We ask Professor Green: How did you get into cold water immersion?

We ask Professor Green: How did you get into cold water immersion?

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.  

He was drawn to the show because it was unlike any other reality TV show. There was no competitiveness. No elimination. Everyone had a reason to be there through their own personal trauma. Bonded by their experience, seven of the celebrities are all still in a WhatsApp group to this day. But Stephen’s friendship with Brass Monkey and relationship with the cold began long before the show. We asked him how he got into cold water immersion in the first place. 

Complications following an operation in 2017 left Stephen with chronic gastroparesis, a condition affecting the stomach nerves and muscles. This progressed to gastric accommodation disorder, which meant Stephen would attempt to eat but then vomit immediately as his stomach muscles wouldn’t relax enough to digest the food. Over Christmas that year, every single time Stephen tried to eat he was sick, and this crippling cycle lasted for 26 days. 

With that experience, came a huge lack of energy, and a degrading state of mental health began to set in. Then he found the cold. 

Stephen is less interested in the science of how the cold water immersion helped him, he just knows that it works and it makes him feel good with an instant and accumulative effect. He tried cryotherapy but described it as “easy” compared to cold water immersion and hasn’t found anything that consistently makes him feel as good. 

After building up years of the practice, he still never looks forward to getting into the cold, but he can’t deny the benefits. And they don’t depreciate over time. No matter how often or how cold, the benefits remain as potent every time you dip. It’s the reason he keeps going back for more. 

But with Stephens's condition, he’s mindful that if you enter the water at the wrong time, the cold can take more than it can give. So, when he feels too unwell, he stays away. He understands that the cold demands respect.


Brass Monkey with Professor Green

Hear more from Stephen when we ask him how is using the cold different now from when he just started, and what advice he would give to someone using an ice bath for the first time?