At the Healing House – Londolozi’s ‘Wellness Centre” – we strive to reconnect you with the most powerful tool: your own body held in the old wisdom of nature. A wonderful way of reconnecting with your body is surprisingly in a cold plunge.
“If we always choose comfort, we will never learn the deepest capabilities of our mind or bodies” – Wim Hoff
We have introduced contrast therapy as one of our offerings at the Healing House.
This is not a new concept; it has been practiced since time immemorial. There is mention of ice baths found in 700 BC in Chinese texts as well as ancient Japanese history. We find it in Hebraic texts as well; people would gather to immerse themselves at pools renowned for their healing benefits. The Egyptians and Romans championed it as a curative practice for their athletes, warriors and royalty. Recently it has gained popularity in the west, with awareness being raised by Wim Hoff and other prominent fitness and spiritual teachers.
Some well documented, scientifically proven benefits are listed below
- Boosted immune response
- Improved circulation
- Decreased swelling
- Reduced inflammation
- Improvement in muscle strain recovery
- Increased range of motion
- Reduced muscle pain
- Increased energy and alertness
- Elevated mood
- Release of endorphins
- Improved respiration
Our Londolozi Healing House version of cold plunge therapy takes place in a sacred corner of the property overlooking the Sand River. Hence its name, the River Room. Here you are looking out over a sea of nature towards our north. You may catch sight of our resident goshawks and their newborn chicks. This raptor family have recently chosen to nest in the Ebony trees that stand sentry in front of the Healing House.
Upon the instalment of this special freeze pool it fast become popular with the Guiding Team and certain Camp Managers who cottoned on early that as well as its vast array of health benefits, it was also a great cure for the after effects of a late night in the boma, and immediately following a long trail run in the bush there was nothing better! (The Londolozi family in their wisdom have since installed a freeze pool for all staff in the Wallow, which is the staff gym and health area)
In the River Room you will have your therapist explain the contrast body activation routine to you.
You begin with the rain shower to cleanse the body. Then make your way into the Infrared Himalayan-Salt Heat Cabin for 15 minutes, followed by an immersion in the cold plunge pool. Your therapist will give you some helpful breathing cues to slow your breath and stay the full three minutes. Then rinse off in the rain shower and return to the Infrared Himalayan-Salt Heat Cabin. We recommend you repeat this cycle three times. In the Heat Cabin you are breathing in salty negative ions coming from the mineralising Himalayan salt wall in the cabin, where you are also receiving halo or light therapy. This is a different heat to a sauna in that instead of just heating the body from the air it heats the body from within; the light from the infrared travels deeper into the body, and can actually help it to sweat at a lower temperature.
Because our cabin is glass you have access to the beautiful view of the wilderness and trees beyond. Elephant, giraffe and hippo sightings are frequent as well as the occasional lion and leopard.
If you would like a more luxurious experience you can have our Signature Body exfoliation combined with a Body Activation. The Africology Body Exfoliation followed by the contrasting therapy Body Activation routine is a wonderfully synergistic combination, leaving you feeling energised, refreshed and cleansed.
If you are wondering, “How can I replicate this at home?”, all you need is access to a shower. If you are reading this you most likely have a shower and access to electricity and running water. Let this trigger a gratitude response, remembering that 29% of the world’s population still don’t have access to clean running water. That sobering fact aside you can try running the last minute of your shower cold for 60 seconds and see how you feel. Try it for a week. I would be willing to bet you feel so good that you will keep in the habit of it. If you are one for new years resolutions this is a great one to stick with for its multiple health benefits. And practising it with gratitude will only improve your 2021 reality.
Contrast therapy can also be found in some natural landscapes. My personal favourite natural body activation experience is in the icy cold, salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean, swimming between the kelp forests and then being warmed by the African sun on a hot granite rock. Nothing beats it.
Find your own version in your environment or come visit us on Africa’s Southern tip.