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Hydrotherapy at Home: 3 practical ways to take the plunge
Cold water therapy, otherwise known as hydrotherapy or cold immersion therapy, is the process of submerging the body into cold water (temperatures lower than 15 degrees) in order to heal, stimulate and revitalise the body, mind and soul. A practise that has taken the world by storm, transforming the lives - and mindsets - of many. The beauty of this therapy, for those who don’t live near the coast or those who are looking to take the first steps into cold water immersion, is that it can be carried out from anywhere; including the comfort of your own home!
Here are 3 of the most practical ways you can begin to bask in the euphoric benefits effective immediately.
Safety and preparation tips before taking the plunge:
- Limit your cold water exposure to a maximum of 10-15 minutes
- Remember to start slow and go at your own pace
- Consult your doctor or a health professional to ensure this therapy is suitable for you
- Find a breath practise that works for you (we love Wim Hof and Richie Bostok)
- Warm up slowly afterwards
1. Cold water showers
One of the most popular methods of cold water therapy are cold water showers, a brilliant place to start as these can be easily implemented into your daily routine. Begin by staying in the shower after you’ve had your normal wash, gradually lower the temperature and slowly stand under the water for 1-2 minutes. After a few days, try to stay in the cold water for longer and start replacing a few of your warm showers with only these cold ones. Many people use cold showers as part of contrast hydrotherapy, a practise of submerging the
body in warm water before immediately moving to cold water for the same amount of time. This process offers many benefits, both physical and mental, including reducing the effects of joint stiffness and inflammation. Before you know it, you’ll be waking up every day looking forward to a cold shower!
2. Cold plunge pool or ice bath
Whether a barrel sought from eBay (yes this is a real, and quite common, online purchase!), an outdoor bathtub or even an old livestock tank; where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cold water plunges are great for those living in suburban areas, or for anyone that wants to reap the benefits of this practise from the comfort of their own backyard. Ice baths are common in the athlete's world as a method of reducing muscle fatigue and respite from any soreness or stiffness; a great way of recovering post-workout. Tip: If you aren’t in a place to transform the backyard just yet, you can also use frozen packs or cold compresses on certain areas of the body.
3. Ice water bowls
There are numerous benefits to having cold water on the skin, from stress relief to reduced inflammation, if you’re looking for a quick and effective cold water therapy fix then the bowl method might be for you. Simply fill a medium to large bowl with cold water, add ice cubes as necessary and submerge your face (never the whole head) in for a few seconds at a time. No matter the method you choose to practise, your journey with cold water therapy will be a great one, with numerous physical and mental benefits along the way. Keep us updated over at Robie Robes on Facebook or Instagram, we’d love to see how you get on!
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Mastering Cold Water And Breath
Anthony Mullally has two Rugby League World Cups and a Super League Grand Final trophy under his belt, and throughout his professional rugby career made more than 200 senior appearances. However, nowadays you’ll find him on the coast of North Cornwall where he now works as a breath work coach, dividing his focus between performance coaching for athletes and running male-focussed retreats that incorporate cold water exposure, meditation and mindfulness.