On a clear, October morning I stepped out of my comfort zone and into a bath of ice.. and loved every minute! The ice bath happened to be the climax of a morning of Wim Hof training where, along with eleven other brave women I was introduced to the philosophy of positive mind-set, breathwork and cold water exposure as a way of improving wellbeing. Even better, these crazy antics were all in a good cause raising funds for the Sussex based charity the WOLO Foundation (We Only Live Once) who provide a lifeline to many local families dealing with the trauma of cancer. So what’s the thinking behind all this cold water exposure? Let me enlighten you…
Who is Wim Hof?
Wim Hof is a Dutch motivational speaker and professional ‘Iceman’. Having suffered a period of trauma and depression he discovered immersing himself in nature and extreme cold temperatures helped his own recovery. Through his Wim Hof Method he has been able to push his body to extremes running half marathons barefoot on ice, holding the Guinness World record for swimming under ice and even climbing Mount Everest in shorts!
The range of health benefits from cold water exposure include boosting immune systems, reducing stress, reducing inflammation, better sleep and increased willpower and alertness.
I’ve taken part in a number of winter outdoor swims now and there is certainly something addictive about immersing your whole body into a situation that your instincts are screaming for you to avoid. I always feel anxious before I get in. But the power of mind over matter is truly stimulating. The reward is the natural buzz and sense of achievement you get afterwards – and you certainly feel alive!
The Ice Bath Challenge
This event was organised by Sarah Jones from Wilderness PR as a WOLO fundraiser in the memory of our lovely friend, Claire Sumners who passed away earlier this year. The event took place at the Isenhurst health club in East Sussex and was run by Wim Hof certified instructor, Sarah Huntley. We spent the morning learning about the Wim Hof philosophies before putting some of the techniques into practise. I’ve never focused on ‘breathwork’ before so this was particularly eye opening. The group responded in a range of ways from feeling highly alert to feeling overwhelmed with emotion. We then worked on developing a positive mind-set, igniting several inspiring conversations. Finally, it was time to commit to the ice plunge. I think we were all nervous but all 12 of us did 2 full minutes in a bath filled to the brim with ice. The comradery between us as a group, cheering each other on as we took our turn was a lift in itself.
Fancy taking part?
Having been so anxious beforehand, seconds after getting out of the bath I was so keen to do it again! Fortunately I can do just that on March 11th when Isenhurst will be holding the same event in Uckfield. For more details or to book a place please contact the event organiser Sarah Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org. This Ice Bath Challenge will again take place with the purpose of raising funds for and awareness of the WOLO Foundation.
If you’d like to donate to this worthy cause you can do so through the link here.