It might sound contradictory for a hot tub company to shill the benefits of cold water therapy, but hear us out. Studies have shown cold water to have an incredible impact on health, improving our circulation and immune system and giving us an added release of endorphins, among many other benefits.
Used in conjunction with an AlumiTubs wood-fired hot tub and cold water can turn your blissful night of relaxation into a recipe for a better body and mind.
Here's our guide to all things cold water therapy.
Wim Hof & Cold Water Bathing Around The World
We can't mention cold water without mentioning The Iceman himself: Wim Hof. A Dutch extreme athlete, Wim Hof climbed Mount Everest in shorts and once stayed in a bath filled with ice cubes for 112 minutes. He's probably the most famous proponent of cold exposure therapy, and his Wim Hof method—a combination of breath work, cold therapy and commitment—is taught around the world. Then there's the Scandinavians. Nordic countries have long traditions of cold water bathing, used in combination with saunas and hot tubs, to help alleviate the effects of a long, dark winter. (As Canadians, we get it.)
The Benefits of Cold Water Therapy
Cold water might be one of the only stress-inducing activities that's actually good for you. By shocking your body with cold water, you kick the body’s fight or flight instincts into gear which enables the release of stress hormones. Not only do you feel the benefits of this instantly, but when used over time, cold water drastically improves your health.
Together with hot water, the combination combats inflammation and releases toxins.
Studies have also shown that cold therapy water:
- Boosts your immune system
- Reduces inflammation and fights against arthritis with anti-inflammatory benefits
- Boosts your metabolism
- Improves circulation
- Promotes lymphatic drainage
- Stimulates the vagus nerve
- Increases thermogenesis
- Heightens your discipline and focus
- Relieves aches and pains
How To Add Cold Water Therapy into your AlumiTubs Experience
If you're not quite ready to dedicate an entire pool to plunging, these set-ups will help you dip your toe into the world of cold water:
A slightly more complicated and expensive build than the bucket, an outdoor shower can be a great way to make cold water exposure a regular routine alongside your AlumiTubs hot tub ritual. It can also help to introduce the concept of daily cold water showering into your lives, even when you're not relaxing in your cedar hot tub inbetween sessions.
3. Use a Clawfoot Tub.
Take inspiration from one of our talented shop staff, Anders, and introduce a cold water clawfoot tub into the mix. Anders' clawfoot tub was sourced via Craigslist and is located next to his AlumiTubs wood-fired hot tub for easy transition into cold and hot. An outdoor clawfoot tub is a great conversation starter and cold water conjurer, but keep in mind that it's advanced on the Wim Hof spectrum since you're immersing your body fully into ice-cold water.
4. Fill your AlumiTubs Hot Tub with Cold Water in Summer
We've done it. And so should you. During warm weather months, we've filled our AlumiTubs with cold water for a refreshing and invigorating dip. Who can say no to lounging in your own private cold pool on a hot summer's day? Fill your tub the same way you would normally, just make sure not to light it of course.
5. Snow! There's no better time to soak in an AlumiTubs hot tub than in the dead of winter when you're surrounded by snow. There's no need to fill up a bucket of ice-cold water, just hop out of your tub and snow angel your way to a cold plunge effect.
Tip: Hot or cold, water can still pick up bacteria. Make sure to regularly clean your tub, or add Bromine, a safe chemical, to sustain its longevity.
How to Cold Plunge Safely
Breathe and focus! Whether you pour or plunge, cold water is challenging every time, even for the most seasoned of Wim Hof devotees. The first 30 seconds will be the hardest, so make sure to relax, focus, and most importantly, breathe.
Here are some other tips to braving cold water therapy:
- Develop your technique. The first plunge is by far the hardest, but over time your tolerance will increase, your focus will be sharper, and your technique smoother.
- Make a quick transition from hot to cold. Avoid a gradual cool down before getting in the cold water. But once you've plunged, make sure to bring your body back to room temperature outside of water before immersing yourself back into hot water.
- Find something to focus on prior to your plunge. This will help distract yourself and alleviate any physical discomfort you may feel. Find a good memory to ruminate on or develop a mantra to help you endure the plunge process.
- Enter the water on an exhale. This will help you avoid the natural instinct to suck in and stop breathing. When you’re fully immersed in the cold, stay still and focus on slow, deep and steady breaths. Try not to move; staying still helps create a slight barrier of warmth around your body.
- Find a physical focal point. Make eye contact with someone or pick a feature or landmark to fix your gaze on.
- Incorporate natural materials. People who are in tune with the land and natural surroundings around them report being happier. If you can try to incorporate natural materials—like cedar and stone—into your cold water plunge area to help you find a deeper and more intimate connection with the landscape.
- Practice willpower. Like any hard physical activity, enduring something that's rigorous and uncomfortable will help you become a more resilient person.