By Rachel Grunwell

“Like anything in life, your mindset dictates your experience” – Buddha.

I try to replay this quote as I plunge my bikini-clad body into an ice bath in Winter. For. Two. Whole. Minutes.

Time slows, I’m convinced. 

Rather than cursing and swearing, I’m focused on my breathing technique. This helps me to successfully complete this ice-queen challenge feeling remarkably calm. I emerge with my skin tingling and pink. I’m 100% alert, and feel rejuvenated. I notice I’m not even shivering. Wow. I feel ALIVE.

I’m attending a Wim Hof Method workshop. It’s run by Laura Warren, a clinical nutritionist and holistic health practitioner. She is a certified Wim Hof Method instructor too.

Warren taught us about the health benefits of this practice. Then she invited everyone attending the workshop to take the cold plunge . She inspires us to continue this “cold exposure” at home by taking cold showers daily. Start with 30 seconds for one week. The next week raise that to one minute cold showers daily – and so on…

By the way, Wim Hof is a Dutch man dubbed “The Ice Man”. He has many world records to his name. He has run marathons barefoot in the Arctic Circle. He has swam under the ice at the North Pole. He has lingered in ice for long periods using his breathing and mindset techniques.

Lots of research has been done on the power of his pranayamic yoga style breathing and tolerance to the cold.

Warren shares 3 top benefits she believes you get from Ice Baths/cold showers:

1. Trains your circulatory system – brings oxygen to the tissues. 

2. Trains your stress response to increase resilience. 

3. It brings you “into the moment” and helps you to be adaptable.

Meanwhile, in a booklet Warren sent me…. she lists more benefits including the following:

“This method is basically for everyone who wants to supercharge their inner strength. It’s for anyone who wants to increase the sense of ‘feeling alive’, enhance their overall well-being and feeling more centered. The Wim Hof Method has many benefits. And the more widespread this

method becomes, the more we are realizing that this method can allevi- ate many different ailments, some of which we’ve never even heard of!” In short, this method can help you to:

  • Increase your Energy
  • Heightened Focus & Determination
  • Reduce Stress Levels
  • Reconnect with Nature
  • Better Sleep
  • Influence your Immune System
  • Improve Sport Performance
  • Grow Stronger Physically and Mentally
  • Enhanced Creativity

Meanwhile, I later experience Hana.  This is New Zealand’s first dedicated infrared sauna and red light therapy centre. This place is luxurious, light-filled and bliss-inducing!

Founder Sara Higgins is a former pharmacist. 

I first read about the benefits of these hot treatments through Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans. The book shares tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons, and performers. Many  in this book rave about infrared saunas.

What’s the red light therapy like? I’m in a pod that looks like a tanning bed. I’m warm, not hot. I note that I’m still for 20-minutes, which has to beneficial alone!

The sauna is a divine experience. I’m toasty and emerge feeling zen-like. The experience ends with a hot shower. Bliss!


Higgins shares 3 top benefits she feels she gets from infrared saunas: 

Detox, muscle recovery and immune-system-boosting.

Higgins shares 3 top benefits she believes she gets from red light therapy: 

Boosts skin collagen production, reduces inflammation and promotes better sleep.

In a press release on Hana’s opening it listed these amazing benefits:

“The treatment comes scientifically backed to also repair sun damage, reduce wrinkles, speed muscle recovery, heal scarring and stretch marks, reduce inflammation, boost testosterone levels and enhance collagen.”

Find out more about Warren’s next Wim Hof Workshop click HERE

Find out more about Higgins’ business Hana. Click HERE

 Rachel is a wellness expert and author of Balance: Food, Health and Happiness . Follow her on Instagram