It’s official. Those “Polar Bear” clubs had it right all along. The hot new luxury spa treatment of 2022 is the cold water plunge. How is jumping into freezing cold water therapeutic, you ask? Devotees swear that it reduces anxiety. We feel anxious just thinking about it. Thankfully, our correspondent Jillian Tangen has answers, and she’s sharing 5 invigorating ways to experience the benefits of cold water plunge therapy at a luxury spa, or with cool new tech tools at home, right now.
What are the benefits of cold water plunge therapy?
We’ve all seen them on the news before: the large crowds gathered on the beaches on New Year’s Day for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Next, followed by screams, splashes and faces full of glee as the crowd makes its way into the freezing lake or ocean.[white_box]
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One thing is for sure, a polar plunge is a memorable way to kick off the new year. But what if there was more to it than just the wild experience of taking a New Year’s dip in cold water?
Cold water plunges or therapy involving submerging yourself in cold water has recently gained popularity. It’s touted as a way to boost immune systems, decrease stress, create glowing skin and treat inflammation.
This has been especially true during the pandemic as people search for simple, close-to-home ways to improve their wellbeing. So much so that Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop Lab” even devoted an entire episode of its Netflix series to the exploration of cold water therapy.
The practice itself is nothing new. People have used cold water to promote health for centuries. Hippocrates believed that water therapy could relieve fatigue. However doctors in the 18th century recommended cold baths to treat both fevers and rickets. More recently, top professional athletes like Lebron James and Cristiano Rinaldo have turned to ice baths to prevent soreness and muscle fatigue.[white_box]
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Beyond physical, there are mental health benefits too. We have a few friends who dabble in cold water showers and they say the cold water leaves them feeling clear headed, invigorated and better able to face the challenges of the day ahead.
In fact, some case studies suggest that cold open water swimming has helped alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in some people – something that the self proclaimed “Ice Man” Wim Hof echoed in the Goop Lab on Netflix.
Perhaps those New Year’s Day Polar Bear swimmers are onto something after all.
Interested in dipping your toe in on this cool trend? You could sign up for one of Wim Hof’s free trial classes like I did and try turning your shower to cold. Or for something a little more luxurious you could head to one of the many spas, gyms and wellness centers offering this ancient practice to its guests.
Ahead, 5 ways to dive in on cold water plunge therapy experience either at a luxury destination spa or in the comfort of your own home using some of the cool new tech tools on the market.
best luxury spas and tech tools for cold water plunge therapy
1. the monkey tree hotel
Dubbed “the water cure,” The Monkey Tree Hotel in Palm Springs Scandinavian Hot-Cold Circuit welcomes guests to soothe their muscles by cycling through periods in hot and cold waters. It’s open to any guests and participants of the property’s yoga retreats.[white_box]
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2. miraval berkshires
New this year, the Miraval Berkshires in Lenox, MA is offering Cold Immersion for Building Resilience as part of its wellness offerings. A Miraval specialist guides guests using breathwork, mindset mediation, and cold immersion to help them build resilience and unlock dormant potential.
Slightly closer to home, Williamsburg Brooklyn’s Bathhouse is also offering a cold therapy circuit as part of its daily guest pass options. Guests are encouraged to go to the 200°F sauna into a 52°F cold plunge. This helps with recovery, mental health, immunity, skin and hair and fitness as benefits. According to the spa the record in the cold plunge tub is 55 minutes – woah!
Once you get hooked, you may want to invest in a pool or tub in your home. Here are two options that are not just turning your shower to cold.[white_box]
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4. the plunge
The Plunge ($4,990) is an ergonomic indoor/outdoor tub that can be both cooled and heated water (ranging from 39 – 103 degrees Fahrenheit) that gives users ample room to lie down and relax in a soak. The Plug-and-Plunge design allows users an easier time setting up and filling up. Thisn is due to the added water hookup that works with a standard garden hose. The simple twist and turn valve located on the outside of the tub can help with draining the tub quickly.
5. ice barrel
For something slightly more basic there is the Ice Barrel ($1,200). Simply fill it with water and ice, then climb in to take a dip. Given it’s a standard barrel size, it’s not meant for relaxing like The Plunge – nor can it be heated. It’s more of a no frills, ice cold get-in and get-out experience.
Cold water therapy is the top new wellness trend of 2022
Speaking of cold shock, it’s important to note the risks of cold water immersion. Plunging into frigid water may be stressful to some and is not without risks. Make sure to consult with your doctor before starting a new health regime like this one.
So what do you think dear readers? Are you in on this? Personally, we’re willing to give anything a try at least once – especially when the promise of glowing skin is involved!
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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.
This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.
Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier and a former Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in New York and is married with three young children. She loves cross-country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.