What is cold therapy?
Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is a wellness practice involving the body’s exposure to extremely cold temperatures. It’s one of the main components of the Wim Hof Method and has recently gained significant attention due to its potential health benefits.
Various individuals, from professional athletes and bodybuilders to celebrities, endorse the practice of full-body cryotherapy. This therapy involves standing in an enclosed chamber while super-cooled air circulates the body briefly. However, full-body cryotherapy can be costly and is not broadly accessible, making the Wim Hof Method an appealing, affordable alternative.
This method, which can be done at home, involves (at its most basic level) taking a cold shower, allowing you to start experiencing the benefits of cold therapy immediately.
Benefits of Cold Therapy
Regular exposure to cold temperatures has been associated with numerous health advantages. For instance, research suggests that cold exposure can boost metabolism. Additionally, it has been shown to decrease inflammation, swelling, and muscle soreness, making it a popular recovery tool for athletes who often use ice baths and similar cold treatments post-exercise. Cold therapy is also associated with enhanced sleep quality, increased focus, and a stronger immune response.
The Wim Hof Method, which incorporates cold showers and ice baths, underscores the importance of cold in achieving these benefits. Those who practice this method have reported a wide range of health improvements, from increased energy levels to relief from symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases.
What clients say
“Charlotte’s practices are insightful.
Her coaching, breathwork, and cold practices have each taught me something new.”
Why do it?
Mental and Physical Benefits
Cold therapy has numerous physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Increased metabolism: Regular cold exposure can stimulate the body’s metabolic rate.
- Reduced inflammation and swelling: Cold therapy often alleviates inflammation and swelling, particularly after physical activity.
- Muscle soreness relief: It’s a popular recovery tool among athletes, helping to soothe sore muscles after intense workouts.
- Improved sleep quality: Cold water therapy can contribute to better sleep patterns.
- Enhanced focus: Cold exposure can help sharpen mental alertness and focus.
- Strengthened immune response: Some evidence suggests that cold water therapy can help boost the immune system.
- Increased energy levels: Many people feel more energetic after regular cold water therapy.
- Potential relief from autoimmune disease symptoms: Some Wim Hof Method practitioners have reported alleviating symptoms related to autoimmune conditions.
- Accelerated recovery after exercise: Athletes often use cold water therapy to speed up their post-exercise recovery process.
What to expect?
How cold therapy Coaching Works
Engaging in cold therapy coaching or working with a Wim Hof instructor involves guided training in the Wim Hof Method, primarily focusing on cold exposure, a crucial part of the regimen. An experienced Wim Hof instructor will typically start by educating you about the method, explaining the science behind it, and discussing the potential health benefits.
The training usually begins with simple techniques, such as taking cold showers or immersing in cold water for short periods, gradually increasing the duration and intensity over time. The instructors are trained to ensure your safety and comfort, guiding you on how to breathe optimally, manage your mindset, and adjust your body to the cold. Working with a Wim Hof instructor can be a dynamic and transformative experience, helping you unlock the potential benefits of cold therapy.
It’s essential to expect challenges as you adapt to the cold, but with consistent practice and guided training, you’ll likely begin to notice improvements in your well-being.
How I work
A functional approach to health
What you will receive:
- Cold water coaching
- Knowledgeable instruction
- Detailed breathing assessment
- Personalised breathing exercises
- Ongoing phone and email support
What you won’t receive:
- A ‘magic’ solution
- A ‘fix’ to only one problem
- Only guided breathwork (I offer far more)
- Qualified therapy or counselling
How it can help
Is cold therapy Coaching Right for You?
Deciding whether cold therapy coaching is right for you depends on your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and embrace an unconventional method for achieving overall health and well-being. This practice requires commitment, discipline, and a readiness to confront the initial discomfort of cold exposure. Cold therapy coaching might be a suitable choice if you want to enhance your physical resilience, improve mental clarity, or explore alternative health and wellness practices.
Here are four main benefits of cold water therapy, divided into physical and mental categories:
- Boosted Metabolism: Regular cold exposure can stimulate your body’s metabolic rate, aiding in weight management and overall energy levels.
- Reduced Inflammation and Swelling: Cold therapy can be beneficial in alleviating inflammation and swelling, often used as a recovery tool after intense physical activities.
- Enhanced Focus: Cold exposure can sharpen your mental alertness and focus, improving productivity and performance in various tasks.
- Improved Sleep Quality: Cold water therapy can contribute to better sleep patterns, promoting overall mental health and well-being.
These are just some ways cold therapy can enhance your everyday life; there are many more. It can be a powerful wellness tool when combined with functional breathing (something I also offer qualified instruction on).
Why get cold therapy coaching?
Considering a cold therapy coach can be an excellent decision for individuals looking to unlock the full potential of cold therapy but want expert guidance to ensure they’re doing it safely and effectively. A coach can provide personalised advice, monitor progress, and adjust the approach based on individual responses to the therapy. Especially for beginners, navigating the initial discomfort of cold exposure can be challenging; a coach can offer motivational support and techniques to manage this discomfort. Furthermore, a coach can help individuals maximise the benefits of cold therapy, including improved physical resilience, mental clarity, and overall wellness. If you’re committed to enhancing your health and well-being and are open to exploring alternative methods, a cold therapy coach could be a valuable asset on your journey.
Book a session with me to start experiencing the benefits of breathwork coaching for yourself.
Ice Bath Saftey
The Dangers of Deliberate Cold Exposure
While cold water exposure can offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks and precautions associated with it. Prolonged or extreme exposure to cold can lead to hypothermia, where the body’s core temperature drops dangerously low, leading to dizziness, confusion, and in severe cases, loss of consciousness or even death. Cold shock response is another risk, where an abrupt exposure to cold water can trigger an involuntary gasp for air, leading to potential drowning if underwater. People with certain health conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, should also consult their doctor before starting any cold exposure therapy due to the increased strain on the heart.
When practising cold therapy, starting gradually, perhaps with lukewarm showers, and slowly reducing the temperature over time is crucial. Never push beyond your comfort level; always have someone nearby when attempting full-body immersion in cold water. Monitoring your body’s response is vital—stop immediately if you feel unwell. Working with a trained professional or coach can also ensure you practise cold therapy safely and effectively.
The main three dangers associated with ice baths and cold plunging are:
- heart attack
To minimise these risks, follow these essential safety protocols:
- Buddy up
- Rewarm slowly
Unless you are a seasoned Wim Hofer, never enter deep or vast expanses of cold water. When starting with cold water, particularly ice baths, always have someone with you who can help monitor you and provide assistance if needed.
Ensure your setup is safe, easy entry and exit points are crucial, and warm clothing and a warm drink afterwards are also beneficial.
The temperature must be below 15 degrees or 58 Fahrenheit to benefit from cold water therapy. Don’t go made with chucking ice in your water. Build up to lower temperatures over time.
Don’t get cold
It sounds mad, but seriously, you need to get out if you are shivering and shaking. You should only remain in cold water for short periods (2-10 minutes). You’ll get those mental health benefits in the first 2-3 minutes, so there’s no need to stay in for a long time. Don’t be a hero!
Breathing is critical when exposing your body to cold water. When your body enters cold water, “cold shock” can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. The sudden gasp and rapid breathing alone can make you feel suffocated and tighten your chest. This happens because cold water triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, which your sympathetic nervous system controls. Essentially, this is the body’s way of priming itself for a life-saving escape. You are in panic mode.
Controlling your breathing is vital to overcoming this response and getting the benefits described above. This is why the foundation of The Wim Hof Method is breathing, not just ice baths. For functional breathwork coaching, click here.
It goes without saying if you get any pains in your chest as a result of cold water exposure, stop practising and seek medical attention immediately.
Heart attack signs and symptoms in men and women:
Chest pain or discomfort; Shortness of breath; Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, arm, or shoulder; Feeling nauseous, light-headed, or unusually tired.
Never push yourself beyond where you feel comfortable or, as Wim says ‘Never force”.
Finally, once you are done with the cold, warm up slowly. Never jump straight in a hot bath or shower. Do on-the-spot exercises such as jogging, star jumps, or squats to get the blood flowing. You can also try Wim’s Horse Stance exercise, which is effective. Get dry and dress warmly once you’ve completed your practice.
Having a cold therapy coach guide you through the first stages of your cold therapy practices will ensure you remain safely within your limits and enjoy the full benefits of the experience.
Latest blog articles
Cold Exposure Coaching Articles
Frequently asked questions
Cold therapy coaching FAQs
What does cold therapy do?
Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, involves the exposure of the body to cold temperatures to stimulate various health benefits. It can boost metabolism, reduce inflammation and muscle soreness, improve sleep quality, enhance focus, and strengthen the immune response.
Is cold therapy really good for you?
Yes, cold therapy can offer several physical and mental health benefits when practised correctly and safely. However, it’s important to note that the effects can vary from person to person, and individuals with certain health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before starting.
What are the risks of cold therapy?
Potential risks of cold therapy include hypothermia, cold shock response, and increased strain on the heart. The risk is higher with more extreme forms of cold therapy or if someone has pre-existing health conditions, particularly cardiovascular diseases.
Who should not use cold therapy?
Individuals with cardiovascular diseases, Raynaud’s disease, or other health conditions that could be adversely affected by cold exposure should consult a healthcare provider before starting cold therapy. Pregnant women and the elderly should also seek medical advice before beginning cold therapy.
What happens after 30 days of cold showers?
After 30 days of cold showers, many people report increased energy levels, improved sleep, reduced muscle soreness, and enhanced mood. However, individual experiences can vary, and the effects depend on factors such as the duration and temperature of the showers and the individual’s overall health and resilience to cold.
Combining Cold Exposure with Breathing Exercises
While deliberate cold exposure alone provides numerous benefits, combining it with specific breathing exercises can further enhance these benefits. A recent breathing exercises study found that combining deliberate cold exposure with Wim Hof breathing techniques led to significant improvements in oxygenation and reduced stress levels.
Wim Hof breathing involves deep breathing techniques that help regulate the autonomic nervous system and improve mental clarity and focus. By combining this technique with deliberate cold exposure, individuals can experience even greater benefits such as improved immune function, increased energy levels, and reduced inflammation.
Ready to get started?
Book with Charlotte
Ready to improve your physical and mental well-being with cold therapy coaching? Book a session with me today and discover the restorative power of cold water exposure techniques such as ice baths. Click here to book your session.
Book with Charlotte