This blog is probably for the more hardy/stoic wellness aficionado, but has some simple ideas that can be incorporated into our day without much fuss.
Conventionally when we think of health interventions they are, almost invariably, related to diet and exercise; which is so far so good. However there is a third pillar of wellness, and that is the capacity to push ourselves out of our climate-controlled life-styles. Cold-exposure therapy has been around forever; whether its northern Europeans dashing from the sauna into the snow, or the hardy Brighton “iceberger’s”, swimming all year around regardless of temperature – this idea of exposing oneself to a little bit of thermal discomfort is far from new.
What is new, however, is that science is now studying it and providing us with an understanding of what Cold-exposure therapy does to our physiology. For instance, moderate cold exposure stimulates what is known as “brown fat” to be made by our bodies. Brown fat is very metabolically active, unlike the common white fat, and burns white fat off. As such brown fat raises the metabolism and stimulates fat burning…….yay!! Cold therapy has also been linked to reducing inflammation and enhanced immune function.
The most famous protagonist of this approach is a Dutchman called Wim Hof, The Iceman. He has bought these ideas into the modern era and has been a guinea pig for numerous scientific studies. For information about Wim Hof, “The Wim Hof Method” (a combination of cold exposure and breathing exercises) and “Wim Hof Method Cold Shower Challenge’ go to his official site https://www.wimhofmethod.com.
Another interesting resource comes from one of my favourite (itunes) podcasts “The Art Of Manliness” . In podcast #275, Brett Mackay interviews Scott Carney, an American investigative journalist and writer, whose acclaimed book “What doesn’t kill us” explores the linking evolutionary theory and environmental conditioning with the Wim Hof Method. In this podcast Scott discusses what he describes as “the renewing of our lost evolutionary strength” through stepping out of climate-controlled lives for a little while every day. It make for fantastic listening and is extremely informative and inspiring.
Feel free to contact me directly if you have any queries regarding these methods and ideas.