3 Tips to Help Your Cold Water Immersion Practice

Struggling with Contrast Water Therapy because you don't like the cold? Here are 3 tips that might help…

If you haven’t heard, the practice of Contrast Water Therapy has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its science-backed benefits for both the mind and body.


What is Contrast Water Therapy again?

Contrast water therapy (CWT) or ​​hot/cold immersion therapy, is a form of hydrotherapy that involves alternating between hot and cold pools for set periods of time.


During a CWT session, you’ll alternate between hot and cold pools with set durations for multiple rounds. We recommend aiming for four-minute cycles for three to four rounds. This means you would stay in a cold pool for four minutes, switch to a hot pool for four minutes and repeat this at least three times for maximum benefits.



If you’re new to, or struggling with, the cold water immersion portion of CWT, here are three tips to help you acclimatise to the practice and get you feeling the benefits, quicker.



1. Commit to the practice

They say that the best way to get better at something is to make it a regular habit – and to turn a behaviour into a habit, it first needs to become a routine.


Committing to a regular Cold Water Immersion practice is the key to getting better, and more comfortable in chilly conditions.


We recommend starting with short, regular, sessions to increase your tolerance.


Try to hold out for as long as you can and increase your time in the cold water by one minute each go, eventually aiming for four continuous minutes.


You might be surprised – tolerance to cold water can build up quickly!


2. Utilise the power of breath

Focusing on your breath and concentrating on slow, deep breathing can help the body calm and cope with difficult situations. This is especially helpful when practicing Cold Water Immersion.


Before you get into the cold water, take a few long, deep breaths to calm your mind.


When you’re ready to step in, take a deep breath and submerge your body on a long exhale – this will help reduce the initial shock of the cold water to the body.


Once submerged, breathe slow, steady and mindful breaths as your body acclimatises.


If it becomes too much, get out of the water. Remember, the aim is to gradually extend the duration of your submersion in the water over time.



3. Set yourself up for success

It’s important to remember that Cold Water Immersion, and Contrast Water Therapy, is a difficult, learned skill that takes time to master – don’t beat yourself up if you struggle with the practice at first!


Rather, set yourself up for success by completing your first contrast water therapy session with a friend. The added support and extra distractions that doing your hydro session with a friend provides makes it a much more enjoyable experience.


TIP: Grab a mate and Rigs’ $39 intro offer (unlimited hot/cold hydrotherapy pools for 7 days) and challenge yourself to reach a four-minute cold immersion by the end of your week of unlimited hydrotherapy.



Want more expert recovery tips? Speak with the team at our Bundall or Palm Beach centres about how Rigs Recovery can help you.