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Vitae Vi's Wim Hof Method Workshop Set-Up at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne

How cold is cold enough to get the benefits & how long should I practise cold exposure?

During our Wim Hof Method Workshops we discuss how to practise cold exposure and the things you have learnt, safely at home, often some of the first questions we are asked are: 


“How cold does it need to be to get the cold exposure benefits?”

 

“How long do I need to get cold for?”


So here are some answers to help you safely and effectively practise getting cold at home.



Dan Hughes at a Wim Hof Method Workshop at Cowdray Estate during an ice bath and cold exposure
Dan Hughes at a Wim Hof Method Workshop

How cold?


This is, without a doubt, the most common question we hear, and it makes good sense to seek the answer. 


However, it is almost impossible to answer! 


We are all individuals and therefore have a varying tolerance to the cold. 


As Dr Andrew Huberman, a well-respected neuro-scientist and someone who’s Lab has spent time studying cold exposure in humans, says…


The key is to aim for a temperature that evokes the thought, “This is really cold(!) and I want to get out, BUT I can safely stay in.” 

For some people, that temperature might be 60°F (or 15°C), whereas for others, 45°F (or 7 °C). Personally, my sweet-spot is around 50°F (or 10°C).


This is the important bit though… 


The colder the stimulus, the shorter amount of time you need to expose yourself to the cold.


One study showed significant and prolonged increases in dopamine (one of the feel good hormones) when people were in cool (60°F or 15°C) water for about an hour up to their neck, with their head above water.

Other studies describe significant increases in adrenaline from just 20 seconds in very cold water (40°F or 4°C). 


As Huberman reports - the good news is that as you do deliberate cold exposure more often, you will be more comfortable in the cold at all times and can start to use colder temperatures with more confidence, just like exercise.


How long should I be in the cold? 


Again, for the answer to this question I refer to the expertise of Dr Huberman who suggests a very simple but science-supported Protocol, as follows:


Consider doing deliberate cold exposure for 11 minutes per week TOTAL!

Not 11 minutes per session, but rather, several sessions lasting 1-2 mins each distributed across the week. 


Again, the water temperature should be uncomfortably cold yet safe to stay in only for a few minutes. You can of course do more, but this should be the minimum to achieve the benefits of cold exposure. 


Interestingly, other studies suggest that 90 secs in water between 40-50°F or 4-10°C is going to give all the benefits, any longer is not necessary to gain additional benefits.


Shivering and The Søeberg Principle


Another expert in the field of deliberate Cold Exposure is Dr Susanna Søeberg – the Søeberg Principle is to enhance the metabolic effects of cold by forcing your body to reheat on its own. Or “end with cold.” 


No turning up the temperature at the end of a cold shower! Force your body to warm itself up naturally – shivering is good and we’ll cover that in a separate Blog in the near future!


Safe Practices and Professional Guidance


It's crucial to approach cold exposure safely, especially when diving into activities like ice baths or open water immersion. Seeking guidance from trained professionals ensures that you harness the benefits without compromising your well-being. Safety precautions and proper techniques are essential for a positive and transformative experience.


Footnote


At Vitae Vi, the well-being of our clients is of utmost importance to us. We deeply value your health and safety, and as such, we strongly encourage you to carefully review our Health and Safety Policy


This policy outlines our commitment to creating a secure and protected environment, ensuring that your experience with us is not only enjoyable but prioritises your overall well-being. Thank you for entrusting us with your safety, and please take a moment to familiarise yourself with our policies for a seamless and secure experience.


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Vitae Vi's Wim Hof Method class at the WOW Clinic in Westbourne

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