The Mandatory Cold Plunge Guide to Personal Salvation While Freezing Your Balls Off (And Not Dying in the Process)

The fountain of youth may actually be a frozen pond. Practitioners of cold plunging (the act of dipping your body into dangerously cold water for minutes at a time) swear by the health benefits. In fact, the entire nation of Denmark has taken to plunging into the frigid Baltic Sea to combat depression during the long winters. Sound insane? A little bit. But there’s also a method to the madness.

Sudden exposure to extreme temperature changes can increase mitochondria production (the party animal living in your cells), reduce inflammation, and give you a rush of endorphins as your body fights to stay alive. But the goodness doesn’t end there. From increased alertness and boosted immunity to improved skin and hair, freezing your balls off never felt so good.

Humans began throwing themselves into freezing ice floes in pursuit of wellness way back in antiquity, but the movement gained steam in modern times with the formation of the Polar Bear Club in 1920. For a hundred years, the old men who donned nothing but a speedo as they jumped headfirst into arctic waters remained little more than a fascinating spectacle – half-crazed Canadians who we all just assumed had a thing for snow.

Nowadays cold plunging isn’t just reserved for fishermen in Nova Scotia. The practice has become a “hot” wellness trend with hydrotherapy spas adding the experience to their menu of delights. Sure, Gwyneth Paltrow is super into it and Madonna drinks her own pee afterward, but don’t let that ruin it for you. Celebrities from Lady Gaga to Liam Neeson have gone glacial glam, while pro athletes rely on the anti-inflammatory goodness of ice baths for faster recovery times.

Funny how often wellness trends and gratuitous torture look exactly the same (and personal salvation for that matter). But with science quickly catching up to anecdotal evidence of cold plunging, it’s hard to deny the rewards of fending off the icy hand of death on a regular basis. If you’re looking to spice up your routine and are ready to take the plunge, be sure to check out our survival guide below. And don’t forget to bring a thermos of hot cocoa, for afterward, to dip your balls in.

Cover Photo: mihtiander (Getty Images)

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