The temperature difference increases the immune system, according to an expert.
As the morning sun bakes the orange dunes of the UAE desert, a man sinks into a tub of tingling ice – a new way to take a break from the summer heat.
Resisting such extreme discomfort is an attempt to build up the body’s immunity and connect with inner strength.
“The temperature difference increases your immune system,” said Benoit Demeulemeester from Switzerland, who runs the ice bath and breathing sessions in the United Arab Emirates.
“You stress your system for a short time, which makes you stronger. “
Emirati participant Marwan Abdelaziz, sitting in the orange ice pool in swim shorts and sunglasses, said: “The start is a bit scary. You want to get out, you can’t control your breathing. But now I’m fine, everything is fine.
Abdelaziz entered the bath with a grimace, but held his breath calmly as directed by Demeulemeester, who trains participants on breathing techniques.
“I am a hot and cold enthusiast … I like to take people out of their comfort zone and give them a body and soul experience, (to) reconnect with nature,” said Demeulemeester.
Cold water immersion and breathing techniques were made popular by Wim Hof, a Dutch cold water enthusiast who holds several world records for exposure to cold.
Hof developed his own methodology, with similarities to ancient Tibetan Buddhist breathing techniques, including breathing, cold exposure, and engagement.
Old, young, athletic or non-athletic, the techniques are good for everyone, said Demeulemeester, a former banker and now an executive coach who uses Hof’s methods in his practice.
Looking at the rocky outcrops of the desert, participant Reza Tirgari from California agreed that the start was the hardest part, but then the benefits came.
“You realize that your mind is more powerful than your body and that your mind controls your body. You have to make your body obey your mind – that’s the secret, ”Tirgari said. – Reuters