Not long ago I went river rafting (erm… floating in a raft) down a really cold river. It was the first time the kids had gone “rafting” and one of them cannot swim yet so floating seemed better than some wild and crazy rapids. (Although rapids would have been fun!)

The river was called the Icicle and true to its name it was cold. There was some splashing between rafts and talking like pirates and more splashing between rafts. But truth be told I could probably have done the entire float and not got very wet at all. Yet, as we floated I kept thinking about a post I had read recently about the benefits of cold water immersion.

Are you familiar with it? It is also called the Wim Hof method (which involves cold therapy, breathing and commitment). Apparently there are many possible health benefits from immersing yourself in cold water. Better sleep quality. More energy. Improved concentration. Increased creativity. How long do you have to immerse yourself and how often I am not sure. I also was not thinking much about the breathing or commitment parts of the practice, just the cold water part.

What I was wondering as we floated down the Icicle was this, How much of myself do I have to immerse for benefits? And does getting splashed by a “pirate” count as immersion or does it have to be full body? By nature of the word ‘immersion’ I am pretty sure “whole-body-under-water” is the correct definition, but… Does one foot count? What if I just hang one foot over the edge of the raft while we float? What about my bum? All these people are floating in tubes down the river and their bums are in the water? Does that count? Both feet? One hand?

I eventually settled on both feet and legs (up to the knees) and a healthy dose of being splashed. (Chicken, you say? Well, yes. But it was really cold.) And I can tell you this much, I slept well that night.

So if I were my own best friend I would encourage myself to learn more. Go read more about the Wim Hof method. What’s it all about? Because honestly, better sleep and improvements in energy, concentration, and creativity might just be worth a little time spent in cold water.

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