When you plunge yourself into chilly waters, you immediately bring yourself into your body and into the present moment. There isn’t space to think about what you have to do that day, what you’re worried about, what you’re going to have for dinner—anything, really. Instead, you feel every inch of your skin light up from the cold as you focus on staying in the discomfort.
People sometimes approach cold plunging as a test of fortitude or will (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but it can also be approached as simply another way to find pause. When you remove some of the hype and the intensity about cold plunging, you can take it for what it is: an experience that pulls you directly into the present moment.
Photo by Brit Gill
A LITTLE PRIMER ON COLD PLUNGING
As much as cold plunging might seem like a trend, it’s really nothing new. Submerging your body in cold water is something that people have done for thousands of years. There’s even evidence of cold water therapy in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece.
In parts of Europe with sauna culture—like Finland, Norway and many other Northern European countries—that sauna is sometimes accompanied by a dip in icy water to contrast it. This hot and cold water therapy can be restorative and refreshing, and doesn’t have to be anything formal—simply something that’s part of everyday life.
Photo by Luis Valdizon
WAYS TO COLD PLUNGE
1 / Your shower
Your morning shower is the perfect way to ease yourself into cold water exposure. That doesn’t mean you have to start off the day with an entirely cold shower, though. Instead, try turning the faucet to cold for 30 seconds to end your shower.
If that still feels like too much, there’s nothing wrong with starting small. Try just 10 seconds, then 15 seconds, and build your way up.
2 / An ocean or lake
Find the nearest body of water to you, and try to plunge into it. If you live in a colder country or it’s a chilly time of the year, try venturing out to the coast or find a lake or river, and immerse yourself in it.
3 / A Wood Burning Hot Tub
We talk a lot about how soothing a hot soak in a GOODLAND Wood Burning Hot Tub is, but we also love using it as a cold plunge—especially during those warm summer days.
Our hot tub is lined with aluminum and insulated. Once you fill it up with cold water and ice, the water will stay cold for several cycles, depending on the temperature outside.
COLD PLUNGE TIPS
Focus on your breath. In that moment that you immerse yourself in cold water, you might be tempted to hold your breath. Instead, make sure that you’re breathing. Pay attention to your inhales and your exhales to ground yourself in the experience, and aim to breath evenly and steadily.
Be aware of your body and your limits. Cold water immersion can feel like a push — you’re deliberately putting yourself in a physically uncomfortable situation. The experience isn’t meant to be perfectly pleasant, but listen to your body and know what feels like too much for you.
Don’t draw things out. Once you’ve decided to immerse yourself in some cold water, drawing it out by getting in slowly will just make it more unpleasant. Instead, get in fast, and let yourself feel the shock of the cold water. Get out relatively fast, too—cold plunging isn’t meant to last too long, and a minute or two is a good starting point.