Following the COVID-19 dramas over the previous two and a half years I have found myself joking about ice baths with clients and thought I might elaborate on my experience of getting cold.
An immediate family member of mine has Long COVID and is registered with the Long COVID clinic which includes some time to speak with a sports physiologist. This chat happened only recently and the long and the short of it was that there are no quick fixes, and the medical profession is still searching for ways to ease the symptoms of Long COVID. However, one of the sports physiologist recommendations was to look up a guy called Wim Hof and cold-water therapy.
With nothing to lose I decided to do some research and down the rabbit hole I went.
What I discovered was a whole ice bath movement initiated by a Dutch extreme athlete also known as the Iceman. He holds numerous world records for putting his body through torturous cold related feats, like running on ice barefoot, swimming under sea ice for over 50 meters and sitting in tubs of ice for close to 2 hours.
It seems that there are numerous health benefits achieved by getting cold and it doesn’t need to be that extreme. Cold therapy can have a good and positive effect on our own health for those without Long COVID; but there are many stories of cold therapy helping with complaints of Long COVID symptoms.
The advantages of cold therapy are reported to be;
- You boost your immune system
- Reduced inflammation
- Mood enhancement
- Better sleep
- Enhanced fat burning
- Long COVID treatment
Trying to work out how to access cold therapy started with finishing my shower under the cold tap and is now moving to putting ice in the bath. The consensus is that the following conditions should apply to achieve a benefit:
- The temperature needs to be 15 degrees Celsius (or less)
- With exposure of 3 minutes (or more) each time
- A minimum of 11 minutes per week in total
Many clients ask me how my family member with Long COVID is going and I explain the going is slow and the medical profession’s suggestion is to have a cold shower.
I have been surprised to hear stories of my clients finishing their showers under the cold tap for years; and a few have even told me they jump in their swimming pool in winter! Who would have thought … certainly not me … but I can see the potential benefits.