There’s so much advice out there on cold water immersion telling you what to do and how to do it. But we understand that cold water exposure is a very personal thing and we all do it differently depending on why we’re doing it, what we’re using to do it, and the environment available to us. So we’ve put together 8 easy steps to help you get a good grip on your practice and some of the things you might want to consider before you jump in.

Getting into cold water is no walk in the park. So when things seem mentally tough, we find it best to keep things simple. And it doesn’t get more simple than our 5 steps for newbies to the cold.

Before you read any further, it should be noted that the suggestions that follow detail physical challenges for advanced dippers only. Cold water is fun, but it’s not a game and should always be treated with respect. It’s a powerful tool that should be used with care. It’s no place for ego or competition.

This particular health benefit claim may have been popularised by a 2016 Dutch study where users of daily cold showers showed a reduction in self-reported sickness . Since then, there have been numerous studies showing that cold exposure, typically in winter ice swimmers, increases the plasma levels of a number of different immune cells. Quite simply, more immune cells in your blood is generally a good thing.

Out of all the health benefits that cold water therapy is now being proven to support, perhaps the most stunning is its potential to both protect and re-grow the brain, specifically the repairing of synapses and the regeneration of neurons. The potential is to support in strengthening against neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), and cognitive decline whilst offering protective effects against brain injuries. Research involving cold exposure and brain health highlights a protein that can be targeted to prevent and slow progression of the disease. 

When we say ‘stress’ we usually think of life stress. Money worries, a job, relationship problems, children causing havoc. The list goes on. Chronic and persistent levels of cortisol in the bloodstream can cause serious mental and physical health problems. Tackling these usually requires fixing the cause and/or our response to the cause, which is why exercise and meditation can provide some remedy, even when we’re in the thick of it. 

Ben Tansley was riding home on his motorbike with his son, Jude, along the country lanes of Norfolk when another bike hit from behind. They crashed and both Ben and Jude were thrown off. Jude was fine, but Ben suffered life-changing injuries.

Speaking candidly from their own personal experiences, we got together with four friends of Brass Monkey, Professor Green, Joie Risk, Rosie Marcel, and Laurence Fountain, all cold dipping pros in their own right to ask for advice for first-timers.

“Well, everything has a tipping point. I see it as “chosen suffering”. The ice is another option to make that moment in your life a little bit more difficult. To callus the mind. To be in a position where we actively choose not to choose the easy route. And there might not be any other motivation other than to maybe toughen up a bit. Because everyone’s aware that life has a tendency to throw you a curve ball every now and again. Sometimes you see people who have had easy lives and they get themselves into a situation where life gets tough.

Laurence Fountain is the owner of Salus London. An exclusive gym that provides elite training, body conditioning, and lifestyle coaching. We met Laurence through Professor Green, who invited him to try the Ice Bath in his back garden. You could say the rest is history, but actually, it was more like the beginning of the future. As the owner of a gym, we asked Lawrence what is the role of cold water immersion in recovery?

“I think, if people want to do contrast therapy, they think it’s about taking their regime to the next level. And people ask us about protocols all the time, and it’s really about what they’re trying to achieve on any given day. 

Over the last two years, Joie has seen the at-home wellness trend becoming more mainstream. Catapulted by the Covid pandemic when thousands had more time on their hands to sit at home and contemplate their wellbeing, mortality, and how to get more from life. Joie And with that, people realised they had to take more responsibility for their own health.

“I try to go in three times a week. I had a period over the summer where I didn’t get in much because of childcare. It was pure hell! And that’s the time when you need it the most. I was kind of neglecting myself a little bit by paying so much attention to my daughter and not paying enough attention to me.

Rosie Marcel is a British actor from London. You might recognise her as Jac Naylor, the senior surgeon from the BBC drama, Holby City. We asked Rosie, what was it that attracted her to cold water immersion, and how did she know it was time to buy an ice bath? Rosie began her journey with the cold in November 2022 and her life-changing results compelled her to share her story. 

Stephen Manderson, also known as Professor Green is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and, most recently, mental health activist from London. His relationship with the cold went public when he appeared on Channel 4’s Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof (2022) as one of eight celebrities who took on extreme cold water challenges to help tackle different aspects of their mental health. 

If you’re not feeling well and have doubts about doing your cold exposure, always talk to your doctor. But there’s one clear rule that’s useful to know. If you have flu-like symptoms with a fever, don’t get into the water.