The A To Z Of Cold Water Therapy – Everything You Should Know About This Recovery Method

The freezing cold water when you stand under a waterfall or that chilly shower when you forget to turn on the heater – if you think these low-temperature waters are unbearably cold then wait until you hear about a classic and trusted practice that has been followed since the times of ancient Greece. It is cold water therapy which is sometimes referred to as cryotherapy. Given all its health benefits, here is everything you should know about the therapeutic practice.

©The Iceman (Wim Hof)

What is cold water therapy?

As made self-explanatory in its name, cold water therapy is when you expose your body to a certain temperature – typically less than 15°C – for a short interval of time depending on how long it is bearable for you. It is generally advised that you get away from the water when your body starts shivering uncontrollably.

How is cold water therapy done?

There are primarily three ways of partaking in cold water therapy – the immersion method, the shower method and the Wim Hof method.

The first one involves immersing your body (neck down) or a certain part of your body that you want to relieve pain from inside a huge bucket of cold water. The second is simply standing under a cold shower.

The last one was made famous by the wellness expert Wim Hof who is famously known as the Iceman for doing activities in extremely low temperatures that any person cannot normally withstand. One such achievement is his quest of being inside a bucket filled with ice cubes for 112 minutes.

©The Iceman (Wim Hof)

The Wim Hof method basically pairs cold water therapy with breathing while being in close contact with nature as that can be healing not only to the physical body but also to the mind.

When comparing the three techniques to each other, the immersion practice is considered to be the most effective.

Why is cold water therapy good for your health?

There are definitely some reasons why people have continued to do cold water therapy for centuries now. It is mostly used for muscle and joint pain relief by sports people and others. To better understand the benefits of this age-old practice it is worth looking at the science behind this sort of cryotherapy.

When extremely cold water touches your skin, the blood vessels in your body contract in size and the pressure from this water pushes your blood to flow to your brain and heart. Once you step away from the low-temperature water, the blood vessels expand and the blood flows back with more nutrients and oxygen filled in it thus being able to clear all the wasteful toxins.

As a result, cold water therapy is not only good for treating pain but also a great way of improving your cardiovascular system.

©The Iceman (Wim Hof)

Where to do cold water therapy in Hong Kong?

You can either do it in the comfort of your home or in wellness centres where they have the resources for it. Two such places are the Float Co. and The Gym in Hong Kong where they use the immersion method.

Another way to try cold water therapy is by attending wellness events conducted by experts. For instance, a breathing exercise expert from Primal Breathwork conducts regular breathing and ice bath sessions in Hong Kong that follow the Wim Hof method.

Also Read: Post-workout muscle recovery for a healthier mind and body