Risks of cool water therapy: woman bathed in a frozen river as part of this therapy and died | Univision Health News

His case illustrates how getting into excessively cold water carries risks and can even be fatal.

The mother, whose name has not been revealed, was based in Manchester and had paid £200 (about $250) to attend a two-hour session at Breatheolution ice-water camp in Buxworth, Berbyshire, along with several friends. Kingdom), reported the DailyMail.

He plunged into the water and he was acclimating to it when he suddenly collapsed.

Minutes before he was “laughing”declared to The Sun instructor and camp owner Kevin O’Neill, who immediately pulled her out of the water and performed CPR. But she did not manage to save her: she was soon pronounced dead at the hospital.

“I’ve put 1,100 people in the water over two years and nothing like this has ever happened. It is a terrible incident and unfortunately someone lost their life, “O’Neill told that medium, clarifying that all patients with heart disease sign a waiver form and are asked about their medical history.

But regardless of the health status of the woman in question, a ice water dip (which, it is worth clarifying, is very different from a traditional shower with cold water) represents a danger for anyone and the evidence about its risks exceeds its benefits.

Now that these ice water therapies in which people deliberately enter lakes, rivers or even bathtubs or pools with very cold temperatures have become popular, it is worth remembering the impact that this can have on the body.

What motivates people to intentionally dive into ice water?

For centuries it has been hypothesized about the benefits of ice water for health. Hippocrates believed that aquatic therapy relieved fatigue.

Thomas Jefferson bathed in ice-cold water every morning for decades to “maintain his good health.” Doctors from the 18th century recommended these baths to treat conditions such as fever.

Much is said about the benefits of ice water to improve circulation.

Currently many people, including celebrities such as Lady Gaga or Madonna, resort to these extreme baths—whether rivers, lakes, or ice tubs—to revitalize, soothe injuries, and boost your moodbecause ice water favors the release of hormones.

The practice has been popularized by extreme athlete and fitness guru Wim Hof, a self-proclaimed Dutchman ‘ iceman’ (Iceman) and who has appeared on shows like Goop Lab with Gwyneth Paltrow.

Is it the cool water therapy a cure for depression, anxiety and other ailments?

A few recent studies suggest that the so-called cold water therapy’ I might serve as treatment for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depressionLike another woman in the UK who took up cold water swimming and was able to stop her depression medication after four months, according to a medical case study.

“Cold water therapy has proven to have a significant effect on clients and although it can be harsh, ending uncomfortable sensations in the body, the benefits are incredible,” reads the website of the Breatheolution camp attended by the woman who died. .

Among the benefits they list is relieving sports injuries to helping with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome or anxiety, “not to mention what the cold does with our immune and nervous systems.”

But the evidence is not conclusive and it is possible that this is purely due to a Placebo effect or to other factors, some experts warn.

Also, these positive outcomes may pale before the risk quite real that immersion in ice water represents for the organism.

What are the dangers of submerging in ice water

A systematic review on the risks and benefits of ice water immersion therapy published in The Physiological Societywhich seeks to answer the question of whether it is a cause of death or a cure, concludes that the available evidence leans more towards the first possibility.

Although they do not rule out that there is a credible rationale for the benefits of these therapies, they indicate that sometimes the data remains speculative or anecdotal; while a large body of evidence supports its being a “significant” cause of death worldwide.

In the analysis they assure that this therapy can vary from beneficial to harmful depending on very subtle factors such as duration and intensity of exposure to ice water and nature of the activity performed.

Cold water shock kills in seconds

Although what comes to mind when talking about freezing waters is the risk of hypothermia, this usually takes up to 30 minutes to be fatal, so it would not explain cases like the one of the woman in question who spent much less time in the frozen water.

A lesser known and very dangerous phenomenon that possibly explains his death and many others is that of cold shock from ice watercold water shock) which is defined as that which occurs when the organism is suddenly immersed in very cold water causing a “gasping response” and uncontrollable hyperventilation which increases the risk of inhaling water into the lungs and puts a lot of pressure on the heart, which can cause irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrestexplains in an article by The Conversation Mike Tipton, Professor of Human Physiology at the University of Portsmouth.

The cold water shock can cause death within the first minute of immersion. If the person manages to survive that first gasp for air that causes panic and aspiration, then his body will suffer an incapacitation that causes the muscles to stop working.

At what temperature does cold water become dangerous?

Ice water shock can occur in water temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) or lessalthough it may vary slightly between people.

“Actually anything below your own body temperature can put you at risk,” he explained to Today Ryan Stanton, spokesman for the College of Emergency Physicians, about another case in which a mother and another person died when they jumped into a frozen lake to save a four-year-old girl who had fallen into it.

Get into ice water in a controlled environment, as proposed by the cool water therapy in its different variations, under the supervision of an expert and with certain measures, it can mitigate the risk, but it never eliminates it completely, as what happened in the United Kingdom demonstrates.

Among the recommendations to avoid suffering a cold water shock are: consult your doctor before trying these therapies Y enter slowly and progressively into the water to acclimatize better.

How your body reacts depends on the amount of skin exposed to the water and how quickly its temperature changes. Wearing a suit or cooling the skin first with water may help.