Why do I plunge my face in ice water for 3- 5 minutes every morning?
A. Improves brain, skin, metabolism, heart, immune function and slows down the aging process
B. Awakens extrasensory abilities
C. Activates the “Master Switch of Life”
D. Strengthens kinship with ocean creatures
E. Feels great (afterwards!)
F. I’m a little crazy
G. All of the above
Yep, you got it! All of the above.
Hey, I admit, I am crazy. I am crazy-passionate about learning easy, innovative and fun ways to help myself and my people feel healthier, happier, smarter, more creative and youthful and to expand more fully into our extraordinary natural potential of body, mind, heart and soul. I love gathering tools, techniques and practices and trying them out.
First, I wonder, “What benefits do I notice?”
Next, “Who else might benefit?”
And then I love hearing back from you, “How did that feel? What works for you?”
In April when Dave Asprey’s new book, Head Strong, came out I was eager to try his two week plan to “…activate untapped brain energy to work smarter and think faster.”
One of his suggestions, dunking your face in ice water every day, was especially intriguing to me because I had just read James Nestor’s book Deep; Free Diving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves. Nestor explains the Master Switch of Life which activates in deep sea divers when they make free dives (without oxygen tanks) way down into the sea and which you and I can begin to activate just by submerging our faces in cold water!
This Master Switch of Life lets free divers hold their breath for up to 15 minutes at a time while diving (without tanks!) into amazing depths. As they do, many life-extending and health-giving reflexes kick in. Among them, blood is shunted from the extremities and into the inner organs and heart rate slows down.
In addition, Nestor tells us, just as sea creatures such as “…sharks, dolphins and whales have developed extra senses to navigate, communicate and see[in the dark oceans]. We too share the extrasensory abilities; like the Master Switch, they are remnants of our collective past in the ocean.”
He goes on to explain that diving into the ocean waves for few minutes, or yes, even putting your face in cold water activates this innate, ancient perception.
While Nestor’s accounts of master free divers around the world are fascinating, chances are, I will probably not ever do that myself. (Although, I’m not ruling it out!) And although my favorite way to start any day is with a swim in the sea, where I live that’s not usually possible.
In Head Strong, Dave Asprey explains that when you put your face in cold water, you get many of the benefits of both breath holding and cold water, including:
• improved thyroid, mitochondrial and cardiac function
• increased fat metabolism
• better immune function,
• faster recovery from stress
• more stress resilience
• boosting brain’s oxygen effectiveness
• lower inflammation
• faster cell rejuvenation
Between what I’d learned from The Deep Head Strong, I was eager to give it a try.
Every morning for the last month or so, before I exercise or eat breakfast, I’ve taken a white corningware pan out of the freezer, added cold water to the frozen layer of ice and plunged my face in, for 3- 5 minutes. Of course, I do come up for air. (Asprey says he does it with a snorkel so he can stay in longer.)
What do I notice?
• I feel energized, alive and eager for my day
• My breath capacity is increasing.
• It feels calming and meditative. (I didn’t notice this until I had been doing it a few days.)
• I go on imaginal sea journeys. While my face is underwater in my white mini-tank I imagine my kinship with polar bears and dolphins and otters, Javanese and Japanese pearl divers and Pono, the night-swimming matriarch and kahuna from one of my all-time favorite novels, Shark Dialogues. Fun!
• My skin seems more firm, clear and rosy.
Will I keep doing it? Yes! It feels great, it’s fun and energizing, no-cost, harmless-crazy, and I love imagining that I am getting the benefits Asprey and Nestor describe.
(Oh, and I also take an icy cold shower every morning to get more of the cold- therapy benefits Asprey and others extol. More on that soon! )
Have you tried plunging your face into ice water?
I’d love to hear your experiences. Leave your comments below.
Also I’d love to hear any other wierd/fun/crazy thing you do in the morning that boosts your energy and joy!
The books I mentioned:
Head Strong: the Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster - - In Just Two Weeks by Dave Asprey
Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves by James Nestor
Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
Wishing you Energy, Fun, Brain Power and Kinship with All,
P.S. Want support in feeling more alive, awake and energized while you expand even more fully into your potential? Drop me an email. I’d love to talk with you!