"Like anything in life, your mindset dictates your experience" – Buddha.
I try to replay this quote as I plunge my bikini-clad body into an ice bath in Winter. For. Two. Whole. Minutes.
Time slows, I'm convinced.
Rather than cursing and swearing, I'm focused on my breathing technique. This helps me to successfully complete this ice-queen challenge feeling remarkably calm. I emerge with my skin tingling and pink.
I'm 100 per cent alert, and feel rejuvenated. I notice I'm not even shivering. Wow. I feel ALIVE.
I'm attending a Wim Hof Method workshop. It's run by Laura Warren, a clinical nutritionist and holistic health practitioner.
She is a certified Wim Hof Method instructor too.
Warren taught us about the health benefits of this practice. Then she invited everyone attending the workshop to take the cold plunge . She inspires us to continue this "cold exposure" at home by taking cold showers daily. Start with 30 seconds for one week.
The next week raise that to one minute cold showers daily – and so on…
By the way, Wim Hof is a Dutch man dubbed "The Ice Man". He has many world records to his name. He has run marathons barefoot in the Arctic Circle. He has swam under the ice at the North Pole. He has lingered in ice for long periods using his breathing and mindset techniques.
Lots of research has been done on the power of his pranayamic yoga style breathing and tolerance to the cold.
Meanwhile, I later experience Hana. This is New Zealand's first dedicated infrared sauna and red light therapy centre.
Founder Sara Higgins is a former pharmacist.
I first read about the benefits of these hot treatments through Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans. The book shares tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons, and performers. Many in this book rave about infrared saunas.
What's the red light therapy like? I'm in a pod that looks like a tanning bed. I'm warm, not hot. I note that I'm still for 20-minutes, which has to beneficial alone!
The sauna is a divine experience. I'm toasty and emerge feeling zen-like. The experience ends with a hot shower. Bliss!
Warren shares 3 top benefits she believes you get from Ice Baths/cold showers:
1. Trains your circulatory system – brings oxygen to the tissues.
2. Trains your stress response to increase resilience.
3. It brings you "into the moment" and helps you to be adaptable.
Higgins shares 3 top benefits she feels she gets from infrared saunas:
Detox, muscle recovery and immune-system-boosting.
Higgins shares 3 top benefits she believes she gets from red light therapy:
Boosts skin collagen production, reduces inflammation and promotes better sleep.
Find out more about Warren's next Wim Hof Workshop and Higgins' business Hana via Rachel's website www.inspiredhealth.co.nz
Rachel is a wellness expert and author of Balance: Food, Health and Happiness . Follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rachelgrunwell/
- Rachel Grunwell is a weekly wellness columnist for 48 Hours