Check out these ‘life changing’ cold exposure therapy techniques

Workshop has people sit in ice water for minutes at a time

Battling mental health and drug addiction issues, had Jeff Sorensen at the ‘end of his ropes’ using modern western methods to cope.

Feeling like he had nowhere else to turn, he looked to natural practices.

Living on Galiano Island near Victoria, he heard a podcast featuring Dutch motivational speaker, Wim Hof, which gave him a new holistic practice – cold exposure therapy.

“Those tools completely changed my life,” the retired paramedic told Kelowna10.

Nicknamed ‘the Iceman,’ Hof seems to have a superhuman ability to withstand cold temperatures. He holds the Guinness world record for running a half marathon barefoot on snow and preaches the health benefits of cold exposure therapy; a trend growing in popularity in the Okanagan.

“[I] was just really struck by the passion behind the message [Hof] shared, and the conviction he had; that these simple tools of breath and cold could radically change not just people, but the world,” he said.

Sorensen started out by plunging in the frigid ocean waters off the island six years ago, and now leads retreats and workshops with his company, breathARMY.

When Kelowna10 caught up with the cold connoisseur, he was in the middle of instructing a group at Pranify Yoga with an ominous metal tub filled with ice water.

Ironically, the studio regularly teaches hot yoga.

Sorenson taught the class breathing techniques to mitigate the shock ice water causes. He also explained why routine immersion in breath-takingly icy water is beneficial, by talking about the nervous system and human anatomy.

Speaking from his own experiences, he shared how taking a two-to-three-minute ice bath every morning has benefited him.

“It just had a huge impact on how I felt, on my mood, on the inflammation in my body, and my resiliency; my ability to do things I didn’t want to do” Sorenson explained.

When it came time to take the plunge, participants stood in a circle around the tub. They moved and danced to tribal inspired music to prepare and bring them into the present moment, Sorenson explained.

One by one they stepped into the tub and inhaled deeply. Then while exhaling, they sat down until the ice was up to their neck. The ice cubes rose and fell on their chests with each deliberate breath.

They would remain there for a few minutes until Sorensen helped them get out. The dancing and moving continued to gradually bring warmth back to their extremities.

Wrapped in towels, the class shared how positive they felt afterwards.

One message he hopes people take away from his workshops, is a reminder of personal strength as they challenge themselves to do the uncomfortable.

“It’s so easy in life to really just get lost in our minds, our thoughts, our stories, and different conditions we have,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we’re really strong and resilient beings, and it’s important to come back to that and remind ourselves.”

Published 2022-09-25 by David Hanson

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