in many medically diagnosed conditions, etc., the benefits are numerous.

What inspired me to write this blog is a recent experience I had at a sauna where I started my cold plunge journey exactly three years ago. Truth be told, I was super anxious about starting, as I was very afraid of the shock to my system from cold water so I decided to go slow.

I wanted to start this process with the help of some very good heat to rely on, a sauna. I knew it would be a good idea to use that in conjunction with the cold water.

After doing some research I found a good sauna in Seagate Brooklyn, called Mermaid Spa, that had exactly what I was looking for. Multiple saunas and the right temperature cold plunge, the temperature of the plunge there is between 46*-53* degrees Fahrenheit, Perfect!.

My intention was to get super warm in the sauna and then run into the cold water for a dip, then run back into the sauna to get warm. This initial practice was a success. I was determined to make this work for me. Being a Chiropractor, I knew this method would be super therapeutic. Not only did it allow me to start slow, but to my tolerance, it wound up being even better than I had imagined. The hot / cold combination offers an added benefit to the body physiologically. We were taught the benefits of heat / cold therapy in Chiropractic school as it pertains to injuries, inflammation and healing. So I knew it couldn’t be wrong for the whole body.

I started very slowly, I remember the first time was literally fast walking from the hot sauna into the water, dipping myself to my shoulders and immediately coming out. The second round was the same, and so was the third. I had it in my head that I wanted to do six rounds of heat / cold, and submerge my head too, so the fourth round I fully submerged my head and came right out, and that’s how it pretty much ended with the six rounds of hot and cold on that first visit to Mermaid spa.

I committed to this on a weekly basis and that’s how it went for some weeks, until I felt I was able to go more in the cold water, 10 seconds, then 15, 20, and finally I got up to 30 seconds, and from 30 seconds I finally made the leap to 2 minutes. This all took me a responsible 6 months.

The reason I was able to jump from 30 seconds to 2 minutes is because as luck would have its coincidence, at Mermaid spa I met a cold plunge instructor certified by Win Hof himself, who happened to be active and was planning on teaching the method in a half day seminar that was coming up, which would also include a breathing component of Wim’s teachings. I signed up for it and since that seminar have been building tolerance to the cold ever since, currently three to five times per week in my home, and without the need for the sauna.

I no longer rely solely on the sauna and have installed a small portable plastic tub in my back yard, but still enjoy going to Mermaid spa as often as possible for the hot / cold therapy I enjoy immensely.

And at the time of this writing, I can stay in for up to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the water. For example, in 34* degree Fahrenheit water I can stay in for 6 minutes comfortably without getting frostbite on my fingers and toes and without overwhelming my body too much.

And here’s what brings me to the next point and the inspiration in writing this blog, a question I have now, that I’m trying to find an answer to.

My last experience at Mermaid spa, (February 2024) and at the third round of immersion, as I stayed in the water I felt a pumping, pulsating sensation in my body multiple times. It was surprising but pleasant, it felt actually very soothing and relaxing, and I came out feeling super energized, feeling super awake, but yet with the urgency to yell, scream, as though something needed to come out. I went outside and did just that a few times.

I’m wondering if any long-time enthusiasts have ever experienced this pulsating bodily sensation phenomenon?

My recommendation to anyone thinking about this healing practice to first, consult with your physician, especially if you have a heart condition, and secondly, to go slow if you’re chicken shit of the cold like I was. Good Luck!

You can also find information about Wim Hof on my website page.